Diamonds In The Dark by Sarah Borges & The Broken Singles

Posted September 6, 2007 by folksalad
Categories: Boston music, Broken Singles, cd review, Diamonds In The Dark, Indie Music, music, paul q kolderie, Rock & Roll, Sarah Borges

“I’m gonna throw my big wide arms around your neck!”

–Sarah Borges, from “The Day We Met” ©2007, James and Jean Music (ascap)

The sound of “Silver City”, their previous release, is the sound of Rock & Roll promises being made. Their latest, “Diamonds In The Dark”, is the sound of those promises being delivered.

This record by Sarah Borges & The Broken Singles is how we’d like to think that Rock & Roll in the main would have evolved, had it lived. What a great relief to find that somewhere, somehow, such a cheerful strain has survived, and, yes, evolved.

Borges, who writes much of the material, and producer Paul Q. Kolderie know exactly what they want, musically, and exactly how to get it. Her lyrics exhibit a keen ear for the classic themes of Rock & Roll, wrapped in catchy melodies and irresistible hooks delivered with whipcrack heat and conciseness by the kickass band.

The first song, “The Day We Met”, exemplifies all of that. It starts out at 90 miles per hour and never slows down. When it stops two minutes and twenty five seconds later, you feel as if you’ve been tossed out a side window, but still glad for the ride. Here’s a cheerful thought: listen to this song on your car radio with the windows down and imagine that it was this summer’s runaway radio hit.

On a couple of cuts, like “Around 9”, Sarah and the boys dabble in steel guitar-tinged country ballads, but with less distinctive results. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s just that when they veer into the Country genre, they seem a little less engaged, and these songs are not why we really love Sarah Borges.

We love Sarah Borges most when we hear her Rock & Roll heart beating loud and fast.

“Diamonds In The Dark” by Sarah Borges & The Broken Singles is highly recommended.

–Rich

Dave Moore’s “Breaking Down To 3” –Revisiting An Old Friend

Posted April 10, 2007 by folksalad
Categories: Bo Ramsey, Breaking Down To 3, cd review, Dave Moore, Indie Music, Iowa, music, Red House Records

There are very few records that reward repeated listening the way “Breaking Down To 3” (Red House Records, 1999) does.

Revisiting these songs time and again over the years gives you the feeling after a while of a shared history, as if you’re sitting in a familiar room with an old friend as he speaks to you with quiet urgency about things you both know really matter. As if you’d maybe once helped him paint over certain rooms in a house he where he once lived, or you’d maybe once gone scuba diving together where the sharks don’t sleep, with some other good ol’ boys, all long gone now.

Dave Moore remembers these stories much better than you do, and others, too, that he’s only told you about, and it’s no longer necessary for him to be explicit about their details. The singer of these songs sounds like a man who’s had some peace to make, and has made it.

rlh

You Might Be a Red Dirt Musician If….

Posted March 23, 2007 by folksalad
Categories: Austin, Indie Music, music, Oklahoma Music Scene, Red Dirt Music, Stillwater, Texas music, Tulsa

A lot of musicians are calling themselves Red Dirt musicians and fans these days, but no two people seem to agree just exactly what that means, so, how’s an up-and-coming young guitar (or, for that matter, accordion) player supposed to know if he’s Red Dirt or not?

You can help! Just for fun, complete the following sentence:

“You might be a Red Dirt musician if….”

Here’s a couple of example to give you the idea:

“You might be a Red Dirt musician if Tom Skinner has recorded one of your songs.”

“You might be a Red Dirt musician if you own a well-thumbed copy of the “Bob Childers Great Big Book of Guitar Chords”.

Have fun with it!

–Rich

Okies Dominate “Roots Music Report’s” Charts

Posted January 26, 2007 by folksalad
Categories: Indie Music, music, music charts, Oklahoma Music Scene, Red Dirt Music, Texas music

For more details visit http://www.folksalad.com and go to the News Page. See the link at right in our Blogroll. Here’s the numbers:

Roots Music Report’s Roots Rock Chart has Mike McClure’s latest CD “Foam” at #1.

Their Roots Country Chart has his fellow Oklahoma Red Dirt artists Jason Boland, Stony Larue, and Brandon Jenkins at #s 1, 2, and 3 respectively.

Their Roots Blues Chart has Tulsa Sound veteran J. J. Cale at #3.

Endless Highway –The Music of The Band

Posted January 23, 2007 by folksalad
Categories: cd review, classic rock, endless highway, music, the band

“When you awake you will remember everything…”

From “When You Awake” by R.Manuel and J.R.Robertson

(c) 1970 Canaan Music, Inc.

 

 

When The Band arrived in 1968, they came in through the basement window, after years on the roads and in the roadhouses of North America and beyond, and they disrupted our psychedelic dream of a disconnected present with a deeper dream of revenant visits from long gone ancestors. They sang to us riddles and rhymes from the “old, weird America” as Greil Marcus has so famously described it.

You could say two events in 1969 signified the end of the Sixties: Hell’s Angels ascended to Altamont, and The Band released their self-titled second album. The first event slapped us awake; the second one led us away.

Consider this: nearly forty years after they were first recorded, web scholars happily discuss and debate the meaning of the lyrics, almost down to the commas, of The Band’s songs “The Weight”, “Rocking Chair”, and others. They ponder the nuances of inflection in the singers’ voices, and the possible autobiographical origins of the mysterious characters. One imagines a dwindling number of people devoting their lives to these cultish pursuits. But is anyone singing the songs?

The new tribute album “Endless Highway: The Music of The Band” poses a simple question: “Why should I listen to cover versions of these iconic tunes when I can listen to the originals?” One answer is because, if no one else ever performs these songs, they will be forgotten by most of us, sealed in the amber of that one long-ago performance, as we move on.

From a record company marketing perspective, tribute albums are a no-brainer. Imagine being able to market a cd that allows you to give top billing to a bona fide popular culture icon, and you don’t even have to convince (or pay) them to perform on it. Just bring together a chorus of lesser-knowns, each one eager to put their stamp on one of the chosen icon’s tunes. Plant the tributee’s name in bold letters front and center on the cover art.

It was with more than the usual mixture of curiosity and dread that this fan placed this new tribute CD in the player. Is it worthy? Do they do justice? Yes and no, of course.

Jakob Dylan pleases with his version of “Whispering Pines”. While it would perhaps be unfair to compare his vocal to the incomparable original, he does acquit himself quite well in conveying the yearning and regret this song calls for.

Lee Ann Womack’s version of “The Weight” also deserves praise. It takes a lot of nerve for anyone to record one of the most iconic Band songs, but Ms. Womack’s voice has just the right southern textures to give this elliptical, mysterious Southern myth a new lease on life. The great Buddy and Julie Miller lend their voices to the chorus.

Josh Turner also pleases with his likeable and completely original take on “When I Paint My Masterpiece”. Heck, he even whistles a little toward the end.

A group called My Morning Jacket’s fresh version of “It Makes No Difference” is noteworthy as well.

Tribute albums with various artists are almost by definition uneven, so it’s not surprising that “Endless Highway” has some performances that don’t measure up to the originals.

I didn’t make it all the way through Death Cab For Cutie’s version of “Rocking Chair”. I mean, you’ve got to be kidding. Bloodless and thoroughly unconvincing, it will send you running back to the original.

Bruce Hornsby’s version of King Harvest is completely forgettable.

The biggest disappointment is The Allman Brothers live version of “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” The idea certainly had possibilities. The Allman Brothers, classic rock contemporaries of The Band when both were in their heydays, are every bit as iconic in their own right. Gregg Allman’s is just about the only voice that could credibly be held up to Levon Helm’s as the True Voice of the Southern White Male. Unfortunately, his fine, world-weary vocal in this live performance is not supported by the plodding, bored sounding noodlings of his backing musicians. A true disappointment.

So, why should you listen to these cover versions when you can listen to the originals? Well, even with the misfires, over half of the 17 cuts on “Endless Highway” present worthy performances that will help carry these songs forward to new generations of listeners and allow those of us who revere the original performances to hear the songs with fresh ears.

Review by Richard Higgs

Adam Carroll –An Appreciation

Posted November 20, 2006 by folksalad
Categories: Indie Music, Texas music

Adam Carroll

Adam Carroll was in Tulsa a few days ago, along with his traveling companion Gordy Quist. The last time Adam was here we fed him gumbo, if memory serves. It was a pleasure to visit with him again, and, of course, a real treat to have him perform his songs and stories in an intimate house-concert setting. The music bed for his songs is pleasantly familiar, played on guitar and harmonica. He’s a very good harmonica player, by the way. He’s not a belt-it-out singer, but his storyteller’s voice conveys well the wry humor and yearning in his stories and sketches, set mostly in his native east Texas.

Adam is an unusually fine lyricist. You listen carefully because he takes you to unexpected places, often in the company of people familiar and strange at the same time. There’s the girl who drive a Karmann Ghia with the stereo torn out. There’s the Sno-Kone man and his desirable sister. There’s that sad, funny couple with the Red Bandanna blues.

And then there’s “you” (whoever you are):

I was thinking of you when the rice birds flew

When the false dawn came with the morning dew

You’re a thunderstorm raging outside my garage

You’re the white shirt peeking through my camouflage

From “Rice Birds” Copyright 2005, Adam Carroll

I’d bet you didn’t hear that last line coming. If you’re like me, you believe you know just what he meant, but in a way you can’t explain, even to yourself.

Adam seems to be a genuinely shy person. His endearingly inept attempts at between-song patter more often than not dissolve into non-sequiturs followed by “….well, anyway, here’s the song….” See the photo of him on the cover of his CD “Far Away Blues”, with his downcast eyes and shy smile and that’s what you see when he’s performing. It’s also what you see when he’s in the kitchen talking about the weather. There are five photos of Adam in that CD packaging, and only in the last one does he turn and look you in the eye (from a safe distance).

Before I got to know a lot of performers, I had naïvely assumed that they were all extroverts who naturally preferred to be the center of attention in a roomful of people. While that’s true for some, I’ve come to believe that, statistically, singers and musicians are no more or less extroverted than any other group of people. A surprising number of them are actually quite shy in conversation, and getting up on stage under a spotlight to face a crowd of strangers is difficult, dangerous work for them. Yet they do it, time and again. Why?

Maybe it’s because performing a set of songs is a highly structured arrangement between the performer and everyone else in the room, which makes it actually less intimidating than unpredictable, freeform encounters. A shy performer can take a lot of comfort in the fact that they have to memorize the entire evening beforehand, and then play it out, to applause and laughter, just like last night. Difficulties notwithstanding, Adam finds the spotlight and tells us original stories in rhythm and rhyme, and we’re glad. –Rich

Jesse Aycock releases debut CD “Life’s Ladder” and get 4 star review in Tulsa World

Posted November 12, 2006 by folksalad
Categories: Oklahoma Music Scene

Hey, Jesse Aycock, my son, has released his debut CD Life’s Ladder and it was reviewed in today’s Tulsa World by World writer Matt Gleason. I appreciate the World’s support. Here is the link to read the review, for those interested.  –Scott
http://www.tulsaworld.com/EmailStoryDisplay.asp?ID=061111_Mu_d3_aycock