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Various Bluegrass, Blues and Jazz Albums

Review By Steven Stone
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Kristin Grainger & Dan Wetzel
Part Circus Part Rodeo

This pop-oriented project from True North Bluegrass bandmates Kristin Grainger and Dan Wetzel has the folksy appeal of an early evening trip to the back porch swing. Their seven original songs easily rival covers by the likes of Steve Earle, Seal, and Richard Shindell. Grainger's silky smooth vocals and Wetzel's rootsy guitar lines give this album a rich organic feeling that will put this into heavy rotation in any folk fan's iTunes library.

 

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Angel Band
Roots and Wings

Is there anything more heavenly than the sound of three female voices in perfect harmony? Although the name "Angel Band" is perhaps a bit premature, the trio of Nancy Josephson, Jen Schonwald, and Kathleen Weber are aptly named. Josephson's husband, the legendary multi-instrumentalist David Bromberg, assembled a fine band to back up their powerhouse vocals. With material ranging from afro-world-beat to a cappella showpieces and zydeco to traditional folk tunes this eclectic ensemble demonstrates that great voices rule.

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Frank Carillo and the Bandoleros
Someday

The combination of gravely vocals, infectious songwriting, and smokin' guitar playing make Frank Carillo a musical triple threat. His career started way back in 1972 when he joined Peter Frampton to record Frampton's Camel. He later formed the band Doc Holiday and toured with the likes of the J. Geils Band, Van Halen, and Cheap Trick. Someday is Carillo's second album on his own label. He creates passionate blues-based rock and roll that will resonate with anyone who loves classic guitar-driven music.

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Mashville Brigade
Bluegrass Smash Hits Volume 1

With a title like this you'd expect to find Bluegrass Smash Hits Volume 1 at a truck stop bargain bin next to the Copenhagen chewing tobacco. But despite the hokey title this CD delivers sixteen tracks of smokin' bluegrass standards. Played by a top-flight assembly of young Nashville pros led by Ashby Frank on mandolin and vocals and Jim Van Cleve on fiddle this anthology deserves a place in any bluegrass fan's collection.

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Becky Schlegel
For All The World To See

Although Becky Schlegel didn't write her first song until she was 27. On her third solo release, For All The World To See, she demonstrates a special affinity for the craft. Accompanied by the likes of Rich Dworsky, whom she met during one of her many Prairie Home Companion appearances, Schlegel's pure soprano floats along the top elegantly simple arrangements. In the words of Garrison Keillor, "Shlegel makes an older person feel faint and cowboys order an extra beer."

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