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Author Archives: Rich Kienzle

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard

Django and Jimmie
 
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Whatever’s changed in the 32 years since their duet album Pancho & Lefty, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard continue to share vast musical common ground. The proof lies in this blend of new originals, covers, and classics. The title song honors their common musical heroes: (more…)

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Bobby Black

Steel Before and After Commander Cody
 
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When he got the invitation, Bobby Black wasn’t sure. The pedal-steel virtuoso, a 20-plus-year veteran of San Francisco’s music scene, had just been asked to join the long-hairs in Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen. It was the fall of 1971, and Black was in a comfortable situation – he owned a recording studio […]

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Arlen Roth

Slide Guitar Summit
 
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Venerable slide guitar master-educator Arlen Roth collaborates with nine peers: Lee Roy Parnell, Jack Pearson, Sonny Landreth, Cindy Cashdollar, Jimmy Vivino, the Kentucky Headhunters’ Greg Martin, Rick Vito, David Lindley, and the late Johnny Winter (to whom the album’s dedicated). Most tunes, such as Pearson’s original (more…)

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Pokey LaFarge

Something In the Water
Hamfats-Styled Hot Stuff
 
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Pokey LaFarge’s Rounder Records debut continues his rich, well-established sound. Primarily acoustic, he offers another amalgam of jazz, blues, jug band, and Western swing. At different times, LaFarge and his expanded band conjure the sound and spirit of any number of 1930s jug bands, Western swing (more…)

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John Pizzarelli

John Pizzarelli Salutes Johnny Mercer (Live)
 
John-Pizzarelli

John Pizzarelli knows lyricist Johnny Mercer’s timeless compositions inside out. He’s recorded them on various albums and was a cast member of the 1997 Broadway musical Dream, which saluted Mercer’s music. Mercer Street, released digitally via Pizzarelli’s own Deluxe Sounds label, samples Mercer tunes, both standards and (more…)

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Eliane Elias

Made In Brazil
 
Eliane-Elias

Eliane Elias came to New York City from Brazil in 1981 and since then, building an impeccable reputation as a singer, songwriter, arranger, and pianist, her recording projects never brought her home. This album, recorded in Sao Paulo, marks that homecoming. It blends six Elias (more…)

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Bill Kirchen

Seeds, Stems, and a Tele-fied Legacy
 
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There’s ample revisiting in Seeds and Stems, Telecaster slinger Bill Kirchen’s third album for Proper America. Five of the 13 songs hearken back to his late-’60s/mid-’70s days with pioneer country-rockers Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen. “Flip Flop,” “Womb To The Tomb” and “Rockabilly Funeral,” are longstanding favorites of his solo repertoire, as is […]

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Bob’s Playboy Pickers

 
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Bob Wills was, first and foremost, a fiddler. But he began his career in childhood, strumming guitar and mandolin chords at rural Texas parties and dances behind his father, ace fiddler Uncle John Wills. As leader of the Texas Playboys from 1934 to ’64, Wills not only helped define the guitar’s role in western swing, […]

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Albert King, Little Milton, and more

The Complete Stax/Volt Soul Singles, Vol. 3: 1972-1975
 
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This 10-disc set covers the final three years of Stax singles, a period when the iconic Memphis-based label was under new management and trying to broaden and expand too many directions at once, a disastrous move that led to financial ruin. By December ’75, (more…)

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Elana James

Black Beauty
 
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For her second solo effort, Elana James, fiddler-vocalist for the western-swing trio Hot Club of Cowtown, ventures afield into other genres. This shouldn’t be surprising, given her 2006 touring work as part of Bob Dylan’s band. Along with original tunes, James covers material by Dylan, the Grateful (more…)

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