Signup for a folk alley account

Cookin' with New Releases; Better Read this before you order:

April 19, 2008

KP_COVER.jpgKensington Prairie ~ Captured in Still Life
With the number of submissions to Folk Alley increasing every month (easily over 200), it has become cumbersome to find the good ones. An artistic eye-catching cover can help. That's what made us notice the Kensington Prairie CD, and the group is being rewarded for their detail, because once we heard what was inside we knew you had to as well.

The overall mood is dreamlike, yet thoughtful. The instrumental mix is unusual: guitar, cello, vibraphone, harmonica, Wurlitzer, glockenspiel, and an unconventional and understated banjo. The various combinations support singer and writer Rebecca Rowan who is the main focus of this band (or maybe orchestra?). Rowan uses her imagination well. In "A Million Skies" she looks up on a clear night and sees another's eyes in the stars. She smartly uses analogy in the song "Bluebird," comparing a slipping memory to the fleeting bird. During "Crooked Things Straight" she helps us realize that we can't always change sadness, but she provides kindness through a wish.

Kensington Prairie may eventually be referred to as Vancouver's version of Brooklyn's "Hem," the easiest comparison for me to make. Listening to Captured in Still Life is like being treated to a new restaurant where every meal is rewarding. This CD is that good.

crookston2.jpgJoe Crookston ~ Able Baker Charlie and Dog
Joe Crookston has arrived. He has matured as a writer and has filled out his sound
with choice musicians. Most of the songs uncover for us the stories of ordinary people from today and from history, in challenging situations. "John Jones" was a Virginia slave who escaped but dared to return and helped gain freedom for 800 others. "Freddy the Falcon" is a 17 year-old skateboarder and artist who came from a difficult background. Joe spent time with incarcerated youth in the Seattle area and created songs documentary style; he sings as Freddy, 1st person narrative. The album's title is about his grandfather who was stationed on Tinian Island during World War II and made runways such as the one used by the Enola Gay.

These songs are smart, offering the listener insight as well as entertainment. Richie Stearns and Judy Hyman of "The Horseflies" fill out the sound and add variety. This album leaves you feeling impressed, and continuing with our restaurant analogy, you'll come back for seconds.

peech.jpgPeech ~ Peech
Ouch. This one hurts. Here's an example of an eye-catching cover that rewards you with nothing. "Peech" is Chelsea Dohermann and Megan Osborn from L.A. They are young singers who recorded too early in their careers. The songs are full of cliches about broken hearts and they resort to foul language which is not only childish and offensive, it's a cheap shortcut to good writing. Every song sounds the same and it's all noise. Perhaps Peech was sent to us by mistake. This CD is a mistake.

jackson.jpgJackson Browne ~ Solo Acoustic Volume 2
When we received Solo Acoustic Volume 1 a couple years back we were instantly anxious for Vol 2. Both recordings are intimate performances with Jackson and his collection of guitars and reminiscences. (He switches to piano on occasion.) This latest collection doesn't include as many instantly familiar songs as the first, but if you are a Jackson Browne fan you'll know them or you'll want to.

"Enough of the Night" offers comfort to someone who's really down, and reminds that person of his or her reputation for spirit, daring, and satisfaction. This act of kindness is admirable and a reminder for us how necessary we can be as friends. "Alive in the World" is another wonderful message directed straight to someone who has lost interest in participating in life. We've all met people this down. We've all been this down. My question is - how did Browne know? How is he able to look into your soul and then offer a hand up through music when no one else is able? He is a songwriter and melody maker to be sure, but he is also a counselor and part-time angel. Listening to these very folk-like recordings when you're feeling good will make you feel better. When you're down, Jackson Browne will pick you back up. Either or both of these volumes would make excellent gifts to important friends - or to yourself!

Jim Blum 4/19/08

Posted by Jim Blum at April 19, 2008 12:46 PM

Support Folk Alley During Our Spring Fund Drive!


Recent Topics



March 2018
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
            1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

November 2016

October 2016

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

December 2015

November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012

June 2012

May 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

January 2011

December 2010

November 2010

October 2010

September 2010

August 2010

July 2010

May 2010

April 2010

March 2010

February 2010

January 2010

December 2009

November 2009

October 2009

September 2009

August 2009

July 2009

June 2009

May 2009

April 2009

March 2009

February 2009

January 2009

December 2008

November 2008

October 2008

September 2008

August 2008

July 2008

June 2008

May 2008

April 2008

March 2008

February 2008

January 2008

December 2007

November 2007

October 2007

September 2007

August 2007

July 2007

June 2007

May 2007

April 2007

March 2007

February 2007

January 2007

December 2006

November 2006

October 2006

September 2006

August 2006

July 2006

June 2006

May 2006

April 2006

March 2006

February 2006

January 2006

December 2005

November 2005

October 2005

September 2005

August 2005

July 2005

June 2005

May 2005

April 2005

March 2005

February 2005

January 2005

December 2004

November 2004

October 2004

September 2004

August 2004

July 2004

June 2004

May 2004

April 2004

March 2004

February 2004

January 2004

December 2003

November 2003

October 2003

September 2003

August 2003