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

 

 

January 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         


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