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Music Review - `Get Together` by Henrietta Swan (dmc)

Henrietta Swan - Get Together  (click on image to watch video)

 03 October 2019

 

Black

“Get Together,” the title track to Henrietta Swan’s project, is one of those truly evergreen songs.  Written in the mid-1960s by Chet Powers, it became both an anthem and a hit song for The Youngbloods in 1967. The song is always relevant because most every generation struggles to love one another, in the spiritual sense. These days, one side of a political or social issue is quick to call anyone that disagrees with their position ‘a hater.’ As the song says, though, “Come on people, now/Smile on your brother/Everybody get together try to love one another right now.” The group Henrietta Swan’s version applies a gypsy-folk approach, instead of the original’s jangle-rock sound. Lead vocalist Lauren Shera sings its words with gentle vulnerability. Luke Bulla especially gypsy-fies the track with a warm fiddle solo. The recording also includes empathetic mandolin throughout.
 
Shera reveals multiple sides to her vocal personality, as the closing “Unfold” finds her singing in a lower vibrato, which gives her tone a welcome Stevie Nicks-like quality. The music bed she sings over also has a bit of a 1970s Fleetwood Mac vibe running through it. One titled “Odessa” expresses a dark moodiness, while “Road To Hell” is Henrietta Swan at its most rocking state. Nevertheless, Bulla also adds fiddle to this electric guitar-driven track, which leaves plenty of folk music in this band’s rock & roll. 
 
It’s doubtful Henrietta’s cover of “Come Together” is finally going to bring the world together in symbiotic love. Still, it’s heartening to hear this song of love and this collection of warmly eclectic songs.

 

 

David McPherson

David McPherson - Author. The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern: A Complete History Dundurn Press (Sept. 23, 2017)

www.mcphersoncommunications.com

davidmcpherson.ca 

@mcphersoncomm

http://ca.linkedin.com/in/davidmcpherson73

To Read All of David's Reviews, Click Here

 

 

 


 

 

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Music Review - `Heart on Fire` by Abby Brown (dmc)

Abby Brown - Heart on Fire  (click on image to watch video)

 03 October 2019

 

Black

Abby Brown started young, at the tender age of seven. She and her two young sisters even harmonized together in the band Flatiron Junction. While she idolizes country heroes, like Emmylou Harris and Alison Krauss, her second EP opens with “Everyday Of My Life,” an upbeat soul-rock song. However, the project’s title song, “Heart on Fire,” is hot-stepping and acoustic guitar-driven, with a rollicking handclap chorus. This “heart of fire,” speaks of one under the strange power of a man. 

The song “Love, Release Me,” appears twice. Once “plugged,” the second time “unplugged.” No matter the style, though, it’s is an odd musical plea. Humans are seemingly constantly searching for true and lasting romantic love. Therefore, why this wish for freedom? If it is true love, why does it feel like slavery? If it seems like incarceration, then maybe it does not actually love. Nevertheless, Brown sounds to be sincerely crying out for release. 

Brown covers Maren Morris’ “Sugar,” which is so much better when put alongside Morris’ overly produced reggae-pop original. Brown’s take utilizes plenty of acoustic guitars and just a touch of the organ. Without studio bells and whistles, one is better able to appreciate this song’s smart lyrics. Hopefully, Morris will hear Brown’s version and be inspired to make music just as country-sounding as Brown’s.

It’s tough enough for women to get played on today’s mainstream country radio, even if – as with Morris --- it’s more pop than country. Still, let’s hope airwaves make a little room for the lovely Abby Brown.

 

 

David McPherson

David McPherson - Author. The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern: A Complete History Dundurn Press (Sept. 23, 2017)

www.mcphersoncommunications.com

davidmcpherson.ca 

@mcphersoncomm

http://ca.linkedin.com/in/davidmcpherson73

To Read All of David's Reviews, Click Here

 

 

 


 

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Music Review - `Weathervane` by Rob Splatt Appelblatt (dmc)

Ariana Gillis - The Maze  (click on image to watch video)

 27 September 2019

 

Black

It’s never too late to fulfill one’s dreams. Just ask Rob Appelblatt. The New Yorker, better known as “Splat” to his friends, is an example of what happens when you pursue your passions. And, if you are willing, life after 50 can deliver you down new and exciting roads. The guitar became Appelblatt’s friend and constant companion much later in life. He learned to play the instrument after college; from that moment on, music was something he wanted to pursue, but his day job took precedence. After selling his business, he felt a void. Lucky for listeners, Appelblatt filled this hole with music and started writing original songs. After attending Steve Earle’s weeklong songwriting workshop (Camp Copperhead) in 2017, he was further inspired to turn his dreams into a reality. Weathervane, a collection of 10 of these creative outbursts, is the result of this retreat and is a fine debut.

 

Recorded in Nashville, the disc mixes country, blues, folk, and rock all backed by some talented session musicians. Catchy melodies carry these tunes. A couple of highlights include “Caroline,” which chugs and rattles along like a freight train and “Thunder Mountain” — a storied song about a war veteran who once raced cars and “kept the white walls clean.”  The title cut, “Weathervane,” tells the tale of a musician living life in tandem with the whimsical nature of the wind. He’s got plenty of stories and experiences from a life on the road to share, but there is something missing for which he still longs. A weathervane shows one the direction of the wind. And, just like that architectural adornment, it’s uncertain which path Splat will take you down next with his songs. What is known is it will be a pleasurable journey. 

 

David McPherson

David McPherson - Author. The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern: A Complete History Dundurn Press (Sept. 23, 2017)

www.mcphersoncommunications.com

davidmcpherson.ca 

@mcphersoncomm

http://ca.linkedin.com/in/davidmcpherson73

To Read All of David's Reviews, Click Here

 

 

 


 

 

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Music Review - `Phil Lee & The Horse he Rode in On` by Phil Lee (dmc)

Phil Lee - Phil Lee & The Horse he Rode in On  (click on image to watch video)

 27 September 2019

 

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Three chords and the truth is the adage to which Lee subscribes throughout this release. A former truck driver, a one-time roadie with Neil Young, and a veteran troubadour, Lee has led a colorful life. Recorded on the California Coast at Painted Sky Studios, this is a collection of songs from the heart and from this lifetime of adventures. 

Stephen Stills, as a sticker placed on the CD jokes “never actually appeared on this record,” but it does feature a pair of Neil Young’s long-time Crazy Horse mates: drummer Ralph Molina and bassist Billy Talbot. And, it’s not surprising that by having The Horse along for the ride lent itself to the overall vibe: a jagged and raw record that is far from polished. As Lee explained in one online interview that’s exactly what he was going for: “a record that was screaming not to be fixed.” 

The opener: “The Mighty King of Love” is a rockin’ remake of the title track from his 1999 debut. The song features keys from the legendary Barry Goldberg and offers poignant lyrics such as these: “I am the king of nothing/I’m mostly skin and bones/And of all the broken hearts I broke/I mostly broke my own.” Other songs that stick include: “No Exit Wound,” “Rebel in my Heart,” and “Party Drawers” a honky-tonk humorous duet with Molly Pasutti.
 

David McPherson

David McPherson - Author. The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern: A Complete History Dundurn Press (Sept. 23, 2017)

www.mcphersoncommunications.com

davidmcpherson.ca 

@mcphersoncomm

http://ca.linkedin.com/in/davidmcpherson73

To Read All of David's Reviews, Click Here

 

 

 


 

 

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Music Review - `Ain’t That a Cheyne` by Junior Cheyne (dmc)

Junior Cheyne - Ain’t That a Cheyne  (click on image to watch video)

 27 September 2019

 

Black

Ain’t That a Cheyneis more akin to Johnny Cash and the outlaw country movement than the Nashville mainstream machine. According to the band, country music has been drying up. Enter Junior Cheyne to the rescue. These 13 finely crafted songs feature melodies that hook you and lyrics that take a while to leave you. 

The disc opens with “Out of Gas” a song about Old Sam, a veteran who served his country in war and “never found the why or what for.” What matters is this: he is still around and still dancing like no one is watching. The lesson: we can all learn a thing or two from these heroes. As the chorus reveals: “Old farts never die/They just run out of gas.” Another memorable song is “While Texas Sleeps (Austin’s Runnin’ Wild)”; the western-swing tune that features some great honky-tonk piano.

“Girl from the last Century,” is a love song about a woman who stays the same despite the passage of time. From the opener to the closer “(You Got Me) Dead Cold to Rights,” Cheyne makes good on the promise inscribed on the back of the CD that “we’re driving to Save Country Music one song at a time.”

 

David McPherson

David McPherson - Author. The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern: A Complete History Dundurn Press (Sept. 23, 2017)

www.mcphersoncommunications.com

davidmcpherson.ca 

@mcphersoncomm

http://ca.linkedin.com/in/davidmcpherson73

To Read All of David's Reviews, Click Here

 

 

 


 

 

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