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Music Review - `AIN’T YOUR MOMMA ` by RHONDA FUNK (jm)

RHONDA FUNK – AIN’T YOUR MOMMA  (click on image to watch video)

 2 June 2019

 

Black

On her latest EP, and fourth album to date, Nashville’s Rhonda Funk offers the best entry point yet to discovering just how compelling a singer/writer she is in the world of Americana.

On Ain’t Your Momma, Funk pulled together five of the best tracks she’s written or co-written (out of more than 100 she’s worked on to date) and hit the studio. She also included an inspired cover Jon Bon Jovi’s “Whole Lot of Leavin’” (from cowboy era Bon Jovi, not Hair Metal era Bon Jovi). The title track, which opens the collection, is a solid anti-sexism tune perfectly showcasing her knack for writing smart, witty songs. “I Could Get Use To This” is more in the vein of a modern Country, “life is good” track; certainly a fun song, bad not nearly as creative as the album opener. The bar burner, “Liar Liar,” is a perfect, know almost traditional lover scorned song, with blazing guitars and fiddles.

The only really stumble here is on “More Than A Table,” a slow tempo track that seems a little too precious with its symbolism. In an attempt to be earnest, it just comes off as clumsy and overwrought. The EP closes on “Cumberland Falls,” another stand out track and one that beautifully shows offs Funk’s voice and songwriting prowess. This six-song collection is a fantastic calling card to those who have yet to listen to her music and solid follow up to her recent Silver Award win for US Female Single of the Year from the International Singer-Songwriters Association.         

 

Music Reviewer - John Moore  

John B. Moore has been covering the seemingly disparate, but surprisingly complimentary genres of Americana and punk rock for the past 20 years.

Blurt/New Noise Magazine/InSite Atlanta/NeuFutur Magazine

twitter @jbmoore00

To Read All of John's Reviews, Click Here

 

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Music Review - `Rope the Wind` by Nick Justice (jm)

Nick Justice- Rope the Wind (click on image to watch video)

 5 March 2021

 

Black

Since 2014, when Nick Justice re-directed his focus back to music after a nearly two decades long sabbatical, the Southern California troubadour – by way of Long Island - has been consistently churning out one solid, lyrically-strong Americana/folk record after another. His latest, Rope The Wind is certainly no different. 

His whiskey vocals - delivered in an unrushed manner similar to Willie Nelson and John Prine - sounds the same as it ever was, whether he’s singing about Billy The Kid (“Billy The Kid”), a newly married couple on a killing spree (“Run Away”) or the title track, about running away from a problemed life. And while he covers a myriad of disparate topics in less than 40 minutes, thanks to his voice, as consistently placid as it’s always been, it makes for a satisfyingly familiar listen.

The album kicks off with a strummed chord and the steady drum beat of “Traveling Man,” one of the strongest tracks here and a throwback of sorts to Roger Miller. Lyrically one of the best songs from Justice’s catalogue, is the love definitely gone track “No Reason To Stay”. In a similar vein, “Love is on the Run,” is another great heartache song, a solid barroom jukebox tear in my beer number. 

The only song on this 11-track album that doesn’t really click on first listen is “Rhymes and Reason,” with Justice reeling through lines from childhood nursery rhymes. But it’s not enough to drag down an otherwise satisfyingly breezy record. Justice has been consistently reliable in the second version of his career and Rope The Wind is a brilliant starting point for anyone looking to dig into his catalogue.             

 

Music Reviewer - John Moore  

John B. Moore has been covering the seemingly disparate, but surprisingly complimentary genres of Americana and punk rock for the past 20 years.

Blurt/New Noise Magazine/InSite Atlanta/NeuFutur Magazine

twitter @jbmoore00

To Read All of John's Reviews, Click Here

 

 

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Music Review - `THE GODS AND GHOSTS OF BLEAKER STREET` by Tom MacLear (jm)

Tom MacLear- THE GODS AND GHOSTS OF BLEAKER STREET (click on image to watch video)

 9 November 2020

 

Black

There’s no escaping the fact that the phrase “Spoke Word Album” reeks of pretentiousness. It’s right up there with “Rock Opera”. But surprisingly, composer, poet and filmmaker Tom MacLear manages to turn in a 10-track spoken word record that is remarkably (almost) entirely stripped of self-importance.

The Gods And Ghosts Of Bleaker Street, featured in MacLear’s in development musical screen play, comes across as a modern interpretation of one of Tom Waits’ records for the 1970s, complete with the echoing stand-up bass and the lonely sax competing with subtle piano. Lyrically, the tracks here owe just as much to beat poets like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg as they do to Waits and former Bleecker Street regular Bob Dylan, all via MacLear’s powerfully soothing delivery. 

The Gods And Ghosts Of Bleaker Street likely comes as a surprise to fans of MacLear who announced his retirement from touring after appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live in 2018. Apparently, that break gave him the time he needed to resurrect this long in the making album. The record closes out with the strongest track, “Gods And Ghosts,” and the one song here that departs from the standard spoken word format in favor of a more traditional musical set up. With just 10 songs, MacLear has managed to make spoken word albums interesting again. 

 

Music Reviewer - John Moore  

John B. Moore has been covering the seemingly disparate, but surprisingly complimentary genres of Americana and punk rock for the past 20 years.

Blurt/New Noise Magazine/InSite Atlanta/NeuFutur Magazine

twitter @jbmoore00

To Read All of John's Reviews, Click Here

 

 


 

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Music Review - `INTERRUPTED ` by RENELE (jm)

RENELE- INTERRUPTED (click on image to watch video)

 16 November 2020

 

Black

Sisters Renee and Michele DiSisto separately are each pretty compelling musicians. Both attended Berklee College of Music and have each played in a slew of bands since, but it’s their debut together, going under the moniker Renele, where they prove just how strong they are combined.

Interrupted, their six-song first effort, is a solid mix of contemporary country, with elements of Bluegrass, Pop, Blues and plenty of solid rock. It’s the genre-be-damned approach that makes this record so enjoyable. From the fiddle on a track like “Why Come Home” and the telecaster twang on the closing track “Don’t Need To Take It Like A Man” give solid nods to Nashville, while the Eagles/Jackson Browne vibe on “He Loved Me With Those Eyes” keep this from being a run of the mill country record. Interrupted dips in and out of musical categories with ease.

Much like Sheryl Crow and The Dixie Chicks have managed to defy categories throughout their respective career, Renele offers that same fresh take on musical norms. They aren’t completely rewriting the rules but taking influences from enough disparate sources to make for a satisfying debut that manages to be both comfortably familiar yet refreshingly original..    

 

Music Reviewer - John Moore  

John B. Moore has been covering the seemingly disparate, but surprisingly complimentary genres of Americana and punk rock for the past 20 years.

Blurt/New Noise Magazine/InSite Atlanta/NeuFutur Magazine

twitter @jbmoore00

To Read All of John's Reviews, Click Here

 

 


 

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Music Review - `Beautiful Country's Burning, Brother (Bucket Brigade)` by Jimmy Baldwin (jm)

Jimmy Baldwin - `Beautiful Country's Burning, Brother (Bucket Brigade)` (click on image to watch video)

 12 October 2020

 

Black

The message behind the latest single from Americana’s Jimmy Baldwin, “Beautiful Country’s Burning, Brother” is not exactly subtle. 

But, then again, in the fall of 2020 – living under the most overtly racist presidential administration in generations; when simply saying “Black Lives Matter” due to the wildly disproportionate amount of violence minorities face by police is usually countered with the knee jerk nonsensical “All Lives Matter!” mantra – subtlety is pretty useless. 

This three-and-a-half-minute long track is a clarion call for this country to pay attention to the racial injustice that a segment of our society simply thinks does not exist. The president and vice president have both recently gone on the record stating that systemic racism is not real. Pretty bold pronouncement from two privileged white guys. 

The immediacy of this song is evident with Baldwin’s oft-repeated chorus, “Beautiful Country’s burning, brother/Lord we need a bucket brigade,” sung over a quickly building guitar swirl, backed by fiddle and a slew of other strings. The track, the latest in folk tradition of unwavering protest songs, is that much more impactful when paired with Baldwin’s music video for the song, showing pictures from across the country at this summer’s Black Lives Matter protests juxtaposed with various people wrapped in the American flag.     

 

Music Reviewer - John Moore  

John B. Moore has been covering the seemingly disparate, but surprisingly complimentary genres of Americana and punk rock for the past 20 years.

Blurt/New Noise Magazine/InSite Atlanta/NeuFutur Magazine

twitter @jbmoore00

To Read All of John's Reviews, Click Here

 

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