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Music Review - `Rope The Wind` by Nick Justice (ea)

Nick Justice “Rope The Wind”  (click on image to watch video)

 18 May 2021

 

Black

Nick Justice has one of those voices that’s as warm and rough-hewn as a well-worn jean jacket. Influenced by the LaurelCanyon sounds of Eagles, Jackson Browne and Crosby, Stills & Nash, the East Coast transplant arrived in sunny SoCal in the late ‘80s armed only with an acoustic guitar.

At that point the Roots Rock scene was in full swing. Initially, he busked on the streets to earn his keep. Soon enough, he was making a name for himself in bands like Chords Of Fame and Guns For Hire, opening for well-known acts like INXS, Del Fuegos, The Blasters, BoDeans and X. In the mid ‘90s, he embarked on a solo career, but became disillusioned with the music biz. So he stepped away, married and began raising a family.

Almost 20 years elapsed before he returned, recording “The Cry Of The Street Prophet” and “Between A Laugh And A Tear” in quick succession. Both albums were solo efforts in name only, and featured well-known sidemen like multi-instrumentalist Greg Liesz, guitarists Richard Bredice and Bobby Cochran. Opting for a more intimate sound, his newest effort, “Rope The Wind” is pared down to just Nick, Richard Bredice and former Honk/Funky Kings multi-instrumentalist

Richard Stekol. The record kicks into gear with the “TravelingMan.” Loping guitars and barbed bass are tethered to a clip-clop gait. Out on the open road Nick insists, “I just want to live my life free, don’t have to watch my Q’s and P’s.” The 11-song set has several highlights, including the sanctified harmonies of “Down At The Fishing Hole,” the epic outlaw tale of “Billy The Kid,” and the shimmering “Rhymes And Reasons.” “Love On The Run” is a South Of The Border Charmer and “After We Say Goodbye” offers a bit of

 

torch and twang. Nick’s vocals land somewhere between Mark Knopfler, John Hiatt and Iowa’s Folk Rock fishing enthusiast, Greg Brown. The arrangements and instrumentation, which is stripped-down to guitars, bass and drums, occasionally augmented by harmonica, slide guitar, banjo, organ and mandolin, are equal parts gritty and bucolic.


Music Reviewer - Eleni P. AustinEleni P. Austin - I was born into a large, loud Greek family and spent my formative years in the Los Angeles enclaves of Laurel Canyon and Los Feliz. My mother moved us to the Palm Springs area just in time for puberty and Disco.  I have spent over 40 years working in record stores, starting back in High School.

I wrote music reviews for the Desert Sun from 1983 to 1988. I began doing the same for the Coachella Valley Weekly in 2012.

I live in Palm Springs with my wife and our amazing dog, Denver. 

To Read All of Eleni P.'s Reviews, Click Here

 

 

Hits: 227

Music Review - `Rope The Wind` by Nick Justice (ea) 3

Nick Justice “Rope The Wind”  (click on image to watch video)

 18 May 2021

 

Black

Nick Justice has one of those voices that’s as warm and rough-hewn as a well-worn jean jacket. Influenced by the LaurelCanyon sounds of Eagles, Jackson Browne and Crosby, Stills & Nash, the East Coast transplant arrived in sunny SoCal in the late ‘80s armed only with an acoustic guitar.

At that point the Roots Rock scene was in full swing. Initially, he busked on the streets to earn his keep. Soon enough, he was making a name for himself in bands like Chords Of Fame and Guns For Hire, opening for well-known acts like INXS, Del Fuegos, The Blasters, BoDeans and X. In the mid ‘90s, he embarked on a solo career, but became disillusioned with the music biz. So he stepped away, married and began raising a family.

Almost 20 years elapsed before he returned, recording “The Cry Of The Street Prophet” and “Between A Laugh And A Tear” in quick succession. Both albums were solo efforts in name only, and featured well-known sidemen like multi-instrumentalist Greg Liesz, guitarists Richard Bredice and Bobby Cochran. Opting for a more intimate sound, his newest effort, “Rope The Wind” is pared down to just Nick, Richard Bredice and former Honk/Funky Kings multi-instrumentalist

Richard Stekol. The record kicks into gear with the “TravelingMan.” Loping guitars and barbed bass are tethered to a clip-clop gait. Out on the open road Nick insists, “I just want to live my life free, don’t have to watch my Q’s and P’s.” The 11-song set has several highlights, including the sanctified harmonies of “Down At The Fishing Hole,” the epic outlaw tale of “Billy The Kid,” and the shimmering “Rhymes And Reasons.” “Love On The Run” is a South Of The Border Charmer and “After We Say Goodbye” offers a bit of

 

torch and twang. Nick’s vocals land somewhere between Mark Knopfler, John Hiatt and Iowa’s Folk Rock fishing enthusiast, Greg Brown. The arrangements and instrumentation, which is stripped-down to guitars, bass and drums, occasionally augmented by harmonica, slide guitar, banjo, organ and mandolin, are equal parts gritty and bucolic.


Music Reviewer - Eleni P. AustinEleni P. Austin - I was born into a large, loud Greek family and spent my formative years in the Los Angeles enclaves of Laurel Canyon and Los Feliz. My mother moved us to the Palm Springs area just in time for puberty and Disco.  I have spent over 40 years working in record stores, starting back in High School.

I wrote music reviews for the Desert Sun from 1983 to 1988. I began doing the same for the Coachella Valley Weekly in 2012.

I live in Palm Springs with my wife and our amazing dog, Denver. 

To Read All of Eleni P.'s Reviews, Click Here

 

 

Hits: 819

Music Review - `Lock Down & Loaded` by Dallas Moore (ea)

Dallas Moore - Lock Down & Loaded  (click on image to watch video)

 24 November 2020

 

Black

Dallas Moore’s whiskey-soaked rasp pairs nicely with his gutbucket guitar on his new single, “Locked Down

& Loaded.”  This ornery lament from the Ohio native finds him combating the COVID 19 Blues, with a bit of self-medication.

He takes cold comfort in “high speculation and pontification,” noting there’s “no end to the madness in site.” A wily and 

erudite distraction for these doomsday times.

 


Music Reviewer - Eleni P. AustinEleni P. Austin - I was born into a large, loud Greek family and spent my formative years in the Los Angeles enclaves of Laurel Canyon and Los Feliz. My mother moved us to the Palm Springs area just in time for puberty and Disco.  I have spent over 40 years working in record stores, starting back in High School.

I wrote music reviews for the Desert Sun from 1983 to 1988. I began doing the same for the Coachella Valley Weekly in 2012.

I live in Palm Springs with my wife and our amazing dog, Denver. 

To Read All of Eleni P.'s Reviews, Click Here

 

 

 


 

Hits: 376

Music Review - `Oh America` by Nellie Clay (ea)

Nellie Clay - Oh America (click on image to watch video)

 23 March 2021

 

Black

No matter which way the world spins, music still has the power to surprise and delight. I played Nellie Clay’s new EP, “Oh America,” and to paraphrase the Rolling Stones, I had no real expectations. So it’s sweet to  report that she knocked me off my feet.

          Holy shit, where has this music been all my life?

The Okemeh, Oklahoma-based singer-songwriter already has a couple of EPs and two long-players under her belt. She’s also shared stages with legends like Arlo Guthrie and Eliza Gilkyson, as well as my former Joshua Tree musical crush, Tim Easton. Still, she snuck under my radar.

From the opening cut, “Small Town Queen,” through the closer, a trenchant cover of Texas troubadour Butch Hancock’s “Long Sunsets,” her music casts a spell. Her smoky contralto conjures up antecedents like Kitty Wells, Maria McKee, Patty Griffin and Gillian Welch.

The instrumentation and arrangements feel fresh, the melodies are indelible. On “Small Town” woozy trumpet intertwines with searing pedal steel.  “Good Women” is an empowering anthem that blends prowling acoustic guitars and see-saw fiddle. “If I Could Paint You A Picture” is a burnished acoustic waltz. Meanwhile, “Kind Love” is a back porch banjo-driven benediction.

The title track is the centerpiece, weaving melodic threads of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” into a rich aural tapestry. Lyrics address States that are divided, rather than united; “Oh, America, bless your poor little heart, you are suffering, you are falling apart/If love can’t find us all and make a brand new start, I fear the fight will fall to the blind and cold at heart.”

Nellie Clay has got the goods. 

 


Music Reviewer - Eleni P. AustinEleni P. Austin - I was born into a large, loud Greek family and spent my formative years in the Los Angeles enclaves of Laurel Canyon and Los Feliz. My mother moved us to the Palm Springs area just in time for puberty and Disco.  I have spent over 40 years working in record stores, starting back in High School.

I wrote music reviews for the Desert Sun from 1983 to 1988. I began doing the same for the Coachella Valley Weekly in 2012.

I live in Palm Springs with my wife and our amazing dog, Denver. 

To Read All of Eleni P.'s Reviews, Click Here

 

Hits: 270

Music Review - `Treasure Map` by Shoebox Letters (ea)

Shoebox Letters - Treasure Map (click on image to watch video)

 24 November 2020

 

Black

 Their latest musical missive opens with the tick-tock twang of “Drinking More Without You.” Over brash guitar riffs, walking bass lines, supple keys and a rattle-trap beat, Dennis admits he’s “drinking more, but I’m empty just the same.” Every song’s a winner here, from the  meandering shuffle of the title track, the sad-sack lament of “First Step” and the cautious optimism of “Wait And See.” 

  On “Second Guessing,” Dennis plays  a reluctant Romeo insisting, “I don’t want to fall  in love, I don’t want to fall to pieces, I don’t want to be tied down, I don’t want to be spoken for.” The EP wraps up with the yearning “I’m No Good At Walking Away.” Intertwined acoustic and electric guitars are matched by searing pedal steel, tensile bass, feathery keys and a kick-drum beat. Despite some equivocation, the song begins and ends with  the same resolute verse; “I got a ticket in my pocket for a nowhere train, I reserved a seat in one name  and it isn’t yours.”

  This band manages the neat trick of sounding  fresh and familiar at the same time. “Treasure Map” takes the listener to some  uncharted territory, but it feels like going home.

 

 


Music Reviewer - Eleni P. AustinEleni P. Austin - I was born into a large, loud Greek family and spent my formative years in the Los Angeles enclaves of Laurel Canyon and Los Feliz. My mother moved us to the Palm Springs area just in time for puberty and Disco.  I have spent over 40 years working in record stores, starting back in High School.

I wrote music reviews for the Desert Sun from 1983 to 1988. I began doing the same for the Coachella Valley Weekly in 2012.

I live in Palm Springs with my wife and our amazing dog, Denver. 

To Read All of Eleni P.'s Reviews, Click Here

 

Hits: 254

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