Albums

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One would think that a band that is so well-known for their live performances would have released multiple concert discs by now.  With the exception of a few "indie" releases years ago, prog-rock kings Umphrey's McGee waited until this month to birth their first commercially available, official live album entitled Live at the Murat.

Multi-faceted artist and long-time radio host of the "Grateful Dead Hour" releases his 5th disc to date through his own Perfectible Recordings label entitled Twisted Love Songs.  The collection is comprised almost entirely of recordings from his recent live performances around the West Coast and beyond.

Bruce Springsteen not only has a new album out with the E Street Band, (their first since 2003) but the group is back together again, launching a tour in October.  The album, "Magic" brings 11 new Springsteen songs to the Archives of Eternal Americanna. Their last contribution was "The Rising" in 2002.

Many musicians who stage their very existence through live art seem to have trouble rolling over that passion into studio projects.  The atmosphere changes drastically, and for many can stifle the creative process.  However, those who embrace this medium can translate very well and generally reward the listener with real substance.

Normally I am a little skeptical of artists who release albums that are dubbed "B-sides" or "leftover recording material", because it usually is a feeble attempt to cash in on material that truly is b-grade.  However, this is not the case with the release of Umphreys McGee's The Bottom Half, which happens to boast some beautifully written and energetically recorded tracks from the Chicago-based rock outfit.

Over the years I have found Keller Williams' live shows to be an exciting spectacle of his unique musical talent, full of interesting and catchy songs.  However, I have felt that his studio releases have lacked the same energy and substance.  His vocal style can sometimes be redundant and his signature guitar playing has lost some variation.  With the release of Dream that has all changed, mostly in part to the dream team of artists he assembled to collaborate o

Halcyon Days, Bruce Hornsby's ninth full-length album and first for Columbia Records, evoke hopes for the future and memories of the past while appreciating, according to the artist, "Great days, beautiful peaceful days when they happenin these times."

After listening to the mini-album 18 Steps I begun to question Trey Anastasio's choice of track listings for the release Bar 17, his latest studio project distributed this October.  There are some real gems here that probably should have made the cut for the major release, and may have been better received choices that some of the sleepers on Bar 17.

Tony Furtado's new album, Thirteen, streets January 23 and features Jim Dickinson (Big Star, Replacements ), Dusty Wakeman (Anne McCue, Lucinda Williams, Dwight Yoakam ) and producer Craig Schumacher (Neko Case, Calexico, Iron & Wine ). Tony is presently conducting phone interviews from his home base of Portland, Oregon.

In 1996 Nada Surf was on top of the world.  Their hit single, "Popular" was an anthem for depressed high school students.  The song served as a painstaking guide book to teenage popularity.  They had a major label record contract and were destined for greatness.  Fast-forward 9 years and the mainstream music scene had basically written them off.  They were a one hit wonder.  With four albums to their name, Nada Surf released "The Weight is a Gift" at the end of 2005 on Barsuk Records.  The album serves as a beacon of

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