It's easy to know how to categorize an artist like Christina Rubino. Self-described as “a Female Johnny Cash” Alive from the Scrapheap’ is one of the more dark releases I’ve heard this year. It’s not so dark and apocalyptic steeped in the fog of shock mind you, but rather extremely truthful and honest. It’s got sold melodies and impressive musicianship – which is a rarity in today music.
Striking out on your own as a musician after being part of an ensemble is never easy to do, save for the fortunately marketable front men and Beyoncés of the world. Roosevelt Collier is doing his best, and while picking up steam, has never forgotten where he came from and what made him the musician he is today. Forged out of the Pentecostal beliefs surrounding “Sacred Steel,” Roosevelt is both carrier of the torch and genre-hijacking outlaw.
If the spirit of the 60s was still alive, it’s probably not through the music. Nostalgia is what connects most folks to those simpler, but equally perplexing socioeconomic times in American history. On a grand scale, the human-be ins and connectivity that brought the young generation, the baby boomers, growing into adults of the late 1960s, was a time when youth stopped buying into their elder generations ideas of conformity and the lies about being patriotic by supporting a pointless war halfway across the world.
Since I began my professional music writing career over 20 years ago, one thing I have taught myself over that time when it comes to new album reviews is to never pass judgment after only one listen. Yes, there is something to be said about first impressions however one cannot truly digest the music until given ample hearings.
The idea of the super group can be a tricky concept. Powerhouse musicians of their craft all accomplished individually, collaborating together as a new ensemble. Ego, style, and ability can clash. True cooperation is easier to envision than to execute properly. In the jazz world it gets even more complex. Since jazz is inherently less about similar personnel compiling a unit and more about open collaboration and musical conversation, creating jazz “super-group” is a delicate operation.
Blending the elements of Blues, Rock, Funk, Jam & Soul, Chicago’s own Nick Moss Band, on this, their 10th album release, bring an electrifying smorgasboard to the table with Time Ain’t Free (Released March 18th 2014 and in stores now).With the addition of Michael Ledbetter (Descedant of Lead Belly) as rhythm guitarist and second lead vocalist, there comes along with him his soulful vocal renderings on Light It Up, Fare Thee Well, Tell You Somethin’ Bout
The Mother Hips’ve been around long enough and released a helluva ‘nough material that this collection of rarities and demo tapes, Chronicle Man, is gonna be for the band’s ready-converted disciples first and foremost. That being said, I still have my bones to pick with the set, as well as a few highlights of note.