Sunday, May 04, 2014

Album reviews: Gregg Allman tribute, The Both, Johnnyswim, Deep Purple

Springtime has brought a wealth of fantastic new releases. Here are a few highlights worth exploring…

Various artists: The Allman Brothers Band, Derek Trucks, Jackson Browne, Keb' Mo' and more
Title: All My Friends: Celebrating the Songs & Voice of Gregg Allman (Rounder)
You might like if you enjoy: Gregg Allman, Zac Brown Band, any of the artists on the collection
Tell me more: In January 2014, a far-flung collection of musical greats gathered at Atlanta's Fox Theatre to pay tribute to Gregg Allman. That concert has now been released as comprehensive set that features a full-length DVD and the audio presented across two CDs. From the Southern blues rock of "Come and Go Blues" (featuring Warren Haynes) and gospel take on "Please Call Home" (courtesy of Sam Moore) to the Louisiana-flavored "Just Another Rider (sung by Keb' Mo') and Trace Adkins' countrified "I'm No Angel," the breadth and scope of Allman's work is explored with admiration and craft by an all-star cast that also includes Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, John Hiatt, Dr. John, Taj Mahal, Martina McBride, Jackson Browne, Gregg Allman himself and many more.  Information:

Get 'All My Friends: Celebrating The Songs & Voice Of Gregg Allman' [2CD+1DVD]

Artist: The Both
Title: The Both (SuperEgo Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Aimee Mann, Ted Leo
Tell me more: The teaming of Aimee Mann and Ted Leo on The Both is one of the year's most wonderful surprises. This is an equal musical partnership that has resulted in two gifted singer-songwriters able to collectively create something greater than the sum of its parts. Mann has long been a superb singer recognized for her stellar songcraft, but on The Both the presence of Leo's muscular guitar work and the blending of their spirited voices make for a special collaboration that works whether they are delivering Big Star-styled rockers ("Milwaukee," "Volunteers of America"), melodic folk-rock ("The Prisoner") or gentle baroque folk ("Hummingbird"). Information:

Buy 'The Both'

Artist: Johnnyswim
Title: Diamonds (Big Picnic Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson, Bright Blue Gorilla
Tell me more: One of 2014's great new arrivals is Johnnyswim, the husband and wife duo of Abner Ramirez and Amanda Sudano-Ramirez. The couple's debut LP Diamonds is an intoxicating blend of folk, rock, soul and Americana bound together by the twosome's  vocals that work separately or via formidable harmonies. Romance is at the heart of many of their songs and the emotion they unleash is the real deal. In "A Million Years" they tenderly probe how long their love will last, while their aptly-titled "You & I" captures their devotion via a soaring declaration that mixes up gospel and country inflections with a myriad of other musical styles with their voices simultaneously fierce and gentle. Information:

Get 'Diamonds'

Artist: Deep Purple
Title: Live in California '74 (Eagle Rock)
You might like if you enjoy: Deep Purple, Rainbow
Tell me more: Forty years after Deep Purple headlined in front of 200,000 fans at the Cal Jam Festival in Ontario, California, the hard-rocking performance has been issued on CD and digital audio. The band (guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, singer David Coverdale, bassist Glenn Hughes, keyboardist Jon Lord and drummer Ian Paice) crushed the mega-sized crowd with killer versions of already-classic cuts (a powerful "Smoke on the Water" and extended "Space Truckin'") and notable cuts off their 1974 album Burn including a monster metal version of the title track. Information:

Buy 'California Jam: Live In California '74' here

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