Friday, November 20, 2015

Eclectic tastes sure to be satisfied via range of new titles

Click here to read my latest column featured in Desert Star Weekly. If you can't access the embedded article (which is featured on page 14 of the issue that will open), you can read a text version below.

Two contrasting releases from singer-guitarist Holly Golightly, as well as impressive returns from Herb Alpert and bluesman Joe Louis Walker are worth discovering.

Artist: Holly Golightly
Title: Slowtown Now! (Damaged Goods/Forced Exposure)
You might like if you enjoy: Wanda Jackson, Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs
Tell me more: Holly Golightly has been busy in 2015. Not only did she recently release a new album with her well-established Americana project Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs, the English artist has also released a new solo album that conjures up Cilla Black, Shirley Bassey and modern-day favorites She & Him with a sense of fun and purpose as evidenced by the tuneful sunshine pop of "Frozen In Time," the early-styled rocker "As You Go Down," and Baroque folk ballad "Forevermore." Information:

Artist: Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs
Title: Coulda Shoulda Woulda (Transdreamer/Megaforce)
You might like if you enjoy: Holly Golightly, X, The Knitters, Brown Bird
Tell me more: The latest collaboration from Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs (the duo of British singer-guitarist Holly Golightly and Texas-spawned multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Lawyer Dave), "Coulda Shoulda Woulda" is a dozen song set of spirited indie Americana. There is an authenticity to all of the songs here, with the duo blending blues, rock, country folk and roots rock with equal aplomb. From the straight-forward rocking blues of "Little Mule" to the more detailed acoustic Delta ballad "What He Does" and introspective Appalachia-laced vocal duet "Lonesome Grave," there is a warmth and honesty to everything here. Information:

Artist: Herb Alpert
Title: Come Fly With Me (Herb Alpert Presents)
You might like if you enjoy: Herb Alpert, Vince Guaraldi Trio
Tell me more: The Zombies are not the only popular '60s hit makers to enjoy a full-on resurgence in recent years. Trumpeter Herb Alpert won a Grammy for his 2013 disc "Steppin' Out" and has just released the aptly-titled "Come Fly With Me," a disc that proves the 80-year-old artist is still able to deliver top-flight performances. Blending artful covers and melodic originals, all of the compositions retain the jazz meets Bossa Nova style that was a stamp of Alpert's '60s and '70s hits, although he often influses reggae rhythms into several of the pieces (including a version of Irving Berlin's "Blue Skies" and his own "Walkin' Tall"); a jazzy and especially tender instrumental version of George Harrison's Beatles classic "Something" and yearning version of Billy Strayhorn's "Take the 'A' Train" are among the other standouts on "Come Fly With Me." Information:

Artist: Joe Louis Walker
Title: Everybody Wants a Piece (Provogue)
You might like if you enjoy: Walter Trout, Buddy Guy, Tommy Castro
Tell me more: Blues Hall of Fame inductee Joe Louis Walker is in full form on the recently-issued “Everybody Wants a Piece.” A guitarist who isn’t afraid to tear into his electric guitar with the freewheeling approach of Buddy Guy and the late Jimi Hendrix, the Bay Area native shines as both singer and guitarist across the 11-track disc, including on the blues rocker “Do I Love Her,” soulful “Black & Blue” and “Witchcraft” (both showcasing Walker’s strong lead vocals) and Delta-minded standout “Gospel Blues.” The final track, “35 Years,” recalls the infectious spirit of Chicago blues greats Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters. Information:

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