Review Summary: An artist at another crossroads proves that he still has some ideas to offer and builds an inconsistent album around them. Christian Fitness is the (sort-of-) solo project by Future of the Left’s eccentric frontman, Andy Falkous. Love Letters in the Age of Steam treads ground that should be familiar enough for fans of Andy that are aware of his past works, but it’s also got a couple of natural evolutions that have been a long time coming. The album has a somewhat unfortunate tendency that is common for artist’s of Falkous’s caliber in that it exists in a state of simultaneous progression and regression.
Violinist Tim Fain has worked extensively with minimalist composer Philip Glass in performances and in the preparation of new pieces, and the most impressive result of their collaboration may be the Partita for solo violin (2010), a seven-movement suite written especially for Fain. Associations with Johann Sebastian Bach's violin partitas are inevitable, and it's clear that Glass has had them in mind while composing in what can be described as an aspirational, rather than a merely imitative, manner. Glass has for the most part avoided his customary ostinatos and static sections, and his use of broken chords only suggests counterpoint, rather than propulsive rhythmic patterns. He has also eschewed any direct references to Bach or Baroque style, yet the Partita's kinship with the older models is certainly felt, and Fain's playing has a lot to do with it. The ebb and flow of tempos and the expressive use of rubato give the Partita an introspective feeling, and the freedom of individual expression is quite removed from the locked-in, high-energy ensemble playing that was Glass' early trademark style.
The Adam Eckersley Band infuse harmony laden country rock with a southern rock feel in well crafted songs that put a balanced emphasis on riffs, soulful grooves and uplifting choruses. And it’s their willingness to stretch out musically and over genres that makes them interesting. Their songs always leave plenty of room to jam and groove, even if they don’t always take advantage of that. And if there’s a downside, it’s simply that their crossover style might struggle to get a hearing in a Nashville dominated music scene currently over populated by denim clad cowboys with heartland lyrics, big choruses and a power guitar solo.
21 tracks, 1938-1946, 6-page booklet with liner notes and a discography to the recordings on this CD. Included are also some tracks issued under his pseudonym Sanders Terry, some with accompany by Blind Boy Fuller's Boys, and some numbers feat. Woody Guthrie on banjo, guitar or violin, and the late great Washboard Sam!
There's a new solo CD from Kim Simmonds and it's called "Jazzin' On The Blues". It's an acoustic offering but, this time, it's all instrumental. As the title suggests, it's a nod towards Kim's jazzier side. The album includes original material as well as cover songs. In addition to soloing on guitar, Kim also shines on harmonica and plays bass. The whole sound is rounded out by Ron Keck's percussion. Says Kim, "On this album I've found a new way to express myself on the acoustic guitar. It's very exciting to find a new approach to playing the guitar after spending so many years trying to master the instrument". Jazzin' On The Blues was officially released January 1, 2015, but is currently available at all Kim Simmonds and Savoy Brown live shows.
Nashville Obsolete is the second solo outing for ace guitarist and producer David Rawlings, who for nearly two decades has shared the load with creative partner Gillian Welch to become one of folk and country music's most celebrated duos. Like 2009's Friend of a Friend, this seven-song mini-album is billed under the Dave Rawlings Machine banner and features a small ensemble that sees Rawlings and Welch swapping roles in what has become their familiar format. His reedy tenor voice that usually melts so effortlessly with Welch's takes the lead here on a set of melancholic songs that channel tones of Bob Dylan and Neil Young through the Dust Bowl filter that has become his bailiwick.
Esoteric Japan released a Hybrid SACD box set of Mozart: 9 Symphonies on December 15, 2015.