DJ for Bluegrass and Beyond
Palisade, Colorado, United States
My earliest recollection with music is a little green record I had as a very young child. I shared a room with my older sister who shared her music with me (like it or not). But she and my older brother wanted to make sure I was listening to the popular music of the day. My parents listened to classical and took me to the symphony regularly.
As a teen I liked it all...folk (Peter, Paul, and Mary; Bob Dylan; Pete Seeger), soul (Otis Redding; Carla Thomas), Motown, ... Read More
Latest Album Reviews
Review of Survival Instinct: The Evilution of the Pack
Album Info: Survival Instinct: The Evilution of the Pack
Justin Varnes Album: Survival Instinct: The Evilution of the Pack Label: Self-Release Genre(s): Jazz
Posted By: Joe Ross
Feb 15, 2020
Drummer Justin Varnes raises awareness for violence prevention with his new release that recognizes our instinctual need to gather in packs, as well as find ways to bridge the divide between packs. The top-flight musicians he’s assembled to bring his optimistic music to life include Mark Rapp (trumpet), Luke Weathington (alto sax), John Sandfort (tenor sax), Nick Rosen (piano) and Kevin Smith (bass). A kind of spiritual chemistry takes place among these guys. While the liner notes for Varnes’ original songs reference certain acts of violence or other impacts of pack mentality, he arranges and presents the music with considerable hope, buoyancy, and positive outlook. As a musical journey, the album flows seamlessly from the opening “Prelude” that introduces the themes, to a short patriotic “Interlude” at the mid-point, and anthemic closing
One could expect a group of road- and studio-seasoned players- a group of long tenure together and a couple of Grammy snatches to boot- to turn out a set of rock-solid tracks as a matter of course. The Phantom Blues Band raise the ante with cut-above song selection including some very respectable in-house contributions. Keyboardist Mike Finnigan drops the airplay-worthy “Better But Not Good” as well as a standout vocal and piano performance on the late Louisiana roots artist David Egan’s “Blues How They Linger”. Saxophonist Joe Sublett’s “Wingin’ My Way” is an ear-catcher as well.
Lolly Allen Album: Coming Home Label: Hunters Records Genre(s): Blues
Posted By: Robert Silverstein
Feb 12, 2020
Origin Records offshoot label OA2 released coming home from vibist / bandleader / composer Lolly Allen. This NY native living in L.A. covers the classics and adds in some of her own on her 2019 album Coming Home. Not the most original album title ever, the music is a total gas. Recorded in L.A. in 2016, the ten track CD finally sees a release on OA2, establishing Ms. Allen as a formidable band leader and composer. Horace Silver, Johnny Mandel, Luiz Bonfá, AC Jobim and Dizzy Gillespie all receive the covers treatment while, a pair of Allen originals also shine here. The band assembled to record the album is first rate with Paul Kreibich (drums), Larry Koonse (guitar), a pair of pianists and a full horn section is also featured here. Straight ahead instrumental jazz with a fondness for the classics, Coming Home is a most welcome album filled with positive, timeless vibes (literally
Based in New Mexico, the band called Mystic Journey released a very cool New Age instrumental album back in 2017 called Kingdom Of Mountains. In 2019, the two key members Suzanne Teng and Gilbert Levy released an album called Autumn Monsoon. Very much steeped in the New Age meditation music sound of Mystic Journey, the ten-track, 48 minute Autumn Monsoon is the perfect backdrop for Suzanne’s Native American flutes and Gilbert’s percussion, synths and guitars. The sound is very acoustic in nature and joining the duo on Autumn Monsoon are their cohorts in Mystic Journey, Joe Ossman (diruba) and Dean Torres (guitars). The album cover art is brilliant, capturing the swirling essence of the mystical sounds featured throughout the album. Autumn Monsoon is clearly one of the top instrumental New Age and meditation music albums of 2019.
Martin Barre Album: Live In NY Label: Purple Pyramid Genre(s): Pop Rock
Posted By: Robert Silverstein
Feb 7, 2020
A joint release between Purple Pyramid and MVD, Live In NY is a most impressive return to form by rock guitar innovator Martin Barre. Of course, it was Martin’s electric guitar work that changed the fortunes of Jethro Tull following the departure of Mick Abrahams in 1969. Martin’s instrumental albums are a blast but Live In NY is a Jethro Tull tribute album featuring Martin backed up by his band including Dan Crisp (vocals, guitar), Alan Thompson (bass) and George Lindsey (drums). The interplay between Dan’s vocals and Martin’s memorable riffs brings a new dynamic to vintage Tull classics from the 1970s balanced out by several of Martin’s newer instrumental pieces, and there’s also a cover of the Beatles’ 1966 classic “Eleanor Rigby”. Recorded live in upstate NY during 2019, the three disc package includes two CDs and a DVD, but