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Monday, December 12th, 2011
Music Reviews

The Beat’s Record Roundup - EdMo, Owsley Brothers and More


Colman deKay & Paul Sanchez’s Nine Lives – A Musical Adaptation, Volume 1

Mystery Street Records

Anyone who has had the good fortune to read the Dan Baum book upon which this album-only musical is based will be astonished by the way deKay and Sanchez were able to adapt the John/JoAnn story, for starters. Not sure how a song about a “lost” vibrator will play out on the stage, but I hope it survives the transition. A cast of over a hundred of New Orleans’ best— including John Boutté, Irma Thomas and the To Be Continued Band—participate in this sprawling tribute to the Crescent City’s triumph over adversity through music.

- Christopher C. Manson


Brigitte DeMeyer

Rose of Jericho

BDM

Music DeMeyer’s fifth studio album blends blues, countr y, folk and gospel in a polished 12-track set, with accomplished backup. Hers is a voice for all the above genres, but she’s more inclined here to the saloon rather than the coffee house. She’s got variety, offering rueful-toned songs about the price of salvation, dangerous love and redemption. There’s a bouncy little number called “Jeremiah’s Blues” about her son, and she conjures up Maria Muldaur and other ‘70s hot mamas on “Say Big Poppa.” I liked this one better on second listening. Catch DeMeyer in January at the 30A Songwriters Festival.

- Bruce Collier


The EdMo Project

Jazzy Xmas

Independent

Restored to humanity, a holiday record that swings. Recorded a few years ago, before EdMo Lanier became our EdMo, but plenty of fun even if you don’t know the cats wailing on sax and demolishing the keys. The faithful will be rewarded with a fine bass solo from our hero on “Santa Claus  Is Coming to Town.” Available to purchase at the Beal Street Bottle Club in Fort Walton Beach.

- Christopher C. Manson


Emily Lynch

Emily Lynch

Eldest Only Records

Released earlier this year, this is Atlanta native Lynch’s debut album. The singer/ songwriter is slated to appear at the 30A Songwriters Festival in January. Lynch offers 10 tracks on romance, lost love, endurance, and little touch of gospel. It starts energetic and keeps it up even when slow and sweet. Lynch’s silvery, sometimes girlish voice is easy to get into, even if country and blues aren’t your music of choice. She has power and range, but her sound is restrained and not self-indulgent. The lady is good with a lyric, and at home with a guitar.

- Bruce Collier


Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile and Stuart Duncan

The Goat Rodeo Sessions

Sony Masterworks

“Goat Rodeo” is a phrase applied to the difficulties of merging bluegrass and classical music into a cohesive idea, but leave it to these masters to come up with something that works. Combining cello (Yo-Yo Ma), bass and piano (Meyer), violin/banjo (Duncan) and mandolin (Thile, of Nickel Creek), this classical supergroup has indeed created something that they themselves term “genre-proof.” At, first, the similarities to Celtic string music are evident in “Attaboy,” but Ma and Meyer bring a classical depth that emerges, and Thile and Duncan take it into the hills with a distinct American style (“Hill Justice”). At times, you are not sure of your ears, but these new sounds form an acquired taste, juxtaposing unique instrumentation with new ideas, all the while defying categorization.


- Edward Jack

Owsley Brothers

Pure Lust

owsleybrothers.bandcamp.com

Freeport-based musician Jerad Reynolds (WaCo Ramblers, Tennessee Firearms) calls this his “garage blues” project, but the five tracks here seem to have arrived from outer space. The overall sound suggests T-Bone Burnett himself might have had a hand in the production. Some of the most vital music ever produced here on the Emerald Coast, it defies genre pigeonholing and only gets better with each listen.

- Christopher C. Manson


She & Him

A Very She & Him Christmas

Merge

Actress-songstress Zooey Deschanel and underground folkster M. Ward are She & Him, a lively duo that has had recent success with a unique brand of folk pop. With two albums under their collective belt since they formed in 2008, they are perfect candidates for a holiday album. (Deschanel made her vocal debut in the movie Elf with Will Ferrell.) Deschanel’s saccharine sweet vocals blend naturally with Ward’s more subdued and earthy guitar style. Running the gamut of the Christmas songbook— from “The Christmas Waltz” to “Sleigh Ride” and “Blue Christmas”—She & Him don’t pull many tricks, but give earnest, if not straight-on renditions of the holiday classics. A Very She & Him Christmas is one of the more relaxing holiday releases of note, a perfect musical antidote to ease the effects of the holiday hustle.

- Edward Jack


Youth Lagoon

Year of Hibernation

Fat Possum

The debut from Youth Lagoon, aka Trevor Powers, is an autobiographical album, translating emotional pain into music. But the style Powers chooses to deal with these themes of anxiety and depression seem almost the antithesis to them, reverberating with haunted yet soothing vocals (“Afternoon”) and ever-building beautiful melodies (“Daydream”). Merging analog electronics with vocal echoes, Powers creates his own musical universe. Year of Hibernation is an album of sublime and muted beauty, as obscure as it is telling, which makes for new discoveries with each listen.

- Edward Jack


2011 Compilation Album: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

munckmusic.com

None of the acts I saw on the second weekend (Sonny Rollins, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Bobby “Blue” Bland) made the cut, but there’s plenty to like over three discs and 30 tracks. The old guys (Gregg Allman, Arlo Guthrie) don’t embarrass themselves, there’s plenty of great new funk/jazz/Zydeco/blues to discover, and John Boutté never fails to amaze. The inclusion of frequent Emerald Coast visitors Johnny Sketch and the Honey Island Swamp Band ought to seal the deal for most Beachcomber readers.

- Christopher C. Manson