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Friday, December 7th, 2012
Music Reviews

The Offer, Jesse Payne and More... The Beat’s Record Roundup

Musicians: Send your CDs to The Beachcomber, P.O. Box 5707, Destin, FL 32540-5707.

Louis Armstrong and the All Stars

Satchmo at Symphony Hall 65th Anniversary: The Complete Performances

Hip-O Select

Since Armstrong is one of the two or three most important prerock musicians of the 20th century, it’s safe to say that we all need to hear every last note the man ever recorded.

- Christopher C. Manson

Bobby Bare

Darker than Light

Plowboy Records

Bare drops the album of his life, a striking collection of traditional tunes—“House of the Rising Sun,” “Tom Dooley” and “Shenandoah” still have a lot of life left in ‘em—and left-field cover songs. I wouldn’t include Bono (“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”) in the company of Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, Merle Travis and Bob Dylan, but Alejandro Escovedo (“I Was Drunk”) certainly belongs in there. Other highlights include the Bare-Don Cusic original “I Was a Young Man Once” and Shel Silverstein’s epic “The Devil and Billy Markham,” a Music City cautionary tale that needs to be heard repeatedly.

- Christopher C. Manson

GoGo Penguin


Gondwana Records

This seems to be my month for picking British jazz musicians. GoGo Penguin is a piano, bass and drum trio based in Manchester. Fanfares is GoGo Penguin’s debut album, timing out at a modest, hope-you-like-us 36 minutes. In that time they manage seven original tracks, some of them cerebral, some bittersweet, some dramatic. The focused and energetic trio can work itself up from solo turns into sounding like a lot more guys drifted into the studio. It’s a good debut, confident and thoughtful, but unpretentious.

- Bruce Collier


After Hours

Premier Musique Group

Based out of Panama City, Hulon is a sax player extraordinaire. After Hours perfectly showcases his abilities as a smooth jazz artist and beyond. With a stellar guest appearance by Geoff McBride on “Always and Forever,” this album should be in every genre aficionado’s collection.

- Nikki Hedrick

Ian Hunter & the Rant Band

When I’m President


Greatest septuagenarian rocker of our times.

- Christopher C. Manson

Jeff Johnson


Origin Records

Seattle based bassist Johnson has led a textbook jazzman’s life. He’s been a leader, sat in with the likes of Chet Baker and Philly Joe Jones, and lived pretty much everywhere in America. On Suitcase, Johnson leads a quartet with Hans Teuber on sax, pianist Steve Moore and drummer Eric Eagle. The nine tracks convey a strong but introspective sense of continual movement,  in tune with the rambling life. There’s an austere, dreamlike sound of trains, buses, roadside clubs and “Where are we tonight?” throughout. Hence the title, dig?

- Bruce Collier

The Offer

33 Days

Eulogy Recordings

With echoes of pop/rock, hard rock, posthardcore, and several other styles, the Offer successfully manages to throw all their influences into 33 Days without ever seeming forced. Their well thought-out song structures and anthemic lyrics are sure to win over most rock music fans, and this release will certainly grow the Offer’s fan base far beyond the Emerald Coast.

- Nikki Hedrick

Jesse Payne


Capture Music Inc.

A minimalistic folk singersongwriter with an arresting and hauntingly beautiful voice. Buffalo is a powerfully emotive album that deserves multiple listens. The five-track EP closes out with a live recording of “Yards of Paint,” which highlights how stunning Payne’s voice is in-person.

- Nikki Hedrick


Tears, Sweat, and the Seas


From the reverbheavy “Mobile” to the twangy “Baptism by Fire,” Pensacola indie rockers Timberhawk cover a lot of musical ground. Whether it is a folkstyled ballad or a song with genre-bending experimentation, Timberhawk isn’t playing by anyone else’s rules. “Down the River” is one of the standouts of this release, a catchy, upbeat tune that embraces a hopeful outlook.

- Nikki Hedrick