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NC Saxophone Ensemble

Wow, what a great sound, and I take back everything bad I ever said about Mozart- here the overture from Le Nozze di Figaro:

Paul Russell: You and I

Paul RussellHere is a lovely waltz from Colorado's Paul Russell.Paul Russell plays what he calls "Rocky Mountain Americana", a music style infused with elements of folk, newgrass, old country, tomfoolery, delta blues and pirates. The lyrics explore themes of love, beauty, mystery, and meaning....a mature, refined songwriter whose attention to detail pays off.--The Marquee - Front Range, CO

Click on music player below to listen / Download You and I (right-click or option-click to download...)

Paul Russell Artist Page

Reviewed: Somewhere South of Crazy

Reviewed by Joe Ross....

Dale Ann Bradley is a defining bluegrass voice of our time. After reviewing Dale Ann Bradley’s third solo album project “Catch Tomorrow” back in 2007, I felt she was perfectly poised to break through and win IBMA’s Female Vocalist of the Year Award, an honor she’d been nominated for in 2006. Sure enough, Dale Ann subsequently won the award for three years running, in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Dale Ann’s 2011 release “Somewhere South of Crazy” documents the artist’s musical maturity, and it is also acknowledges the strength of her 26-year vocal collaboration with Steve Gulley, a fine guitarist and singer in his own right who also contributed to writing “Restoring the Love.” Others singing some harmony vocals on this CD include Pam Tillis (Somewhere South of Crazy), Kim Fox (Round and Round, Summer Breeze, Next to Nothing), and Sierra Hull (Come Home Good Boy). Hull’s nimble-fingered mandolin playing is always a treat to hear. Other noteworthy instrumental support comes from Stuart Duncan, Mike Bub, Andy Hall, Matt Combs, David Long, Mike Summer and the album’s astute producer Alison Brown.

Mighty Nice Music

Pete, Woody, Sonny Terry, Browne McGhee, et al, if you like the banjo or any of these guys, watch this:

Reviewed: Trolley Days by Thomas Porter

Reviewed by Joe Ross...

Thomas Porter may be the youngest member of the Copper River Band, but he’s also the current front man, guitarist, lead vocalist and primary songwriter for the Arizona-based group together since late-2004 when Bob Denoncourt, John Thompson, Jim Govern, and Charlie Edsall formed the band. When John and Charlie moved on to other endeavors, the lineup supplemented Bob (bass, vocals) and Jim (mandolin) with three other excellent musicians and vocalists -- guitarist Thomas Porter (since 2005), fiddler Doug Bartlett and banjo-player Dick Brown (since 2010).

Emphasizing all-original material, “Trolley Days” kicks off with a nostalgic tribute to the popular Phoenix Street Railway System that operated from 1887 to 1948 and had the motto “Ride a mile and smile the while.” Porter’s historically accurate song mentions the nickel fare, horse-drawn cars that were converted to electric power in 1893, and the 1948 car barn fire that led to the trolleys’ replacement with buses.

The Mind of an Artist: Self-promotion, 1806-style

Ludwig van Beethoven understood the value of raising the taste of the public; present-day artists might want to consider using this as a basis for requests from patrons, etc., or say you want a discount on your child's voice lessons. Below is an excerpt from his 1806 petition to the Vienna Imperial Court Theater, a request to retain him as in in-house opera composer, at 2,400 florins annually:

The undersigned may flatter himself that so far during the period of his stay in Vienna he has won a certain amount of favor and appreciation... both at home and abroad.

Nevertheless, he has had to contend with all sorts of difficulties, and as yet has not been fortunate enough to establish himself here in a position compatible to his desire to live entirely for art...

Since on the whole the aim which he has ever pursued in his career has been much less to earn his daily bread than to raise the taste of the public and to let his genius soar to greater heights and even to perfection, the inevitable result has been that the undersigned has sacrifices to the Muse both materialprofit and his own advantage. - Ludwig van Beethoven

His petition was rejected (OK, maybe the third person thing  was a bit much), but luckily some upstanding royals stepped up to the plate and he didn't have to take a day job. Times have changed, huh?

Always, Always, Keep Smiling

If you don't like this, you don't like bluegrass- Liberace playing the great Zez Confrey classic Dizzy Fingers. Whew!!

Tom Martin: Twisting In the Wind

Tom MartinHere's a lovely song from Tom Martin. Tom comes from Ireland and his music covers a wide range of styles. Widely regarded as one of the finest guitarists to come out of Ireland, but primarily a brilliant songwriter of longstanding cult status...Easy to listen to, hard to define with a melodic touch of Paul Simon and lyrical insight of a John Prine, but with a sound and a songwriting skill that is undeniably his own. - Belfast Telegraph

Listen: / Download Twisting In the Wind (right-click or option-click to download...)

Tom Martin Artist Page

Audrey & Orwell: Stairwells EP

Audrey & OrwellWhat started as the solo project of Columbus, OH, singer/songwriter Jason Dutton (ex-Nixon Ford and Carter) has morphed into a quartet featuring two known locals-viola player Emily Ng of Super Desserts and vocalist Counterfeit Madison of Trains Across the Sea and the Dewdroppers, plus new-to-the-scene cellist Natalie Manny. The young band, Audrey & Orwell, has made some live appearances in the last year and is now releasing its first recording in the form of a four-song EP, Stairwells, recorded by Josh Landis of Old Son Studios.

This is very cool music, the instrumentation give them a unique sound to support Dutton's songs- the arrangements are hip, the production quality is first-rate. Listen to this track, download if you like it, you can say you knew about them before they got famous:

/ Download Rapture Audrey & Orwell Artist Page

Trolley Days: Thomas Porter & Copper River Band

crbalbumcoverwebsmallWe just received three albums from Thomas Porter, his latest, Trolley Days, plus a great single "Simple Box of Pine" with Dan Tyminkski and Ron Block, and his self-titled debut, good listening all around. The new platter features his own band, really fine pickers, and these guys know the style- if you like bluegrass, you'll enjoy this music.

All original songs, Thomas is a triple-threat, an excellent guitar player, singer and song writer, not to mention some lovely instrumentals. There are those who prefer their 'grass to have a modern touch, I'm thinking of the Nickel Creek fad, but when all that's been forgotten we'll still go for the straight-ahead, "mighty fine". Porter and his cohorts show their respect for the genre and are doing a lot to keep it alive.

Find out more about Thomas Porter and the Copper River Band here..

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