Check out this week’s record reviews by Kevin Bryan:
Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, The Travelling Kind (Nonesuch Records). Emmylou and Rodney have been musical soulmates since the mid-70s, but this beguiling country duo had never actually recorded an entire album together until 2013’s Yellow Moon was released to universal acclaim. The eagerly awaited follow-up is a little more subtle and understated but well worth hearing nonetheless, from the chugging opener, The Travelling Kind to unabashed tearjerkers such as Her Hair Was Red and the life enhancing Louisiana flavoured finale, La Danse de la Joie.
Ain’t Gonna Hush The Queens of Rhythm & Blues (Fantastic Voyage). This gritty three-CD anthology was assembled by journalist and R’n’B specialist Lois Wilson and showcases a grand total of 76 largely obscure recordings from the 50s and early 60s. These passionate and uncompromising creations couldn’t be further removed from the homogenised fare which tends to dominate the charts these days, and open-minded listeners would be well advised to lend an ear to the visceral contributions from long forgotten performers such as Lula Reed, Myrtle Jonesand Cordella De Milo, whose 1955 offering, Ain’t Gonna Hush, features no less a luminary than the great Johnny “Guitar” Watson on stylish lead guitar.
Avi Avital, Vivaldi (Deutsche Grammophon). This engaging celebration of the vast creative output of prolific Venetian composer Antonio Vivaldi provides a stunning vehicle for the artistry of Grammy-nominated mandolin virtuoso Avi Avital. These transcriptions of works which were originally penned with other instruments in mind make the transition to mandolin with effortless ease, and this fine D.G. CD closes with a traditional Venetian song, La biondina in gondoleta, exquisitely handled by Peruvian classical tenor Juan Diego Flores.
The Resonant Rogues - Here & Gone Again” (Self Released.) Rampant eclecticism is the order of the day as this fine young band unveil an album which draws on elements of Gypsy jazz, Balkan folk music and infectious Americana for its genre transcending appeal. The contents were captured for posterity in The Resonant Rogues’ homebase of Asheville, North Carolina, leaning heavily on the creative input of founder members and lifelong partners Keith J.Smith and Sparrow, who excel themselves with standout tracks such as Make Us Stay, Flowers and Tomorrow.