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Friday, October 26, 2012

26th of October 2012

Iris DeMent - Sing the Delta (2012)

The first song on Iris' first album "Let the Mystery Be" showed clearly her "credo", emerged from her Pentacostal background and her tight-knit family. True believers don't ask questions, they just follow. True believers are sometimes angry with their God, but they know how to forgive. True believers they spread love, first among the family, then to the outside world. True believers don't need proofs, they need comfort.  The cynical twenty first century shows no mercy for that kind of characters, they are last of their kind, misunderstood, underestimated and hopelessly dated. 

But even the coldest hipsters have their moments of reminiscing of childhood days when everything seem so easy and when they feel unconditionally loved and protected. Iris DeMent's new album (and all her previous albums) is ideal soundtrack for these moments.I can't recall any singer in any genre who dedicated more songs to his/her parents and home. On Sing the Delta there are at least four: title track, the opening Go Ahaed and Go Home, Makin' My Way Back Home and Mama Was Always Tellin' Her Truth. In fact, all her songs are, one way or another, about family idyll of her childhood at Arkansas Delta. Thanks to her high-lonesome trembling soprano, the mix of country, folk and blues leans towards country which may be repulsive to some people. On the contrary, it is very appealing to me. Appealing enough to be in my top 5 this year!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

20th of October 2012

The Jim Jones Revue - The Savage Heart (2012)

The Jim Jones Revue look like they just left Charles Dickens novel leaving Artful Dodger on his own, to make his way through muddy streets of XIX century London. Than, they transcendentally cross the ocean to meet their spiritual brothers Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, The Stooges, MC5 and some Delta bluesmen too. The result is this record - mean rock'n'roll played with a little dose of English arrogance. The counterpoint between loose lead vocals and tight backing vocals spiced with honky tonk piano in "7 Times around the Sun" made it easier for me to pick my favorite track, but the others are also very good and differ from each other enough not to be annoying. Even in slow blues "Midnight Oceans & The Savage Heart" you can clearly hear the savageness of these hearts.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

18th of October 2012

Jake Bugg - Jake Bugg (2012)

Who is this guy remind you of? The majority of you would say Bob Dylan for sure. And the majority of you would be right. But it's not that simple, it's not just another regular "new Bob Dylan" candidate. His dangerous look on inadequate young face, his acoustic guitar and his simple jacket are "pro", but his songs (at least some of them) are "contra" epigone arguments. His songs are strongly reclined on the folk singer/songwriter tradition, his performance evokes the memory of Don McLean, one of the first "new Bob Dylans" from the beginning of the seventies. Young Jake personally admitted this connection in BBC interview, quoting "Vincent" as very important song to him (see videos below).

Why he showed up on the mainstream now (with some others, Ed Sheeran or Mumford and Sons, for example)? Because people are tired of alienating electronica, offensive rap and meaningless modern R'n'B, people need to get in touch with their own feelings, people need New Sensitivity! 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

5th of October 2012

Dan Stuart - The Deliverance of Marlowe Billings

There's no doubt that Dan Stuart was the heart and mind of Green on Red, long forgotten predecessor of what we call "Americana" today. You can feel it in every note of this album, made with Sacri Cuori, his Italian backing band. Although Antonio Gramentieri is not Chuck Prophet, nor Christian Ravaglioli is Chris Cacavas, Dan alone is more than enough to bring us back old memories and to deliver the same feeling. Frankly, the energetic level is few octaves lower than in Green on Red times, partly because of Italians who mellowed out the sound in Mediterranean way, partly because of his 50+ years of age, with last few spent in rehab from divorce and nervous breakdown (" I'm just searching through the pieces, looking for whatever's left of me"). Now, he is back, still trying to overcome the hard period in his life. This album is his cure and judging by a show described below remedy is effective. The Deliverance of Marlowe Billings secured it's place among my best albums of 2012 not with great singing (it isn't!), not with great songwriting (good, but not essential), not even with great playing (just competent), but with great outburst of emotions, like in psychotherapy session.

Dan Stuart & Sacri Cuori Live at Gun Club, Belgrade, 04.10.2012

Lucky me, I saw him with Sacri Cuori last night at Gun Club, with predominantly gray-headed audience enjoying the show. He was very communicative, mentioning Jeffrey Lee Pierce (association to the name of the venue "Gun Club"), Jonathan Richman (Old World cover) and Joe Strummer (announcing song "What are You Laughing About" as a tribute to him). He was trying very hard to play rock'n'roll, but with exaggerated foolish grimaces on his face during fast numbers, it seemed to me that this is part of his"out-of -depression" therapy. On the other side, in slow numbers he was on his territory, playing them even slower than on album, with more credibility. Generation gap was not an issue here, we understood each other very well, our problems may differ a little, but late middle age is late middle age. With the last song (an old Green on Red favorite) Little Things in Life, played in irresistible Tarantella rhythm (oooh those Italians!), he gives us the answer - enjoy little things in life and you'll easier make it through!

Little Things in Life live from the living room in Belgium (video I made from Gun Club have terrible audio, and is not usable)