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Dursey Sound Connection's Forgotten Moons "seems like a soundtrack in
search of a movie," Tom Knapp suggests. "The instrumental recording ...
is a highly polished production, very evocative of mood and story --
although none is defined."
Sean O'Driscoll and Larry Egan get down-home and personal in The
Kitchen Recordings, which -- exactly as the title suggests -- were
recorded in O'Driscoll's kitchen. "Thanks to the advances in
technology, it is note-perfect as it captures an informal atmosphere
where two people who love the music let rip," Nicky Rossiter says. "The
album is a joy to listen to as you can almost feel the intimacy of a
session in a private house, where Irish traditional music thrives and
feels most at home."
Davie Robertson's Star o' the Bar is a contemporary recording from
Scotland. "If you pick up this album you will be unlikely to recognise
a single track, but replace it at your peril," warns Nicky. "These are
Jennifer Licko & Alan Chapman explore the Language of the Gaels in this
"fascinating album," says Debbie Koritsas. "The album's a little short
at just under 40 minutes, but there's an extremely good (and
interesting) balance of Celtic music here," she muses.
Harem Scarem cries Let Them Eat Fishcake on this "lively debut album
from a group of young, very talented musicians," Andy Jurgis proclaims.
See why he expects "more really exciting things" from this band!
Christy Moore made great strides with his early classic recording, Ride
On. "He has a pedigree in folk music that is hard to beat," Nicky says.
The album, even after 20 years, "is one of the best possible
introductions, not only to Christy Moore but to a vein of writing that
The French side of Celtic music gets the spotlight on Accordeons:
Bretonne Attitude, a compilation disc from Keltia Musique. "This CD
sets out to celebrate that joyous 'creative spirit' found within the
Celtic souls of the world," says Debbie. "OK, so there's an awful lot
of accordion here, but I have to say that it's all bathed in a rather
glorious Gallic glow."
Scott Merritt takes The Detour Home, which sees the Toronto singer's
return to memorable music. "This is stream-of-consciousness poetry
that's meant to roll over the listener," says Gregg Thurlbeck. "It's
mood more than meaning. It's not the kind of thing that I would
normally enthuse over. And yet, and yet...."
Duenow makes a generational bridge with If You Could Only See What They
Are Doing to You, a rockin' band with a folky flair. "People of my
generation are just not right, and the reality of our lives in
post-hippie America is often nothing short of bizarre," Kate Danemark
says. "Duenow is some kind of crazy tribute band to that reality, and
they rock the fractured world in which we flounder."
Heather Horak's Lucky Charm "is one of those albums that tries to be
quirky and funny, but just doesn't quite succeed," muses C. Nathan
Coyle. "I wish I could say it's a case of trying too hard, but it's
more like a case of trying the wrong thing." Jenny Ivor, on the other
hand, says Horak "has a deft touch with the balladic storytelling
style. ... This is entertainment for anyone who has eclectic musical
Folksinger Lisa McCormick turns to jazz for Mystery Girl. "This is an
album for the laidback lover of sweet sounds," Nicky says. "Lisa will
have you melting in her vocal grasp."
Tori Amos was a revelation when Under the Pink hit the shelves. "The
album showcases all her bests: challenging, poetic lyrics, haunting
vocals and piano accompaniment that startles with its savant-like
beauty and chameleon-like ability to change," says Tracie Vida. "In
this pop music climate of superficial lyrics and synthesized sounds,
Tori's naked emotions and authentic style rinse across the listener
like a mountain stream after the first snow melt: brutal at times, but
carrying away a lot of silt and rocks to expose the tender places
Jack Ingram "is a well-kept secret," says Jennifer Hanson. "This is a
shame, because he delivers a blend of country and rock not unlike that
of Steve Earle. ... Live at Billy Bob's Texas is a generous helping of
alt-country honky-tonk music from one of the genre's great talents."
Dirk Powell believes it's Time Again for a bluegrass recording, and
Jennifer echoes his sentiment! "Powell gets down to the emotional root
of the music, the joys and the sorrows of the people who created it,"
she says. "Time Again is a fine disc of music by a modern practitioner
who knows his heritage."
Little Muddy slips and slides in the Mayan Mud, a blues recording with
a bit too much aimless jazz for Virginia MacIsaac's taste. "They've
turned the good stuff upside down so your head isn't sure where the
music went, or if the good stuff was ever there," she complains.
TJ Rehmi feels The Warm Chill on an album that "might not be the most
demanding hour of music I've heard," says Debbie, but "it's also
extremely chilled and relaxing -- the perfect de-stress tool."
Irene Papas shares the ancient music of Greece on Odes. Adolf Goriup
lauds the effort, as well as the collaboration with famed composer
Vangelis. Read his review for the full story!
Georghe Zampir & Friends supply the Folksongs from Rumania on this
traditional collection of "energetic music that invigorates the
listeners with some selections and relaxes them with others," says
Karen Elkins. "This collection would be ideal for an outdoor gathering
where the people had plenty of room to dance and whirl."
Kay Hill relates 19 legends for children in Glooscap & His Magic:
Legends of the Wabanaki Indians. "As a whole they make a nice starting
point into the Wabanaki legends," says Paul de Bruijn, "allowing
readers young and old alike a chance to meet some of the characters in
a fairly safe setting."
Pamela J. Gonzalez is Climbing the Wreckage, a collection of poems that
"are challenging, sometimes difficult, but will repay those prepared to
unlock their meaning," Andy says.
Uma Narayan disputes feminism as a solely Western notion in Dislocating
Cultures: Identities, Traditions & Third World Feminism. "Writing from
an Indian feminist position, she attempts to clarify misconceptions
that she believes have resulted in a false perception of Indian values,
how Indian women live and religious constructions of Indian culture,
law and society," Fern Gilkerson explains. "I think Narayan's analyses
in this book are brilliant."
Donovan Webster takes The Burma Road to shed light on a different facet
of World War II: eight years of combat ranging from the mountains of
China to the jungles of Burma and other southeast Asian countries.
"Webster has written a definitive account of this war from an American
and British perspective," says David Roy. "I haven't read a better book
on this subject, and I'm very glad I picked this up."
Elizabeth George Speare's classic story of colonial New England, The
Witch of Blackbird Pond, gets a fresh look from Tom. "The story, which
won the Newbery Medal for children's literature, moves at a slow and
measured pace but is never dull," he says. "Nearly 50 years since its
initial publication, the book deserves to be taken off the shelf and
dusted time and again ... so read it, read it to your children, lend it
to your friends and read it again."
Harry Turtledove reveals a scary new world In the Presence of Mine
Enemies. "Although the writing flows quickly, making this an easy read,
the proposed ethical questions will linger long after you've set the
book down," opines Kate. "Perhaps it will even inspire you to examine
your own life and appreciate it just a little more."
Diana Pharaoh Francis chooses the Path of Fate in this fantasy novel
that soon shakes off its initial similarities to Anne McCaffrey's
Dragons of Pern concept. "The book holds the reader in a magical
suspense, and just as one thinks a peak has been reached and a turning
point must surely follow, the author provides yet another nail-biting,
breath-holding passage to keep the reader enthralled," says Jenny Ivor,
"blending intrigue and politics, horror, beauty and magic, religion,
war and rich characters and richly descriptive prose."
Emma Bull leads us in a Bone Dance in this post-apocalyptic tale. "Bull
is one of those writers who can pull the reader into the story
seemingly without effort," says Robert Tilendis. "Her prose is tight
and matter-of-fact, particularly when dealing with the supernatural."
Lee Child continues the saga of Jack Reacher in The Enemy. "If you're
not already a fan, The Enemy is a fine introduction to the Reacher
series," says Jean Lewis. "It's a pacy story, it's thoughtful and the
hero's intriguing. Buckle up and enjoy."
John Marco's The Devil's Armor "is the epic sequel to The Eyes of God,"
says Karen Elkins. "This is one smooth book."
Michael Vance revisits The Collins Case Files in this first volume of
Dick Tracy strips by Max Allan Collins and Rick Fletcher. "Dick Tracy
had long before been stripped of its gritty violence," Michael says.
"Collins eventually reintroduced many of the elements that had made the
This paperback anthology has Broad Appeal, Michael says. "This is a
chick flick on paper," he remarks. "Broad Appeal is recommended for
women of all ages, and for men with the courage to want to understand
women of all ages."
Tom bucks the trend with a favorable review of the monster madness in
Van Helsing. "More action-farce than horror-drama, Van Helsing is
entertaining for people who go to movies to be entertained," he says.
"If plot analysis is your passion or Oscar-worthy acting is your pride,
look elsewhere. If you want a fistful of popcorn and a big grin on your
face, give this a try. It's an enthusiastic tip of the broad and floppy
hat to monsters and monster slayers who deserve a fresh look now and
It is a shame, says Dan Jolley, "that gorgeous, poignant, sweeping
epics such as Anna & the King rarely succeed commercially, as they have
so much more to offer on so many different levels than your typical
box-office smash hits. ... If you have a heart, Anna & the King will
speak to it, and you will feel touched in a very special way after
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