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7 April 2001

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  • Tom K
    We ve got another jam-packed issue of fun and frolic, so let s get to it! Here s what you ll find on the What s New page at Rambles. http://www.rambles.net/
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 6, 2001
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      We've got another jam-packed issue of fun and frolic, so let's get to it!
      Here's what you'll find on the What's New page at Rambles.


      Tom Knapp raved a few weeks ago about the debut album of young fiddler Tania
      Elizabeth. Well, she doesn't disappoint on her second outing, This Side Up,
      either. "Tania plays with the sort of freshness, joy and life which makes
      the fiddle newly exciting each time you hear it," Tom says. "She also
      continues to push the envelope in fiddle traditions with her innovative,
      infectious arrangements and blendings of seemingly incompatible styles into
      something utterly wonderful."

      Bill Knapp is next with a taste of Ireland's west coast via Mick Flynn's The
      Love of the Land. "I was not familiar with any of the numbers before hearing
      this CD, but after listening to the likes of 'Crystal Morn,' 'Ballyfermot'
      and 'County Mayo,' I have a better sense of what it means to be Irish," Bill
      says. "This is not a paean to Celtic heroes; it is a tribute to the pathos
      of common man and his land."

      Nicky Rossiter takes a fresh look at Clancy nephew Robbie O'Connell and his
      1993 CD Never Learned to Dance. "O'Connell has a distinctive voice which may
      not please every ear, but he is an excellent performer," Nicky says. "The
      real bonus on this 12-track album is that he is the writer of every song and
      shows a wide range of skills."

      Debbie Gayle Rose is next with the Celtic-themed folk album The Sun Upon the
      Lake is Low by Mae Robertson and Don Jackson, who have compiled a disc full
      of lullabies and child-oriented songs. "These are the very talented people
      who came together to record this incredible collection," Debbie says. "My
      biggest problem has been trying to hold back the gushing praise it

      Tom Knapp is up again, this time with the jazzy folk-rock of Marie-Lynn
      Hammond's recent re-release, Impromptu. "Hammond sings with a strong voice
      and a clearly evident sense of fun," Tom says. "At times, the songs are
      poignant, but usually she's going for the grin factor. She seems the sort
      who'd be wickedly good entertainment in a small, crowded pub or cafe.
      Sometimes, she sings in French just to confuse us."

      Richard Cochrane continues a jazz theme with Joelle Leandre's Solo Bass.
      "Leandre's bass playing often impresses with its apparent ability to create
      a distinct idea within each piece, to make it a thing in itself without
      using thematic or crudely conceptual materials," Richard says. "Here,
      however, the pieces are much more jointed, falling into distinct sections as
      if each one were a miniature suite."

      Amanda Fisher has the blues angle covered with W.C. Spencer's Over Time.
      "One of my favorite parts of reviewing is increasing my appreciation of the
      rich tapestry of interrelationships between styles of music, like this album
      does," Amanda says. "Spencer has done a wonderful job of pacing the album,
      using nice contrasts between styles to advantage."

      Amanda also serves up a big bowl of Hot Soup with Hot Soup! "It will have
      particular appeal to fans of harmony, but should attract a larger audience
      than that," Amanda says. "The mix of songs and styles is varied and
      exciting, the original songs excellent, and the covers nicely chosen. The
      performances are uniformly outstanding."

      Ellen Rawson shares some Distillation from Erin McKeown. "Take some early
      Michelle Shocked and combine with parts of Dar Williams, The Nields, Lucinda
      Williams, Rickie Lee Jones and even Christine Lavin. Does that blend equal
      Erin McKeown? Well, no, not really," Ellen says."While here and there she
      may sound reminiscent of those artists, McKeown is remarkably hard to

      Lynne Remick goes globe-trotting for World Serenade. "Although sometimes
      ethnic songs of this nature can be too 'spicy' for one's tastes, these
      appetizers will appeal to a broad range of listeners," Lynne says. "These
      Latino and Celtic flavours are extremely tasty morsels, and will inspire
      hunger for a bigger portion of the same."

      Crystal Kocher returns to the setting of the film Gladiator for another
      sample of the music by Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard. Their sophomore
      release, More Music from the Motion Picture Gladiator, is "a wonderful
      collection of music by two of the most highly regarded composers of our
      time," Crystal says. "I can only hope that Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard team
      up to create more music."

      Ziya Reynolds urges us to take a new look at the world with John R.
      Stilgoe's modern guidebook, Outside Lies Magic: Regaining History and
      Awareness in Everyday Places. "Far from being some kind of encyclopedia of
      mundane wonder, Outside Lies Magic is really a guidebook to exploring on
      your own," Ziya says. "Stilgoe's examples pique your curiousity and make you
      want to ask why about everything you see, especially the things you see
      everyday but never noticed before."

      Donna Scanlon opens the fiction department with Joan Aiken's The Whispering
      Mountain. "Of all the books in Joan Aiken's Wolves Chronicles, The
      Whispering Mountain is my favorite," Donna says.

      Donna also attends Outlaw School with Rebecca Ore. "The picture Ore paints
      is not a pretty one, especially since one can see some of the seeds of Ore's
      future planted in conditions today," Donna says. "Yet in spite of the grim
      oppressiveness of the future society, Ore invests her story with a spark of

      Laurie Thayer blasts into a space war with Jim Cline's A Small Percentage.
      "Flaws notwithstanding, A Small Percentage is action-packed and hard to put
      down," Laurie says. "It is a very entertaining book as it is, but with a
      good, stiff editing (and about 200 fewer pages), it would be exceptional."

      Tom Knapp pays another visit to Kurt Busiek's Astro City for Family Album.
      "Once again, Busiek has gifted readers with a refreshing new approach to the
      superhero genre," Tom says. "His stories, no less marvelous and 'unreal'
      that anything else on the market, has a true-life feel which is rare in his

      Amy Harlib kicks off a trio of movie reviews today with the music-filled,
      convicts-on-the-run caper, O Brother, Where Art Thou?. "Steeped in 1930s
      period atmosphere, detail and the popular cultural zeitgeist of the day,"
      Amy says, the film is "brimming with appropriate old-timey, country, blues
      and folk music. ... Trying to spot the references to the original Odyssey
      adds to the fun of watching this enjoyable upbeat romp so filled with
      arguably its greatest asset, foot-tapping, heart-pounding tunes, that the
      movie could rightfully be called a musical."

      Janine Kauffman is next with The Whole Nine Yards, a funny film about a
      hitman on the run in the suburbs. "There's only one gripe," Janine says,
      "the last 15 minutes of the movie seem oddly out of place with the mania
      that's gone before."

      Tom Knapp concludes today's update back in Ireland for The Matchmaker, which
      takes U.S. political aide Janeane Garofalo to the old country to dig up some
      roots. "Marcy is even somewhat stereotypical as the American tourist with an
      attitude towards her 'quaint' hosts, but Garofalo has the charm, personality
      and presence to carry it off," Tom says. "If you're a fan of gorgeous
      scenery, you'll see plenty of it here."
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