3 June '01
- Rambles - http://www.rambles.net
As promised, Tom Knapp has a report from the Spring Gulch Folk Festival,
which included performances by the likes of Natalie MacMaster, Kathy Mattea,
Grand Derangement, Four Shadow, Deirdre Flint and more! (Check back next
week for Cheryl Turner's report on the Spring Ceilidh in Cape Breton.)
We begin the Celtic music portion of today's update with Johnny Connolly's
Drioball na Fáinleoige, which was reviewed by our newest staff, writer Pat
Simmonds. "Although Connolly was already firmly established in Galway and
Connemara as the premiere melodeon player of the region," Pat says,
"Drioball na Fáinleoige put him in the upper echelons of Ireland1s
top-flight traditional musicians and carved himself a niche as one of the
world1s great melodeon-players."
Our second new writer today is Cape Breton's Veema Kysac, who shares with us
a taste of Sydney's Elizabeth Patterson. Pengalleon is "an enchanting blend
of traditional and original tunes," Veema says. "Never monotonous, Patterson
generously lets each melody celebrate its own voice, letting the tunes and
not the player be the focus."
Stephanie Giamundo continues our Celtic coverage with Invocation by Anuna.
The remarkable singers "use their voices to create immense beauty and an
ethereal presence that defies description," Stephanie says. "Anúna is one of
the finest choirs I have ever heard."
Wil Owen switches our focus from Celtic to Caribbean with Caribbean Voyage
-- Martinique: Cane Fields and City Streets, another from Rounder's
ever-expanding Alan Lomax series. Unfortunately, Wil wasn't impressed with
this entry in the field, which is largely repetitive in style.
Dave Townsend continues the global angle with Ekova's remix album, Soft
Breeze & Tsunami Breaks. "The influences are a combination of African,
Middle Eastern and Celtic music," Dave says. "With the increasing popularity
of world music, Ekova has proven they can blend different styles of music
with excellent results."
What's this?? Yes, we have another new writer joining us today! Say hello to
Charlie Ricci and take a look at his review of country/blues singer Shelby
Lynne's album I Am Shelby Lynne. "Lynne's vocals are what makes all of these
self-penned tunes special," Charlie says. "Her voice suits this material
We turn to bluegrass with Chet Williamson for Hand Hewn by Dry Branch Fire
Squad. "It's an album with a raw-boned sound that has old roots, but which
often surprises the listener with its musical sophistication," Chet says.
"Dry Branch fans will find much to enjoy on this new album, and lovers of
bluegrass and old-time music who have somehow managed to miss this rousing
band will find it a good introduction."
For a taste of rockin' country, we have Rachel Jagt's review of the
self-titled release from Lisa Angelle. "The first thing that hits you ... is
the power of Lisa Angelle's voice," Rachel says. "Angelle presents a very
well-rounded debut that promises much more to come."
Judy Krueger is next with the folky sounds of LisaBeth Weber's Farmhouse
Sessions. "In a voice which combines a bit of Dar Williams and an amalgam of
east coast female folksingers, LisaBeth sings with an ease and presence that
suggests years of listening and singing and performing," Judy says.
Lynne Remick turns to the rockier side of folk with Linda Dunn's self-titled
CD. "With long-suffering lyrics, memorable melodies and a voice smooth and
thick like a fresh-poured cup of hot chocolate, Linda Dunn is poetry in
motion," Lynne says. "Dunn's raw, memorable vocals and unique perception
makes this CD a new favourite."
Paul de Bruijn dives Feet First into this CD from Christina Muir. "At times
the songs are quirky and light, other times the songs are deep and moving,"
Paul says. "In any event the songs are always good and they pull you along
with a gentle tide."
Our jazz entry today is Richard Cochrane's look at About by Day & Taxi.
"This Swiss-based trio plays intelligent jazz with a loose, supple feel,"
Donna Scanlon opens the Rambles reading room with her 300th Rambles review.
Jim Butcher's Storm Front: Book One of the Dresden Files is "a hard-boiled
detective story with supernatural overtones," Donna says. "The plot whips
along at a brisk pace with a good mix of suspense and humor."
Amy Harlib is up next with Jean Thesman's The Other Ones. "The author's
exceptionally graceful writing style borders on poetic, blending the
everyday details of life with elements of the supernatural, even providing a
little romance in an emotionally intense, satisfying way that holds the
readers' interest," Amy says. "The swiftly moving plot helps, too."
Naomi de Bruyn takes a backward glance at the days when Charles de Lint
wrote as Samuel M. Key, reviewing his early horror novel Angel of Darkness.
"Key weaves together a tight plot filled with darkness and horror, with only
a glimmer of hope shining as a beacon for some memorable characters," Naomi
says. "These are characters who resemble any number of people you might know
or meet, characters who are wholly believable and human, characters who may
not survive hearing the music."
Conor O'Connor has the non-fiction tome Gothic by Richard Davenport-Hines up
for our inspection. "The author sets out to provide a comprehensive overview
of the gothic in all its manifestations, and as such I think he succeeds as
much as anyone can who attempts to cage so extravagant a beast as this
between the pages of a single volume," Conor says. "In this book the
analysis is often deep but never dull."
Elizabeth Badurina kicks back the doors of the Rambles cineplex for the
Jacky Chan western Shanghai Noon. "Chan has made a movie that doesn't ever
let up -- it's either a lot of martial arts buttkicking, or it's a hilarious
slapstick dialogue that left me giggling until my sides hurt," Elizabeth
says. "This is a keeper if I've ever seen one."
Tom Knapp's review of the new Mists of Avalon movie inspired him to seek out
another recent Arthurian mini-series: 1998's Merlin starring Sam Neill in
the title role. "Merlin has a top-notch cast which any director would envy,
but still it fails," Tom complains. "It had the chance of telling one of the
greatest epics in human history, but instead, it tells the story of Merlin
as well as First Knight tells the story of Arthur -- in other words, not
well at all."
Tom ends today's update with Confession, a return to Kurt Busiek's Astro
City. "There's plenty of action in this tale, but as usual in Astro City,
much of it occurs in the background," Tom says. "The series shows no sign of