23 February 2002
- Here's what you'll find on the What's New page at Rambles,
your best source on the 'Net for the cultural art reviews!
February has brought spring-like conditions to this part in the world and
all seems well with the universe -- particularly considering another grand
edition of Rambles to tickle your fancy! Read on for some primo material,
including a preview of the latest work from Charles de Lint. But first,
Tom Knapp has a soft spot for the Arrogant Worms, and their new CD, Idiot
Road, has plenty of the good stuff to merit that fondness. The contents of a
baby's diaper will explain, however, why Tom feels the Worms "owe me a slim
slice of sanity."
Tom has stumbled across Puirt a Baroque in the past. He is once again
astounded by the band's ability to blend Cape Breton and Baroque traditions
in a cohesive whole, as evidenced by Bach Meets Cape Breton. "It doesn't
sound like the two should mix well, and yet they do with amazing ease in the
hands of these musicians," Tom says.
Lynne Remick says the Celtic band Coila offers "just the right amounts of
bounce, vigor, twang and fiddling" on its new CD Full On. All in all, she
says, it combines for "a lively, full-bodied and rather jazzy Celtic music
Lynne is also enthusiastic about Will Millar's Celtic Reverie: Women of
Ireland. She describes the CD as "a veritable fairy chest of treasures!"
Wil Owen wholeheartedly recommends the self-titled debut from Kilbride, a
trio of brothers from Wales. "If you enjoy Celtic music at all and fiddle
music in particular, then you owe it to yourself to at least check them
out," Wil says.
Dave Townsend says it's hard to capture the full effect of the Glengarry
Bhoys live, but says their CD The Gathering comes close. Their music, Dave
says, "can be compared to bands like Seven Nations and Clandestine, who have
successfully combined rock and traditional Celtic music, with an emphasis on
Naomi de Bruyn says Caribbean Voyage -- Grenada: Creole and Yoruba Voices,
recorded in musicologist Alan Lomax in 1962, "is a piece of history. ... The
sun of the Caribbean is carried upon the voices of these singers, and their
history will fascinate the listener."
Thomas Schulte makes his Rambles debut with a review of Georgia blues singer
Precious Bryant and Fool Me Good. Read his review to see what makes this
solo outing such a treat!
Sheree Morrow says the music on South of Nowhere makes it obvious that Bill
and Libby Hicks enjoy what they do. "And they do a fine job of it with
old-time fiddle music like that which would have provided a family's only
entertainment in the days and areas where television, satellites and
computers were unheard of," Sheree says.
Chet Williamson couldn't be happier with Back to the Mac, a live recording
from bluegrass superstars IIIrd Time Out. "It reminds us bluegrass lovers
why we fell in love with this music in the first place," Chet says.
Charlie Ricci says the music on the Midiri Brothers Orchestra's Finger
Bustin' is Benny Goodman-style jazz with punch. The vocal tracks aren't as
strong, Charlies says, but "the instrumental jazz arrangements may be the
best old-time jazz music I have heard in many, many years."
Max Eastley makes beautiful art, says Richard Cochrane, but that doesn't
mean it translates into good music. Read why Richard says you should skip
New & Rediscovered Musical Instruments, a jazz album featuring David Toop
and Eastley's sculptures.
Rachel Jagt enjoys the "so there!" attitude in many of Lisa Gentile's songs
on Becoming. "Gentile is insightful in her lyrics," Rachel says, "giving the
impression that she has lived through many of the scenarios she describes."
Erin Bush finds a lot to like in Bruce Piephoff's country-folk CD Deep River
Anthology. "Listeners familiar with the genre won't find much that's new in
the hints of country, blues and gospel that flavor Piephoff's folky sound,"
Erin says. "What they will find is music that's welcoming, familiar and
skillfully played and sung."
Wil Owen says Amethystium's CD Odonata falls into the same category as
Delerium, Enigma and Deep Forest. "Amethystium is a must-have band for your
collection," Wil says. "The musical journey is deep and intense."
After hearing Experiment on a Flat Plane, Wil decides it was worth the
six-year wait for Soulhat to release a new CD. "Their style various enough
that you are bound to like at least some of it, perhaps all of it," Wil
Nicky Rossiter says These First Few Months by country singer Quillan Roe
"may not set the world alight but it deserves a careful listen, and Quillan
Roe is a name and a voice to watch. Any of the songs featured here could
take off if given fair airplay."
Turning now to the printed page....
Donna Scanlon does a merry dance with Seven Wild Sisters in the latest work
from contemporary fantasy author Charles de Lint. The short novel, Donna
says, "is the kind of book that makes you sigh happily when you finish,
partly sad because it's over but mostly happy, content and full with the
magic wrought by a truly fine story while knowing that all you have to do is
open the book to the beginning. De Lint's narrative is skillful and
polished, and, like good poetry, tight and spare without sacrificing
Donna reports that James D. Houston's novel Snow Mountain Passage is a fine
account of historical-fiction dealing with a difficult subject in American
history: the ill-fated Donner party. "Houston rescues the story from its
sensational trappings to recount a tale of courage, strength and survival,"
Sionainn Cocheo can't dredge up anything nice to say about Vanishing Act by
Jack L. Douglas. "In short, it's just bad," she says.
Tom Knapp was awed by Edvard Munch's "The Scream" when he saw the painting
in Norway. Now he is awed by Federico Zeri extensive analysis of the work in
Munch: The Scream, part of Zeri's excellent One Hundred Paintings series.
Over in the sequential arts section, Tom doesn't like Darwyn Cooke's take on
the Batman in Ego, nor does he like the art depicting Bruce Wayne's alter
ego as something "visually reminiscent of Oogie Boogie from The Nightmare
Melissa Kowalewski is delighted with the poetry offered in Alison Stine's
slim collection, Lot of My Sister. "I could have used twenty-five more
delectible pages," Melissa says.
Janine Kauffman eagerly delves into the awkwardly titled film Things You Can
Tell Just by Looking at Her. "The answer is brief," Janine says. "Not much
-- unless you're paying close attention."
Tom finally bowed to curiosity and watched the new Planet of the Apes ...
and found it lacking. "I've enjoyed quite a lot of director Tim Burton's
work, but this 'reimagining' of the original tale is more of a caricature
than a tribute," Tom says. "Go back and watch the original, but pass this