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4 May 2002

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  • Tom K
    Here s what you ll find on the What s New page at Rambles, your best source on the Internet for roots and traditional music, fiction, folklore and movie
    Message 1 of 1 , May 3, 2002
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      Here's what you'll find on the What's New page at Rambles,
      your best source on the Internet for roots and traditional
      music, fiction, folklore and movie reviews!

      ... http://www.rambles.net

      May has arrived, along with some glorious spring weather. We hope everyone
      celebrated Beltaine/May Day in some joyous way! Now, let's talk about music!

      Katie McMahon used her Riverdance fame to launch her solo endeavors, and Tom
      Knapp says she marks her success with her latest CD, Shine. "The album, with
      its courtly grace and exquisite precision, is the latest pinnacle in her
      rising career," Tom says.

      Chet Williamson minces no words when it comes to Ian Melrose's recent CD, A
      Scottish Legacy. "Bow down -- a guitar god is in the house, or at least in
      the CD player," Chet says with unrestrained enthusiasm.

      Sheree Morrow says you shouldn't expect "the typical canned 'Irish' music"
      from Blackthorn's Ratty Shoes. "They have so much more to offer," she says
      of the Philadelphia-based Celtic rock band.

      Finn MacCool knows how to rock out the Celtic sounds, as evidenced by their
      album Sherdhana's Hand. "This disc is a joy from beginning to end," says
      reviewer William Kates. "Think Capercaillie or Altan crossed with Jethro
      Tull and an occasional dash of the Strawbs, acoustic Led Zeppelin and even

      Nicky Rossiter stumbled upon Irish singer Anthony John Clarke's Man with a
      Red Guitar and found it much to his liking. "Clarke has the ability to
      combine humour with very strong feelings of loss and deprivation," Nicky
      says. "This CD may be hard to find but like all precious gems it is worth
      the effort."

      Jamie O'Brien loves the accomplished sound of Ken Kolodner's hammered
      dulcimer on his CD Walking Stones: A Celtic Sojourn. Now he's thrilled to
      find Kolodner's accompanying instructional tunebook, Walking Stones: Music
      from A Celtic Sojourn for Hammered Dulcimer. Read Jamie's enthusiastic
      review of the CD and book combined!

      It slips into the background and fades quickly from the memory. But Sarah
      Meador is quite impressed with To Honor a Queen: The Music of Lili'uokalani.
      "Ozzie Kotani's interpretation of Queen Lili'uokalani's songs could best be
      described as Hawaiian sunshine," Sarah says.

      Woody Guthrie's rich collection of children's songs gets new life in Daddy-O
      Daddy! -- Rare Family Songs of Woody Guthrie, an album featuring the talents
      of numerous folk musicians. Alanna Berger says the disc is an unquestioned
      success. "Thanks to the talents of these musicians, the CD has a variety of
      musical styles, all of which are guaranteed to excite children and entertain
      adults -- which is a difficult feat for a children's project," she says.

      Chet says Sweetwater Reunion is a band worth looking for, and Almost
      Bluegrass is a fine place to start. "Combine their performing talents with
      top-notch songwriting abilities, and you've got a gem of an 'almost'
      bluegrass CD," Chet says.

      Richard Cochrane came to a fresh conclusion after listening to the jazz
      recording Composition No. 30. Read on to learn why Richard says he is
      "increasingly starting to believe that Simon H. Fell is one of the most
      important composers alive."

      Donna Scanlon says the Italian folk-rock band Ned Ludd shows similarities to
      the likes of Great Big Sea and the Pogues on the album A Zero Ore. The
      blending of acoustic roots with a rock beat results in "frenetic lively
      music," Donna says.

      Robin Brenner has become something of a Mark Erelli groupie since she
      reviewed his first CD. Her follow-up review of his latest, Compass &
      Companion, proves her fandom well placed. "I can only patiently, gleefully,
      anticipate where Erelli will go next," Robin says.

      A group of musicians pull together to pay tribute on Preachin' the Blues:
      The Music of Mississippi Fred McDowell. Veema Kysac says, as one might
      expect, "all the cuts pack a punch, but some of them are just a little more
      entertaining, a little more in the groove than others."

      Charlie Ricci had high hopes when The McCloskey Brothers Band arrived in the
      mail, but says the country-rock band from Colorado let him down. The album,
      he says, "is a complete disappointment."

      Melissa Kowalewski gives credit to Chip Symonds for his vocal and
      instrumental talents with Life Trip on the folk-rock CD Chronicles II.
      "These tracks provide a warm, '70s feel that comes alive with
      instrumentation," she says.

      Wil Owens has mixed feelings about Too Human's CD True. "The songwriting is
      pretty solid. The playing is generally good," he says. "But I am simply not
      engaged by the vocals."

      Before we turn from music, Tom has a report from the 58th annual New England
      Folk Festival in Natick, Mass. Read his story to see what makes NEFFA, as
      it's affectionately called, different from other festivals he's attended.

      We also must share this bit of grim news: Clandestine, one of the finest
      Celtic bands currently on the market, has announced its four members are
      going their separate ways at the end of their current tour in October. This
      amazing band, always a treat live or in the studio, will be greatly missed,
      and we wish Jen, Greg, EJ and Emily the very best in their respective

      Donna Scanlon admires the artistry that went into Patricia McKillip's
      fantasy novel Ombria in Shadow. The tale, Donna says, "confirms the opinion
      that McKillip's work keeps getting better and better, and fans and new
      readers alike will not be disappointed."

      Jenny Ivor has high praise for Guy Gavriel Kay's A Song For Arbonne, which
      was recently reprinted in paperback. "If A Song For Arbonne doesn't make you
      weep, it will surely pluck at your heartstrings," Jenny says. "Don't think
      it is a 'chick novel,' though -- there is enough machismo, warmongering,
      sexual shenanigans and political machinations to keep any red-blooded male

      Elizabeth Badurina enjoyed burrowing into The Loop with Joe Coomer. Says
      Elizabeth, "If there's one thing that Joe Coomer does very well, it's
      capturing in words both the strange, unresolved futility of life and the
      absolute absurdity of it."

      Tom recently received a copy Pirate & Gypsy Girls in the mail; it's one
      volume from the Artist Archives series published by Collectors Press and
      features "calendar girl" art from the 1920s and '30s. "At no time are the
      artists portraying gritty, realistic scenes," Tom notes. "But that's really
      the point of art of this sort, from this era -- wide-eyed innocence coupled
      with toothy, red-lipped smiles, a well-placed leg beneath a too-short skirt,
      a button or two missing from a frilly blouse, all in exotic locales to
      excite the imagination."

      Tom says Officer Down is a strong, cohesive story that crosses over the
      entire span of Batman comics, in which a major character is gunned down from
      behind. "It's worth noting that this storyline marked a few significant
      changes in the makeup of the Batverse," Tom says.

      Over in zines, Elizabeth Badurina hits us with a review of Copycat #3.

      Janine Kauffman opens our popular movie review section with a bit of musical
      folklore; she says the story is good and the music is stunning in the
      Appalachian film Songcatcher. In the movie, a music professor, "up against a
      chauvinistic wall at her university, has stumbled across a trove of musical
      history buried in a region that's snubbed by everyone else as full of
      savages, 'ruffians' and illiterate drunks," Janine explains. "No one else
      knows these songs still exist in their purest form."

      Tom liked the story and loved the visuals in What Dreams May Come, a
      startling visit to the afterlife. "This movie presents heaven and hell in
      awesome clarity, mixing the visual acuity of Hieronymous Bosch, Vincent Van
      Gogh, Michael Parkes and Salvador Dali," Tom says.

      And so it goes. Another edition has reached an end, so until next time ...
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