7 June 2003
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!
Go to http://www.rambles.net to access the new edition and much, much
more! (Our archives now contain more than 5,200 reviews, interviews and
other bits of excitement.)
Gaelic Storm has reshuffled its lineup and added a touch of
improvisation to its sound. Tom Knapp, who interviewed band member
Patrick Murphy in 2002, pays another visit to the popular Titanic band,
this time chatting with Steve Twigger about the new course they're
Colcannon makes its presence known with its latest release, Trad. "The
overall sound remains classically Colcannon, featuring clean, exciting
instrumentals and the rich, heartful voice of Mick Bolger," Jo Morrison
reports during a welcome visit to Rambles HQ. "If you are looking for a
fine collection of traditional music with an Irish flair and
outstanding musicians, this is it."
Nicky Rossiter dips into the Scottish tradition with Auld Lang Syne, a
compilation disc from Culburnie that "is blended liked good whiskey and
leaves a listener thirsting for more."
Anita Best performs Crosshanded, and Rachel Jaft has a positive report
on this Newfoundlander's work. "Best is a talented singer whose voice,
especially without musical accompaniment, is full of passion and
sadness -- and the joy of passing on the songs of her childhood to
another generation of listeners," she says.
The Baltimore Consort "may have created the perfect Christmas album
with Bright Day Star," says Sarah Meador, who is perfectly aware that
it's nowhere near Yule. "I've listened to this album on the coldest day
of the year, when everything was wrapped in ice and the sun was hiding
in angry blue clouds, and in rushing spring, with pollen blanketing
fields of flowers," she says. "No matter when it's played, Bright Day
Star sounds fresh and fitting."
The Bottomfeeders won April Chase's affections with Waterview, a
"uniquely Canadian offering" with touches of folk, jazz and bluegrass
blended in its East Coast sound.
Swap's self-titled CD blends the sounds of British-Celtic and Swedish
music to excellent effect, says Jennifer Hanson. "Whatever a melody's
source, Swap weaves it seamlessly into the music," she says.
The Finnish band JPP shares a Kaustinen Rhapsody, and Jennifer gives
the music a high rating. "The abundance of strings gives JPP a lush
sound, even more so in concert than on disc, but the arrangements are
never saccharine," she reports. "The inherent dissonances lurking
beneath the surface of Nordic music make sure of that."
The Young Grey Horse Society preserves a piece of Native American
history with Songs of the Blackfeet. "The harmony of these young
performers is outstanding," Alicia Karen Elkins reports.
Alice Gomez's Obsidian Butterfly is "the second-best CD available today
in contemporary Native American music," Alicia claims. "Every selection
Ray Greiche says Everything's Fine, and Sarah appears to agree.
"Greiche has created songs that can be quiet companionship for a busy
afternoon, or tangible comforts when time allows careful listening,"
The Mailman's Children have produced a Stranger Thing in their latest
CD; Paul de Bruijn says the folk collection "shows the beauty of
darkness. From the first note to the last the edge is there, the music
and the lyrics combining to paint stark and wondrous pictures."
Gianmarc Manzione shares the Silver & Gold mined from the folk-rock
talents of Neil Young. "The intimacy of these songs make you feel like
Neil recorded this album in your living room; it is some of the most
comfortable music he has ever put to tape," he says.
Raymond Fairchild Plays the Classics and earns accolades from Carool
Kersten. "Apart from providing a wide-ranging sample of bluegrass
music, this collection also allows an agile performer like Fairchild to
show off his versatility and dexterity," Carool says.
Wildfire plays bluegrass Where Roads Divide; Jerome Clark says the
Knoxville-based musicians are "already among the more interesting young
bluegrass outfits" on the market. The CD "offers the sort of modest but
honest pleasure one experiences in first-rate minor poetry, and there's
nothing wrong with that."
Spyro Gyra's Original Cinema is "a departure in style to some extent"
for the decades-old jazz ensemble, according to Jenny Ivor. "This is an
essential purchase both for Spyro Gyra fans and those who have
forgotten why that name sounds so familiar -- listen to Original Cinema
and get some pure sound relaxation back into your life!"
David Cortopassi's third jazz CD, Embrace Destiny, put Alicia into a
doze. Don't hurry away, though -- read why Alicia thinks that's a good
Nelson Faria and Cliff Korman take you Inside the Brazilian Rhythm
Section in an instructional book-and-CD set that Sarah says is a great
resource -- but it's not for beginners.
The enigmatic gods of the north raise their heads in H.R. Ellis
Davidson's classic Gods & Myths of Northern Europe. "The writing is
lively and descriptive," Alicia says. "There are no lulls in this book!
It will keep your attention focused and your imagination engaged."
Joseph Bruchac carefully unwraps The Native American Sweat Lodge:
History & Legends in an informative book Alicia says "will make the
culture come alive!"
John A. Kinch shares A Journey for All Seasons: A Cross-Country
Celebration of the Natural World, and this "powerhouse of information"
impresses Alicia quite a lot. "Kinch's writing style is vivid, dramatic
and quite descriptive," she says. "He is a strong writer who can take
you on a journey to these places and leave you feeling as if you
actually saw it."
Charlaine Harris pays a visit to Club Dead, and Tom says the latest in
a series of "down-home vampire stories" is an engrossing stretch for
waitress/heroine Sookie Stackhouse. "The story takes unexpected turns
and there are plenty of satisfying resolutions, but not everything is
resolved neatly or completely, either," Tom says.
Scott Nicholson's The Red Church is "one of the best horror books" that
Alicia has read in year. "He is a master of the craft of layering
subplots and manipulating tension and intrigue," she says.
Virginia MacIsaac passes time at Quinlin's Estate, a Christian novel by
David Ryan Long. "Good dialogue and salient points of mystery carried
the story," she says. "I would have liked more clarity so it would take
less effort on my part when reading the journal entries, but Long does
pull together a story that makes you want to keep on reading."
Sarah spends a Summer Knight with Jim Butcher for the fourth
installment in The Dresden Files, a mystery set in a fantasy setting.
"Summer Knight fuses horror, detective work and high fantasy, and
succeeds in every aspect," Sarah says.
The story of Usagi Yojimbo: The Ronin revolves around the bushido code
of 17th-century Japan. Its hero is a rabbit. Want to know more? Read
Mark Allen's review!
Tom says The Nail, a Justice League story from DC Comics, is a potent
graphic novel about a world without a Superman, where heroes are
outlaws and criminals hold hidden power. Writer Alan Davis "whips the
story into a frenzy and walks away with one of the best Elseworlds
tales of recent years," he says.
Michael Vance likes the art in Dan Brereton's book, Nocturnals:
Witching Hour. "Visually, this is a fun Halloween romp as real monsters
mix, undetected, with kids in costumes," he says. "Brereton is blessed
with an extra helping of talent, and a deep understanding of cartooning
Alicia says In the Name of the Father is an eye-opening film,
particularly for anyone interested in Irish history and the British
legal system. "This movie is drama at its finest," she says. "You will
be astounded at the miscarriage of justice in this case and the lengths
the authorities went in an attempt to keep the truth covered up."
Miles O'Dometer takes a lesson from Le Pianiste ("The Piano Teacher")
and says the film "is as brutally honest as it is brutal; a voyeuristic
look into the lives of three dysfunctional figures, it's almost as hard
to watch as it is to turn away from."