8 November 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 5,800 reviews, interviews and
other bits of excitement.) See you there!
Indian summer (in this part of the world, anyway) has put a nice cap on
autumn. But now that cooler weather is prevailing, it's time to retreat
inside, grab a mug of hot tea or cocoa, and snuggle up with your
computer and a new edition of reviews. Enjoy!
Our coverage of Celtic Colours picks up momentum with two featured
reviews this week. Cheryl Turner chimes in with her impressions of Home
I'll Be, a Big Pond concert by Tracey Dares-MacNeil, Lunasa, Howie
MacDonald and Gordie Sampson. Tom Knapp has his own tale to tell about
Bards & Ballads, a songfest with Dave Gunning, Sian James, Tim O'Brien,
Karine Polwart, Gordie Sampson and Tommy Sands. Read both reviews here!
Tom Knapp had a chance to sit down with Dermot Hyde, the piper with
Irish duo Pipeline, in the green room behind the Festival Club stage at
Celtic Colours. Read his interview to see Hyde's thoughts on the state
of modern Irish piping -- and the important of being heard.
Patrick Street is a major street in Cork and a major influence in the
world of Celtic music. Street Life is an excellent addition to the
supergroup's discography, says Nicky Rossiter. "This is a very valuable
addition to any Irish music collection."
Barleyjuice "has the relaxed, very casual flair of a highly polished
pub band," Tom says after spinning the group's self-titled debut CD.
"There are excellent production values here, too, so don't expect the
rough edges of a live pub show."
Kathleen Keane, perhaps best known for her time as the fiddler with
Gaelic Storm, shows diverse talents on her self-titled CD. "I expected
amazing fiddling and got so much more," Tom admits. "Now the only
question is what she will tackle -- and master -- next."
The McKrells mix it up a bit in Better Days, a CD blending Celtic and
bluegrass styles. Chris Simmons says the album should appeal to fans of
Biruta Ozolina shares the music of Latvia on Sirdsgriezi (Heart
Solstice). "This is one of those albums that sneaks up on you rather
than grabbing you by the throat," says Jennifer Hanson. "This music
entices the listener into another realm and its enchantment is
difficult to shake off."
Melissa Gibson draws on the traditions of Mary Chapin Carpenter and
Joni Mitchell with her new release, Welcome to Stay. Nicky says this
album of original songs is top drawer! Congrats, Nicky, on review #250!
Todd Snider's live recording, Near Truths & Hotel Rooms, is an adequate
snapshot of a show but, says Jerome Clark, "you won't listen to this
one more than once."
Bryan Masters is Thundar, the Boy Giant, and Sarah Meador says the CD
is the perfect tool for knocking other music out of your head.
"Avoiding simple lyrical schemes and one-note stories, Masters manages
to capture the more intriguing, less well-defined moments of life," she
says. Congrats, Sarah, on review #150!
Adrian Rose catches Tom Knapp's eye in Nothing But Pearls, a musical
postcard from a New Orleans jazz club. "Adrian sings from her timeless
core, sultry and flirtatious with a slice of heartbreak, equal parts
Clara Bow and Macy Gray," Tom says.
Hiroshima revisits its brand of seamless world fusion on The Bridge.
Wil Owen, a long-time fan, says it's "nice to know that this band still
knows how to put out great jazz." Congrats, Wil, on review #150!
Mike Marshall and Chris Thile, both mandolin giants, leap Into the
Cauldron, an album Chet Williamson says "will have fans of both
(musicians) deliriously happy at the outcome."
Deana Carter has fallen off the radar for some country music fans.
Peter Harris says her holiday album, Father Christmas, should win back
some true believers. "It will never sell in huge quantities, but its
simplicity is refreshing," he says.
James Cohen explores the Latin blues on the High Side of Lowdown. His
guitar playing, says Virginia MacIsaac, is "exciting but also fun,
mysterious, joyous, skillful, creative and simply amazing."
Ray Abshire & Friends share some Cajun tunes For Old Times Sake.
"Either as an introduction to Cajun music or as another album for one's
Louisiana collection, I think this CD is a pretty good find," Will
opines. "The only things For Old Times Sake is missing is a washboard
and a mess of boiled crawdads!"
This Canyon Records collection explores Yaqui Ritual & Festive Music.
Alicia Karen Elkins says it's a CD that will "have you on your feet,
moving with the beat and clapping your hands."
Monsters don't have to be evil, according to story editors Brian M.
Thomsen and Martin H. Greenberg. "The Repentant collects clever horror
stories -- with a twist," says Tom. "Kudos to these authors and editors
for taking a new look at hackneyed creatures of evil!"
C.J. Cherryh flies back to her ongoing science-fiction universe in
Explorer. "Her construction of worlds, characters and cultures is
complex and convincing," notes Donna Scanlon.
Katie Macalister's novel Men in Kilts is "riotously funny," says
DeborahAnne MacGillivray. "She gives her readers of real slice of
Scotland and has done her research well into the ups and down of sheep
Carolyn Parkhurst's first novel (and audiobook) The Dogs of Babel "is
chock-full of little mysteries to titillate the reader into following
this author's line of thought," says Jean Marchand. "If the end-purpose
is to enlist sympathy for dogs, and I doubt that, it succeeds. How
wonderful that dogs demand so little from us!"
Tom, usually a fan of the Vertigo line, takes a dim view of the story
in Witchcraft, a story of female victimization in the guise of female
empowerment. " James Robinson's story "is sexism of a different color,"
Tom also doesn't like Gothic, a Batman collection that takes the hero
"into places even he shouldn't go."
Michael Vance says the Generic Trade Paperback "is parody of the
industry that creates and merchandises, and the fans that sustain,
superhero comic books." Unlike others in the field, he says, "this one
Janine Kauffman dips into a Possession of a literary kind in this film
starring Gwyneth Paltrow. "Possession bears a lot of flash and more
than a little heat, but a plot shrunken and jumbled from its novel
namesake," Janine laments.
The 1993 film Leprechaun isn't a lighthearted romp about fanciful
sprites, Dan Jolley reports -- although there is a pot of gold. "In the
world of horror movies, Leprechaun is mediocrity personified," he says.
That's all for another day here at Rambles. Cheers!