7 May 2011
Here's what's new at Rambles.NET, 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 contain more than 13,000 reviews, interviews and
other bits of excitement.) See you there!
� � � MUSIC
The Rapparees have this one Wrapped Up. "Sometimes change can be
jarring, especially on old familiar tunes. But at other times it
invigorates them, it entices new listeners and is a natural evolution
of the tune," Nicky Rossiter says.
"This album is a lively reminder of what folk music always must be, an
evolving tradition retaining the best and adding extra value with
innovation that attracts new listeners and performers."
Martha Tilston comes to you from an old London church on Real: Live at
the Union Chapel. "Martha Tilston is an English folk singer-songwriter
who may not have an instantly recognizable name, even though her
father Steve Tilston is a well-known singer songwriter and her
stepmother is Irish singer Maggie Boyle," Dave Townsend says.
"I wasn't familiar with Martha Tilston before I listened to this CD,
but after a few listens, I wanted to check out more of her music.
Combining a nice voice and good songwriting make this a very enjoyable
Pete Mroz finds a certain Detachment in his music. "If you took David
Gray and put him into a Mixmaster with one part James Taylor and one
part Harry Nilsson's voice, you might wind up with something like Pete
Mroz's 2008 albumDetachment. It's an unassuming soundtrack of
melancholy that, when it hits its sweet spot, is capable of delivering
some lovely moments and some damned good slow grooves," Jay Whelan says.
"What saves the CD from becoming a genuine slog is Mroz's voice, which
is, simply put, a thing of beauty."
The VW Boys go Retroactive with their bluegrass sound. "If not quite a
novelty album, Retrospective feels cheerfully eccentric, or at least
atypical, on multiple levels. Not the least is its open-throated,
extroverted singing and vocal harmonies," Jerome Clark says.
"What they lack in profundity, the VW Boys make up for in amiability
and accessibility. If you're looking for something out of the ordinary
in your bluegrass, Retroactive is certainly that."
The crew at Cumbancha has come together for Umalali: The Garifuna
Women's Project. "The singing of the Garifuna lies at the heart of
Umalali: The Garifuna Women's Project, but there is more to it than
that. There are the additional instruments and sounds that were added
to most tracks in the studio, giving this traditional music a new feel
with blues, rock and funk stylings and touches of African, Latin and
Caribbean sounds," Paul de Bruijn says.
"Produced by Ivan Duran, the album is the culmination of five years of
seeking and collecting songs, as well as finding the right female
voices to sing them. Songs were recorded in a seaside hut before the
final touches were added in a more professional studio setting."
� � � LIVE EVENTS
Tom Knapp will report next week on the LAUNCH music festival &
conference in Lancaster, Pa., but this week he features a single panel
event: LAUNCH: Can You Handle the Truth? "Here's the deal: Musicians
wanting feedback on their craft dropped CDs in a box. The sound guy
pulled them out, supposedly at random, and played the first minute of
the indicated track. Then the panel let loose, sometimes offering
words of encouragement, but more often giving it to those hopefuls in
the face with both barrels," he explains.
"Half the fun was watching the panelists' faces as they listened.
Wincing and spasms of aural pain mixed with half smiles and sometimes
even a bit of a chair dance if the melody clicked."
� � � MUSIC INTERVIEWS
Jason Mundok's Wood Stove podcast this week features Camela Widad
Kraemer, who details her journey from theater to songcraft.
� � � FICTION
J.E. Hopkins details a Lover's Betrayal within an extended vampire
"An author has delivered an excellent body of work when readers can
actually visualize and relate to the characters in their novel. J.E.
Hopkins achieved that inLover's Betrayal," Renee Harmon says.
"The novel is an exciting, descriptive, interesting story about the
highs and lows in the lives of vampires and misfits. The plot is
strong and certainly unpredictable."
Sandra Balzo is Running on Empty with this faltering mystery novel.
"This is supposed to be a mystery, a cozy to be sure, but still a
novel centered on the solution to a crime. What it's really about,
though, is cuteness. The characters talk cute, incessantly," frets
Michael Scott Cain.
"If a series of almost random digressions are what you look for in a
book, this is the one for you."
Holly Payne teaches a lesson in forgiveness in Kingdom of Simplicity.
"The focus here is Eli Yoder, a troubled boy in the Amish community
who is surrounded by sisters until an accident steals them away. His
efforts to forgive the person at fault -- as well as himself, for an
earlier transgression that, in many ways, defines his life -- are at
the heart of this story," Tom Knapp says.
"But Payne isn't simply writing about a young man's struggle to accept
his faith. She's telling a story of a culture that is at odds with
modern society, an anachronism, a novelty for curiosity-seeking
tourists. Her writing is fluid and eloquent, painting gentle pictures
of Eli's life and surroundings."
� � � GRAPHIC NOVELS
The Doom Patrol reboots, again, in We Who are About to Die.
"DC Comics' Doom Patrol has a checkered past. I have vague memories of
the team from my childhood. The group then, even to my youthful eyes,
seemed at odds with the bright colors and optimism of the DC Universe.
They were weird and uncomfortable. And, it turned out, quickly
forgotten. Oh, they appeared and disappeared on the comic-book shelves
with some regularity, but I couldn't be bothered to care," Tom Knapp
"I've never fully understood the concept behind the Doom Patrol. Why
are Robotman and Elasti-Woman considered 'too weird' for normal
society when other DC heroes, such as Plastic Man and Cyborg, interact
with society just fine? Eh."
Mary Harvey shares The Tale of One Bad Rat.
"Master storyteller and artist Bryan Talbot wrote The Tale of One Bad
Rat as a series of four books in 1988. It went on to win an Eisner and
the complete respect of every writer and artist connected with the
comics industry. It therefore comes highly recommended, and I can't
recommend it highly enough," she says.
"The Tale of One Bad Rat could have been depressing, but it's truly
one of the most uplifting stories I have read about such a traumatic
subject. Talbot interviewed survivors of sexual abuse in order to make
the story as accurate as possible. This research is what lends the
book its authenticity. Talbot gives a fictional voice to the complex
and heartrending problem of sexual abuse through literary allusion and
lushly illustrated artwork. The result is a well-thought out story,
imbued with realism and humanity."
� � � MUSIC LIBRARY
John Cherry touts his favorite Beatle in Paul McCartney's Solo Music
Career, 1970-2010: Life, Love & a Sense of Child-like Wonder.
"Cherry considers chronologically each McCartney album (with or
without Wings) from McCartney (1970) toElectric Arguments (2008). (He
deliberately omits the purely classical music ones, pleading
unfamiliarity with the genre.) He provides some background information
for the songwriting and the recording processes. He chats about guest
musicians and instrumentations. He occasionally talks about the
lyrics. He offers a bit of commentary on every song on every album,"
says Corinne H. Smith.
"It's admirable that John Cherry wants to share his passion, knowledge
and opinions about Paul McCartney's music with the rest of us. This
book is obviously one fan's labor of love, but it is hardly an 'in-
depth examination.' It's really only a beginning."
� � � MOVIES
Daniel Jolley takes a Backwoods view of this week's film.
"I didn't have high expectations for this movie. To my way of
thinking, the world already has more than enough B-horror movies
featuring a group of young people going out into the woods and being
attacked by a bunch of dirty, disgusting backwoods cretins. To make
matters worse, the characters in this film are all taking part in a
corporate team-building retreat, a practice I consider to be one of
the most infernal ideas mankind has ever come up with," he says.
"To my surprise, the film actually grew some legs somewhere in the
middle -- but not enough to really win me over. In the end, a complete
lack of originality consigns Backwoods to the ranks of the slightly
below average. Think Wrong Turn meets The Hills Have Eyes and you'll
pretty much have Backwoods all figured out."
You think we're done? Ha!! Come back for more next week.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]