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7 May 2011

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  • Tom Knapp
    Hello!! 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
    Message 1 of 1 , May 6, 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."


      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.

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