Eric Sorensen's JANGLE ON for October 2009!!!
By Eric Sorensen, written exclusively for NOT LAME
I wanted to share a few “discoveries” with fellow jangleholics before I head north to relax and enjoy the Hudson River Valley, Maine and Vermont fall foliage. We’ll be taking plenty of CDs along for this autumn road trip. Before I discuss the latest in jangly discs and songs, top billing this month goes to the Roger McGuinn LIVE AT THE BASEMENT DVD released by ABC Entertainment. This DVD, which includes fourteen songs interspersed with Roger’s commentary, is available from numerous online sources for less than $15. McGuinn alternates between his signature Rickenbacker 12-string electric guitar and his signature Martin 12-string acoustic guitar on the featured songs. The DVD concludes on a very strong note – with McGuinn performing “John Reilly” and “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” on his Rickenbacker 370RM. This DVD is a MUST for any McGuinn or Byrds fan!
And now, the best of the rest:
The Tabasco Flowers-UNREST
As the liner notes explain, all songs are written, arranged and performed by Gregory A. Latinette … who is the sole member of the Tabasco Flowers. Latinette is pictured playing a Rickenbacker 12-string guitar in the jewel case insert so it should come as now surprise that this disc is overflowing with jangly, chiming tracks. “Easy Time,” “My Affirmation,” “Spark In Bethany,” “I Am Near” and “Should Never Come The Day” are the standout tunes. Latinette’s nasal vocals remind me of the Dashboard Saviors and the Bodeans, and his Rickenbacker chops are reminiscent of the Flamin’ Groovies. Long may you run, Sir Gregory!
Speaking of the Flamin’ Groovies, Groovies alum Cyril Jordan and his new bandmates with Magic Christian have released their stellar sophomore effort – EVOLVER. This disc is overloaded with chiming, ringing songs: “All The Stars,” “In Your Arms,” “Run And Hide,” “Sha La La,” “Come And Go” and a lively cover version of the Beatles’ “Anytime At All.” The Rickenbacker 12-string sound is alive and kickin’ in the San Francisco area again thanks to Cyril Jordan and his new posse.
Mark Cronk - PLAYING KATCHUP
The chiming “She’s The Girl” takes “Song of the Month” honors this month … and it is representative of a terrific pop disc that jangles from start to finish. Other standout tunes include “I’ve Seen Your Face Before,” “How Many Times” and “Irene.” Bruce Brodeen compares Mark’s work to the Spongetones … but I also hear some similarities with AM radio hits by Gary Lewis and the Playboys … and similarities to one of the most unheralded indie pop bands of our time – the Retros. Note to self: remind Jeff Glenn to release that superb Retros album that is already recorded! Until that occurs, PLAYING KATCHUP will keep fans of cheery, toe-tappin’ pop music happy.
Jeff Larson - HEART OF THE VALLEY
Add this disc to one of indie pop’s most impressive resumes. The very talented Jeff Larson shines again with the usual supporting cast (America’s Gerry Beckley) and yet another assortment of cream-of-the-crop songs. The singing and instrumentation are always spot-on, and chiming guitars sublty enhance “Sudden Soldier” and “Minus Marci.” Jeff Larson has long been a member of my Pop All-Star Band; this disc is further evidence that he stands head-and-shoulders above many of his peers.
Maplewood - YETI BOOMBOX
This NYC-based band shows its affection for “canyon rock” once again. “Dust” and “Over The Hills And Down The Hollow” showcase the greatest amount of 12-string guitar and pedal steel guitar jangle’n’twang. For those too young to remember the Flying Burrito Brothers, Maplewood is the contemporary band that will definitely turn you on to the “canyon rock” genre of music.
While First In Space doesn’t fall into the jangle pop artist category, their new disc GERONIMO is top-notch pop/rock from start to finish, and the song “It’s All Gone To Hell” does feature some chiming lead guitar riffs. The band represents a crisp blend of the Gin Blossom, Miracle Legion and Better Than Ezra.
A country crossover pop tune that is achin’ to be played on mainstream radio is the very jangly “Amazing Love” from the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s latest disc – SPEED OF LIFE.
Although I haven’t heard the disc yet, the concept of A TRIBUTE TO RICH HOPKINS is quite appealing because it features the songs of Rich Hopkins – AKA the Godfather of Desert Rock. Rich was a founding member of Tucson’s legendary Sidewinders/Sand Rubies; he has released numerous discs on a solo basis or with the revolving members of the Luminarios; and he has produced many other groups in the southwestern music community. Rich is also a very unselfish artist who has contributed his efforts to homeless shelters and migrant worker causes. A TRIBUTE TO RICH HOPKINS is no different – all proceeds will go to the Greg Goode Scholarship Fund. You can order this disc from the www.sanjacintorecords.com website.
Last, but not least, I will mention that Maura Kennedy’s first solo album, PARADE OF ECHOES, will be officially released in January 2010. Fans don’t have to wait until next year to hear these terrific pop tunes – you can order the disc online from www.kennedysmusic.com. The same gorgeous voice, strong songwriting and textured guitars that the Kennedys (Pete and Maura) are known for are still here in abundance, but with a bit more edge and confidence. Catch the Kennedys in concert to enjoy the best of their collaborative and solo efforts.
For those who like to surf the net and view YouTube videos, check out Scaler Wave’s great renditions of the Byrds’ “Turn! Turn! Turn!” and “Eight Miles High.” The Rickenbacker 370RM riffs and the video’s vintage touches are quite impressive.
Until next time, jangle on!