Reviews and Commentary
Here are Lanny Fields’ picks for the best albums of the year. This year’s list is marked by the inclusion of several debut and one-off recordings from recently formed ensembles, as well as small-bands featuring just two or three members; although a few old favorites did once again make the cut. Also notable this time around is a turn toward the noisier, freer, more avant-garde side of the musical spectrum, alongside groups representing traditional Appalachian and Irish music.
NPR posted its list of the 50 Favorite Albums of 2013 earlier this week, which prompted me to come up with a list of my own. I didn’t do a whole lot of active searching for new music in 2013, instead I let it come to me. I don’t have 50 worth mentioning, but here are my 13 favorites from 2013. Some are from 2012 but I didn't hear them until this year!
Ballad singer and old-time musician Elizabeth LaPrelle is a shining star in a movement some are calling The New Young Fogies – twenty-somethings who play old Southern Appalachian music in its pre-bluegrass form, the way it sounded deep in the hills and hollers before radio and commercial recordings came about.
It’s rare to hear banjo in a straight-ahead jazz setting these days, which makes the new collaboration between banjoist Béla Fleck and jazz masters the Marcus Roberts Trio all the more interesting. What started as an impromptu jam session at the Savannah Music Festival in 2009 has turned into an hour long album entitled Across The Imaginary Divide, released June 10 on Rounder Records.
Three of the world’s most accomplished players of Irish traditional music - Martin Hayes (fiddle), John Doyle (guitar) and Kevin Crawford (flute/whistle) - will bring the “pure drop” to C'ville Coffee (1301 Harris St. Charlottesville, VA) on Tuesday, May 29th, 7:00 p.m. The trio performs under the name the Teetotallers.
I received a text message from Gene Ween. It said “Muddle up your mind”, which is a lyric from the song “A Man Alone” on his solo debut Marvelous Clouds, recently released on Partisan Records under his given name of Aaron Freeman. The text was a response to a message I had sent him a few days earlier with the word “Marvelous” – my one word review of the album. I’d like to think I’m special but it’s probably the same reply he sends to everyone. You see, Gene, I mean Aaron, has posted his cell number online (609-542-0751
I was having breakfast the other day at O’Bank’s Cafe and Grill when the friendly waiter/bartender asked, “Do you like jazz?” That sounded like a trick question*, so I hesitated by saying “Umm…,” when he followed up with, “Let me rephrase that. Do you like New Orleans jazz?” I answered with a resounding “Yes!” The reason he asked is because traditional New Orleans jazz band The Doctors of Jazz will be performing a jazz brunch at O’Bank’s this Sunday, May 6 fr
A weekly roundup of selected TV and radio programs, web content and local music events.