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Fear Not The Obvious... (Bloodshot)
Like Swag (another semi-famous all-star band to release their first proper album this year), The Yayhoos have finally left their extended stay in compilation town to enter the full-release sweepstakes. Dare I say..... Yayhoo!!!!  Anyway, this group of Dixie-fried sludge-rock vets (Dan Baird from Georgia Satellites, production ace and former Del-Lord Eric Ambel, songwriter and solo dude Terry Anderson, and bassist Keith Christopher) have graciously offered a full plate of their delicious homemade Southern boogie/roots rock after years of side servings. Let me say this: the pudding is delicious! Full of the barn-burners and crunchy Berry licks we expected as well as many a catchy song. If only the Wilburys had this much fun - it sounds like it was recorded at a beer blast for chrissakes! Standouts include the opener 'What Are We Waiting For' and 'Oh! Chicago' and any of the Terry Anderson songs. Ambel gets a special mention for writing both the sweetest and most profane love song ever (Baby I Love You). Other critics may whine about the lack of a message but who cares? Other critics suck! This album rocks! Get it now. 
Bloodshot's Yayhoo page has links to tour and CD ordering.  Released Aug. '01.  Reviewed by Scott Homewood .

Pure Motive... (Deep Pearl)

Marisa Yeaman is a young Australian singer/songwriter, and after three EPs, this is her first full-length venture. With less than half of the disc's content employing her band, Pure Motive is a showcase of the artist as she initially earned her chops: a girl, her guitar, and her songs, hitting the festivals, clubs, and pubs across the expanse of Oz. Somewhere along the way she tagged up with guitarist and sometime co-writer, Andrew Pendlebury, who also lends occasional vocal enhancement to complement a voice that is predominantly gentle and melodious, at times almost torchy, as in “Lonely Puppet”. The duo generates a sound that is unique and complex in its apparent simplicity, but there's more depth here than initially meets the ear. Yeaman's not a rocker by any means, but, when she decides to cut it a bit loose, there's an edge surfacing that has the hallmark of, say, a Joni Mitchell, or, more precisely, Mary Chapin Carpenter, in her Shooting Straight in the Dark days; for that matter, “Vacant Sign” would fit right into that CD's groove in every sense. With lyrics the likes of reading: “Some things in life can be easily defined; but love and danger draw a thin line”, she has that essential ability to present a concept or feeling in the most precise package possible, saying, to paraphrase an old quote, ‘the mostest, with the leastest'. Now that's the hallmark of good songwriting.

Her site. Order from CD Baby. Released Oct. '05. Reviewed by Don Grant.

Okay, Dwight went into the studio and re-recorded 25 of his songs with just he and his guitar.  No new songs (a few interesting covers might have been nice), no CD booklet with cute pictures of him peering out from under his cowboy hat. Reprise could've been smart and sold the thing for only ten dollars or something but no. So,what's the point!  What could've been a great opportunity is just a barely-interesting rip-off. For hard-core Dwight fans only. 
He has a site, that's okay, don't bother going to the "title" site... Order from Amazon. Released June, 2000, reviewed by Bill Frater.

A Long Way Home...(Reprise)
Dwight has been living amongst the "beautiful yet gullible" women of LA for many years now, yet somehow he still seems to get his heart hurt. At least that's what I assume. Where else could he get the inspiration for another great collection of honest and humble, sad country songs. After releasing 2 forgettable CD's last year, one a collection of cover songs, and an Xmas album, Dwight and Pete Anderson have aimed their finely tuned machine at an all-original CD. Pete has gotten so good at producing Yoakam, that it's almost scary, the acoustic guitar sound just shimmers. Yet somehow, it's not too slick or contrived. The fire still burns in these guy's souls and they can rock too! I can't find anything to fault this CD. I have liked Yoakam from the beginning and I like this one too.
If you like any of Yoakam's earlier stuff, then you're gonna love this one too.   Best Songs: Same Fool, Things Change, Only Want You More, I'll Just Take These, Traveler's Lantern.His labels site, Reprise Records has a bio. Order from Amazon. Released June, '98. Reviewed by Bill Frater.

Tomorrow's Sounds Today... (Reprise)
This is one of the best things Dwight Yoakum has done lately. It's mostly straight-ahead country shuffles and Rockabilly-Honky Tonk but something makes it feel more authentic this time around. Could be the pedal steel guitar of Gary Morse that's featured prominently or the simple fact that his band is so damned tight including Pete Anderson, who has been there with  lead guitar and immaculate production from the start. Highlights include an excellent remake of Cheap Trick's "I Want You To Want Me" and three songs featuring Buck Owens. No real surprises here, just excellent country music from one of the best.
Dwight's official site.Order from Amazon Released October, 2000, reviewed by Bill Frater.

Dwight Sings Buck ... (New West)
For anyone who is unfamiliar with the work of the late Bakersfield legend, there's no better place to get acquainted than here. For Buck Owens aficionados, this one is a delightful romp through his library. While some might quibble about tunes left out, Dwight's getting no static here. He's done a damn fine job on his reprise of fifteen of the old master's songs, from the opener, “My Heart Skips A Beat”, through to the closing “Together Again”. One problem with an advance release that occasionally surfaces is a lack of background info, such as credits, forcing the dutiful scribe to do some research. In this instance, a tip of the Stetson is afforded to Eddie “Scarlito” Perez, whose vocals are a perfect fit with Yoakum's unmistakable pipes, and his electric guitar provides that authentic Bakersfield version of honk. A number of the songs hover in the three minute range in duration, but that's the way it was in Owens' heyday when radio programmers had a less than complimentary opinion of our collective attention span. Yoakum's versions are faithful to the originals, and there's lots of them.
Visit Order from Amazon. Released Oct. '07, reviewed by Don Grant

Town by Town... (Frog Pad)
If New Grass Revival had a one night stand with the Grateful Dead their love-child would be the Yonder Mt. String Band. And as one might expect from such a union there's plenty of fresh attitude informing their bluegrass-based music. Even if the songs aren't that great and the singing not terribly strong, you somehow forgive all that hearing how competent they are as instrumentalists, how they are so deeply invested in pushing the boundaries of bluegrass, and how much flat-out fun they seem to be having. As producer, Tim O'Brien coaxes some fine performances from the band and shapes a very satisfying acoustic sound. He even joins in the fun on fiddle and bouzouki for a few numbers. The band is wildly, even surprisingly, popular. Surprising because while they are a good band, they are not a great band. Not yet anyway. But as this CD so amply suggests, greatness may well be where they're headed.  
Yonder Mountain's site. Reviewed by Kevin Russell.

Plow to the End of the Row... (Addibelle Music)
Who is Adrienne Young? No, I’m not kidding, who is she? Where’d she come from? How come we haven’t heard from her before? And what the heck kind of record is this anyway?! Is it old-time music or simply some of the best modern folk music being written? She plow’s the same ground as Gillian Welch but in a more memorable melodic way. Some might think this record is too schizophrenic: a hard driving banjo-informed folk-pop tune is followed by an old time classic, is followed by some of the best confessional singer-songwriter material this side of Michelle Shocked. Then it starts all over again. Well, I really appreciate that kind of eclectic approach and all of it delivered by an extremely competent back up band that wraps around her gorgeous believable vocals. This is a really fine, fun record and Adrienne Young is an artist to watch. Order from CD Baby Released Sept. 2003.  Reviewed by Kevin Russell.

The Art Of Virtue (Addiebelle Music)

There are times when I do believe that bluegrass music was invented specifically to showcase the range and beauty of the female voice, and Adrienne Young is a good case in point. Her debut, Plow To The End Of The Row, was underrated, and I'll be damned if I'll make that mistake here. This one is Plow's equal, if not better. Again backed by the superb musicians of Little Sadie, Young has assembled an hour's worth of some of the most pleasing sounding bluegrass tunes extant today, a judicious combination of her own songs, some that she co-wrote, and a few from other sources. Standouts include “Hills & Hollers”, “My Love Will Keep”, “Rastus Russell”, and “Wedding Ring”, with its Cajun inspired fiddle, from the fifteen tracks contained. (There's a bonus track available from her website, but you'll have to buy the disc to get the goods, 'cause I ain't gonna spill the beans for you) One thing about Young, she gives you your money's worth: the music is great, there's more of it than on a lot of other releases, and, she always seems to include some extra goodies; last time around it was wildflower seeds, which I didn't get, by the way, but I hear they sprouted real nice. Let this one sprout in your ears; you won't regret it.

Young's web site. Order from Amazon. Released June, '05. Reviewed by Don Grant.

Live At Massey Hall 1971... (Reprise)
The voice is a marvellous instrument. When I listen to someone sing, I'm hearing one of two things, the beauty of their voice or the beauty of their soul. In the latter case, it's the soul that is singing through, and that's what I hear when I listen to Neil Young on this record, a show captured live in 1971 at Toronto's Massey Hall. The sound is clear, resonant, and above all intimate. Young speaks with the audience with the immediacy of being at home in a living room. This is an artist who has rewarded those who've accompanied him on his journey, a unique character who has travelled across borderlines, combined social commentaries with a sackful of personal songs, one who has survived, been true to his heart. In Massey Hall thirty-six years ago, armed with only a guitar and a few piano chords, Neil brought the house down.
Neil's site has a whole seperate Living With War section. Order from Amazon. Released March, '07. Reviewed by Doug Lang.

Kitty Kitty Growl... (Golly Gee)
Get your strapless sunsuit on, this CD takes you directly to the retro zone. Dulcie Younger is a young musician based in LA who caught the rockabilly bug and is taking it on the road. Backed by the twin guitars of Deke Dickerson, this debut has enough hiccupin', hip shakin' and finger snappin' to keep any party movin', especially if you are a fan of Marti Brom or Josie Kreuzer. "Bumble Bee Sting", "You Cry Wolf" and "Smokin' Gun" are my choice for the strongest songs but I've been enjoying this CD and I look forward to seeing Younger find and feel even more solid in her music.
Dulcie's site, Golly Gee's site has CD ordering. or order from amazon. Released Feb. '04, reviewed by Kay Clements.

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