Album Reviews

Reviews of recent albums

Angaleena Presley - American Middle Class

The blue collar country baton is finally passed on A couple of years ago, I read an interview with a country trio called the Pistol Annies in Maverick magazine and was so smitten, I ordered their debut album that night. It’s been my go-to album ever since, whenever I need a slice of good ol' country music. Then, out of nowhere, I received an album by Ashley Monroe, who is/was part of that band. Her album looked like it was going to be my country album of the year… until now. Even if you didn’t know that American Middle Class was something of a concept album based around the...

Benmont Tench - You Should Be So Lucky

Here's a scenario for you. Picture this: One of the premier keyboard players of the past 40 years sits down with one of the greatest producers in the history of modern music. The keyboard player's got a raft of original songs he wants to record, and a raft of interesting friends -- Don Was, Gillian Welch, Ringo Starr, and Tom Petty among them -- who want to play too.  Oh hells yes. It's always fun when a dream scenario comes true. Benmont Tench has been the source of that consistently gorgeous keyboard work you hear when you're listening to Tom Petty...

Achilles Wheel - Stones to Sand

Recently, a friend casually asked what I was listening to. When I said I was putting together a review for Achilles Wheel's new album, Stones to Sand, his response was an immediate "Awesome! Those guys can play!" Since the friend in question is a pretty damned good guitarist himself, that felt like high praise. Of course, the praise is deserved. He was right: these guys can play. Achilles Wheel, a five-piece combo from Northern California, planted themselves firmly in the Bay Area local awareness with their 2012 appearance at the Kate Wolf Festival. Stones to Sand, their second album...

Altered Five Blues Band - Cryin’ Mercy

Milwaukee quintet Altered Five bust right out of the gate with explosive hard driving blue collar rockin’ blues on their third album Cryin’ Mercy. The album released in October of 2014 marks the band’s debut on Omni Vibe records, who were no doubt instrumental in pairing them with blues guru and Grammy winning producer Tom Hambridge. The result is an eleven song thrill ride of all new tunes of fresh straight ahead muscular blues mixed with vintage soul designed to showcase the mighty vocals of front man Jeff “JT” Taylor. Recorded at the Dream Factory in Milwaukee the sound jumps out of the...