SoundStage! Music Online Editor's Pick Archives
March/April 2000

Terry Evans - Walk That Walk
Telarc CD-83486, 2000

SnapShot! Rating:

Terry Evans' newest collection follows the successful recipe of its fine predecessors with their funkified brand of soul and blues, appearance on a label known for the sound quality of its releases, the production efforts of Joe Harley, even the guitar work of Ry Cooder. There are the bouncy, playful numbers, like the title track, as well as the more profound, self-reflective ones, like "The Story of My Life." Both are Evans originals, and it seems that he can't write a clunker, at least not to my ears. The sound on Walk That Walk is typical Telarc -- full-bodied, resolved, easy to listen to and good for demonstration. If you already have and admire other Evans efforts, most notably Blues for Thought and Puttin' It Down (which is Evans' finest release), this one won't disappoint you....Marc Mickelson

[NEW]Kim Lenz and the Jaguars - The One and Only
HighTone HCD 8108, 1999

SnapShot! Rating:

The '50s are beginning the celebration of their 50th birthday, but this means nothing to Kim Lenz, whose fiery red hair only enhances her bad-girl persona. Think Mamie Van Doren with a guitar and you're there on the surface, but Lenz and the Jaguars go much deeper than imitation, making music that's authentic and fresh, the trademark of any significant revival music these days. "Dancin' Me to Death and "You've Met Your Match" are clever, and roots pianist extraordinaire Carl Sonny Leyland is essential to the swinging nature of "Howl at the Moon" and others....Marc Mickelson

Sean Costello - Cuttin' In
Landslide LDCD 1025, 2000

SnapShot! Rating:

Sean Costello is yet another young guitarist who's got the blues, although at 20, he's something of an elder spokesman in these days of teenage bluesmen. He's not of the guitar-pyrotechnics-above-all school, preferring to craft intricate songs that are flavored with the blues but never use staid song structures or chord progressions to give his work some semblance of soul. Costello's songs go somewhere between their beginnings and endings, and this more than anything has made Cuttin' In the CD I've listened to more than any other this year. The covers are terrific and run the gamut from Willie Dixon to Sonny Boy Williamson, but Costello's originals, especially the frenetic "Who's Been Cheatin' Who," round out the collection, never letting it develop a tendency (or fall into a rut) of any kind. Costello is a very able guitarist, but I admire his restraint and willingness to let Paul Linden on piano and harmonica as well as Neal Wauchope on organ take the instrumental spotlight. Cuttin' In is all the better for it. The sound of this recording is not great, displaying a thinness that audiophiles abhor, but I defy you to hear "Goombay Rock" and not want to dance -- or own this fine collection of blues music....Marc Mickelson

[NEW]Chuck Prophet - The Hurting Business
HighTone HCD 8113, 2000

SnapShot! Rating:

It's not exactly flattering to have your music compared to that of someone else, but it's probably the best way I can convey what Chuck Prophet's CD The Hurting Business is about. Think Tom Petty -- his ability to write memorable and non-formulaic pop. Prophet's songs are rich with imagery and melodic hooks. They're reserved, almost self-effacing, but very hip too. Prophet refers to "Rise" as "a trip from San Francisco to San Antonio in less than three minutes," and it's this kind of energy that infuses all of The Hurting Business. If there's a weakness here, however, it's not in the melodies or song structures. Prophet's lyrics can waver into the easy line that adds little or nothing but fulfills the rhyme scheme. But The Hurting Business has grown on me -- song by song, most of which which I can hear rattling around in my head. And I can't say anything better about it than that....Marc Mickelson

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