by: Hobert Taylor
Gurf Morlix - Eatin' At Me - (Rootball Records)
Gurf Morlix was the producer/guitarist who helped codify Lucinda Williams sound on Sweet Old World and in 11 years touring with her. He also has extensively covered and championed the songs of Blaze Foley and worked with Mary Gauthier and Ray Wylie Hubbard. But his real genius may lie in his understated confessional blues drones and bittersweet homilies. His last outing," Gurf Morlix Finds The Present Tense", was an outstanding and unsettling glimpse into his persona's fragile emotional and psychic malaise. "Eatin' At Me" is about time, encroaching death, and memory. I was especially moved by "Orphan Tears", "50 Years", and the relentless yearning despite hopelessness contained in "Grab The Wheel". He paints vividly the rust belt upstate New York of his youth in ""Dirty Old Buffalo" and "Born In Lackawanna". "Blue Smoke", the CD's last song, shows another of Morlix's talents, casual cynicism.
Howlin Rain - Mansion Songs - (Easy Sound recording)
Hipster country folk/rock with tinges of the "Dead Flowers" Rolling Stones from Ethan Miller's band Howlin Rain. Despite the band's escape from the Rick Rubin machine, production values abound. With rich images and lots of catchy hooks strung together this is extremely radio friendly. "Big Red Moon" and the quirky gospel tune "Meet Me In The Wheat" are uptempo anthems. The quiet songs "Coliseum", and especially the wonderful "Restless" are dream whispers. "Ceiling Fan" is its own animal, surrealist list poetry name dropping but a lot of fun for a one time listen. No OPI.
January 27 is Mozart's birthday and two fine new releases can help us celbrate.
Mozart: Complete Violin Concertos - (Sinfonia Concertante)
Rachel Barton Pine has a new recording of the complete violin concertos. Joined by the Academy of St. Martin In The Fields orchestra conducted by Sir Neville Mariner, Pine proceeds through the collection with a passion and soulfulness that is far from academic.
Cosi Fan Flauti: Mozart for Flute and Orchestra - Robert Stallman, flute, with the Czech chamber Orchestra - (Bogner's Café)
A bit of a novelty, this recording contains the Concerto for Flute and Harp in C Major, K299, a piece often recorded by James Galway, but most strikingly there are two new transcriptions recreating works written for other instrumentation to the flute. Specifically the Sonata in D Major for Two Pianos and the transcription for flute of what are essentially violin concerti from the "Haffner" Serenade, the andante and the rondo.