Monday, May 5, 2008

Old voices

We have three new CDs from artists whose careers stretch back to the 1960's (in fact, they all appeared at the Woodstock Festival). They all blend a mixture of roots rock and old-time country music with fabulous lyrics.

John Fogerty's new album - Revival - hearkens back to his days as the lead singer for Creedance Clearwater Revival. The songs, all of which are written by Fogerty, often have a political or social message, his voice is as powerful as it was when he was fronting CCR, and his guitar playing is just begging the listener to crank up the volume.

Levon Helm takes a more bluegrass/country approach to music on his album Dirt Farmer. You can tell that these songs were heavily influenced by Helm's Arkansas upbringing. In fact, many of the tracks are traditional tunes that Helm has created new arrangements for, along with his daughter Amy and Larry Campbell. His guest appearance on Fresh Air was really interesting since he talked a lot about his background and the context of these old songs. A really nice album.

Neil Young has come up with a new album - Chrome Dreams II - that has received some really positive reviews. His country-rock songs are all sung in that trademark nasal whine and he has enlisted the help of some talented backup musicians. A couple of tracks on this album are very long (18 minutes for 'Ordinary People' and 14 minutes for 'No Hidden Path'), which fits in well with the experimental, 'radio playlist format be damned' attitude of the album. A good choice for people who love listening to musicians jam.

1 comment:

Gerard said...

I have my iTunes player on my laptop set to Shuffle and one of Fogerty's tunes Broken Down Cowboy is playing. It is a very good song, I'm going to turn shuffle off.