ZAC BROWN BAND
ZAC Brown has never been one to play by the Nashville rules and Uncaged proudly proves his modus operandi hasn’t been tampered with on his third major label offering. The last album featured Alan Jackson on a track, but this time Zac casts his broad net further, pulling in Trombone Shorty and Amos Lee for guest spots on a couple of soulful numbers. Lee’s vocal complements Brown’s on Day That I Die, while Shorty’s horn enhances the Marvin Gaye-inspired sexy and funky Overnight. The unlikelylik l fifirstt singlei l ThThe Wind is a tasteful hoedown with a Charlie Daniels Band fervour that you can polka to (and a video directed by Mike Judge). Uncaged is old school ’70s country rock celebrating dreaming without boundaries. The only weak moments are when Brown continues to visit the islands with Jump Right In and Island Song.
Fiddles and Dobros, Hammond organs and pedal steels and even Latin percussion join in with the usual musical suspects. As on previous ZBB discs, the musicianship is flawless, the vocals (including the harmonies) exquisite and Keith Stegall’s production is something Goldilocks would be ecstatic about.
The Zac Brown Band has done it yet again. STACKING up 16 of your own compositions that were done in a hectic two-month span following the breakup of a longterm relationship was a huge gamble for Israeli tech-house producer Guy Gerber. While Ricardo Villalobos, Omar-S and Shackleton have all done mixes for London nightclub Fabric, with their own tracks, Gerber’s emotive, introspective and sometimes revealing collection is far and away the best of the bunch.
Rather than digitally stitch together other artists into a cohesive arch for his mix, Gerber finds solace in his own apprehensions, emotions, fears and desires. There is an understated softness and vulnerability to the tracks that offer a snapshot into the producer’s life at that time.
Although the songs were created in a condensed time period, they don’t feel rushed; rather they have a common thread of meticulously crafted melodies, whisper soft vocals, crisp drum patterns and drowsy bass lines that pulls the concept of the album together.
Easily one of the best releases of the year so far and a real standout among Fabric’s longrunning series. KERI Latimer doesn’t stray far from her comfort zone on her impressive solo debut, but expands her musical palette to include a roster of guest stars that help make this 10-track effort anything but grey.
Latimer, co-frontwoman of local Juno Award-winning roots outfit Nathan, recorded Crowsfeet and Greyskull (the nicknames she and her husband call each other) in her kitchen with a variety of artists stopping by for guest appearances, giving the album its own distinct vibe filled with folkpop, roots and alt-country gems that will have you dancing one mind and swaying the next. ELECTRONIC music, for many casual music fans, can be heard as overly stiff, digital and lacking human warmth, but Edmonton quintet Shout Out Out Out Out digitizes playfully and with purpose. Perhaps this happens because many of the band members have their roots in punk music, and that usually means they don’t want to toe some kind of industry-designated line.
British cold-rock pioneer Brian Eno once said his ambient electronic music was a perfect soundtrack for doing the vacuuming. In the case of Spanish Moss it holds true. There are even elevating tunes here, if you can argue that a subtle change in time clock drum beats can alter your mood. It works on so many levels, but mainly it is listenable and most importantly for any kind of music, it’s not boring. Dark, trancey or danceable — it’s all here.
A must for fans of the genre.
is a rootsy shuffle with a funky bass line and multi-tracked vocals. Here Comes Ted is a mellow bluegrass-inspired number with some plucky mandolin courtesy of Keith McLeod. The haunting trumpet intro of Bloomington leads into another gentle song filled with pizzicato violin work.
Fans of Latimer’s songwriting and distinctive voice as part of Nathan will also find plenty to like in the grooves of these Crowsfeet. ENGLISH-BORN Frederick Delius is still barely noticed on this side of the Atlantic, even with 2012 being the 150th anniversary of his birth. Delius was a cosmopolitan, an unclassifiable original and genuinely great composer championed by legendary conductor Sir Thomas Beecham, who recorded Delius’s music prolifically.
A Mass of Life was premiered by Beecham in 1909 and notwithstanding a share of inflated writing in its approximately two-hour duration, comes across as an extraordinary work that should convert many to Delius’s world. The texts are drawn from the more poetic passages of Nietzsche’s Also Sprach Zarathustra. The music contains many moments of vivid, sensuous and moving happenings, both as underpinnings and self-contained scenes. Delius was always at one with Nietzsche’s dictum that without music life would be a mistake, and it’s easy to concur here.
The performance is outstanding, with baritone Alan Opie most eloquent as the philosopher, a wonderful chorus and massive orchestra beautifully captured in the recording. ½