ZAC BROWN BAND

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT -

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

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