Monday, May 17, 2010

Music for the rainy season

More selections from the WUMB list, courtesy of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

#88 Dave Alvin, West of the West: Songs from California Songwriters. Yep Roc Records (2006). All songs by California songwriters... “you’ve gotta get a gimmick,” I guess. But gimmicks aside, some of the songs are great. And who wouldn’t like a kind of folkish easy listening version of “Surfer Girl”?

#87 Carrie Newcomer, The Geography of Light. Rounder Records (2008). Nice voice; good guitar playing. And interesting lyrics. I am especially impressed with the ever-more-inventive ways that songwriters come up with ways to make romantic love seem deeply philosophical.

#85 Bill Morrissey, Standing Eight. Rounder Records (1989). This is the kind of singer-songwriter New England folk vibe I like (and thought I would get more of from WUMB listeners...maybe as I go farther up the list). I particularly enjoyed his "Party at the UN" which was a Tom-Lehreresque break from the usual laments about things that singer-songwriters lament: "Israelis with uqeleles form a dance band." That is a brilliant lyric.

#84 Loreena McKennitt, The Olive and the Cedar. A Mediterranean Odyssey . Quinlan Road Limited (2009). My first thought as the opening track began was “not my cup of mint tea.” But she has a beautiful voice and I could appreciate some of the eclectic blending of folkish music sung in English with Mediterranean rhythms and instruments.

#83 Brooks Williams, Little Lions. Signature Songs(2000). If you like instrumental guitar, enjoy.

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