This post-Independence Day column features reviews of two releases from All-American singer/songwriters (one new, one that has been around quite a while).
These are sandwiched around an Isle Of Wight concert from the 2004 version of an iconic British band. Enjoy!
‘Lost + Found,’ Hugh Masterson (Rock Ridge Music, ☆☆☆☆1/2)
This June 2 CD/EP is likely available in other formats. It features singer/guitarist/songwriter Masterson, along with lead guitarist Quinn Scharber, bassist Nicholas Ziemann, keyboardist Bradley Kruse, drummer Justin Krol and inventive pedal steel player Jon Graboff, along with various others.
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My favorite tunes illustrate a variety of sonic approaches: the stop-start, harmonica and harmony-driven “Everything To Me,” the more up-tempo “Bigger Man,” the Rolling Stones-country flavored “Show On The Road” and the beautifully layered “Leaving.”
American music fans who favor classic-country influences will enjoy these songs.
‘Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival 2004,’ The Who (Eagle Rock Entertainment, ☆☆☆☆)
This June 2 DVD-two CD, Blu-Ray-two CD and/or digital release finds The Who returning to the scene of an ultimate triumph: The Isle Of Wight Festival, where the original four-piece played a power-packed 1970 concert.
Original drummer Keith Moon was long gone by 2004, and this show was part of the first tour without the late original bassist/vocalist John Entwhistle.
The expanded band features Roger Daltrey on vocals, Pete Townshend on guitar and vocals, Simon Townshend (Pete’s brother) on guitar and vocals, Pino Palladino on bass, Zak Starkey (Ringo’s son who met and was possibly coached by Uncle Keith as a youth) on drums and John “Rabbit” Bundrick on keyboards.
“Can’t Explain,” with Rabbit’s organ riding over the top, shows the different flavor of this Who line-up. Other favorites include a jamming “Anyway Anyhow Anywhere,” three songs from “Who’s Next” (“Behind Blue Eyes,” “Bargain,” and a keyboardy “Baba O’Riley”), powerful takes on “5:15” and “Love Reign O’er Me,” a mostly-unplugged “Drowned,” and back-to-back “Tommy” medleys which were slightly reminiscent of the older show. This package is great for Who fans and those curious about the new line-up.
‘Sad Clowns & Hillbillies (five-song sampler),’ John Mellencamp featuring Carlene Carter (Republic Records,☆☆☆☆)
The full album by the same name was released in April, but unfortunately, I forgot about this sampler until now. On first listen, I wished for more Carlene lead vocals but the interesting instrumentation of “Mobile Blue” (violin and organ) and my overall favorite “Indigo Sunset” (Carlene/John lead vocals trade-offs and cool harmonies) make me want the whole album. I also dug “My Soul’s Got Wings,” which features alternating lead vocals and harmonies.
The album will be popular with Mellencamp, Carter and American music fans.
Ricky Flake, a former punk rocker and current music fan, lives in Biloxi. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org