Here is my Top Ten Plus 2016 Part One list for the months of January-March. Enjoy! New reviews return next week.
1. ‘Blackstar,’ David Bowie (ISO Records)
This Early January CD/LP/digital release shows that David Bowie was still evolving while recording his last new album. Several moments of music pleasure were provided by the final recording from one of music’s most creative chameleons. RIP, David Bowie!
2. ‘Get Up,’ Bryan Adams (Universal Music Enterprises)
This was released in late 2015. It was produced by Jeff Lynne, who also plays most instruments outside of vocalist Bryan’s rhythm guitar and Bryan’s main co-writer/ace guitarist Jim Vallance. Bryan Adams and power-pop fans will really dig this one.
3. ‘Soul Shadows,’ Paul Carrack (Carrack-UK)
Paul Carrack has been serving lately as keyboardist/singer on Clapton’s tours; but oldies fans will remember his voice on “How Long Has This Been Going On” by Ace and “Tempted” by Squeeze. He plays nearly all instruments here, but the album sounds like old-school soul music. Lovers of classic soul will enjoy this one.
4. ‘Renegade,’ Ronnie Dean Tinsley & The Dark Horse Rodeo (Independent Release)
This March 25 release is the first “solo” album from Tinsley, who is also the front man of Houston, Texas, metal band The Hectic. The Gram Parsons quote in the CD sleeve says it all: “It’s music. Either it’s good or it’s bad; either you like it or you don’t.”
Broad-minded outlaw country fans will relate.
5. A. ‘Places I’ve Been,’ Gold Heart (Mountain Fever Records)
Gold Heart is a Virginia-based family band who made the TTP awhile back, anchored by three sisters (Tori: mandolin/vocals, Shelby: fiddle/vocals and Jocey Gold: guitar/vocals). Jocey and Shelby write/co-write the original songs.
Family-harmony fans will find Gold Heart to be one of the best bands around.
B. ‘The Coast,’ Wood & Wire (Independent Release)
This band hails from Austin, Texas and recently added mandolinist Billy Bright to the trio of guitarist/lead vocalist Tony Kamel, bassist/singer Dom Fisher and banjo/singer Trevor Smith.
Their progressive-level musicianship will make this and future recordings by Wood & Wire desirable.
C. “No Town Like Coaltown,’ Coaltown Dixie (Independent Release)
The ladies in Coaltown Dixie come from Kentucky (3) and Georgia (1). They are Kris Bailey Preston: mandolin, lead/harmony vocals, Kalyn Bradford: guitar, lead/harmony vocals, Stephanie May Rose; bass, lead/harmony vocals and Melanie Turner: banjo, guitar and lead vocals. This is album number three. Coaltown Dixie is an entertaining band on the way up.
Ricky Flake, a former punk rocker and current music fan, lives in Biloxi. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org