Disco-flavored music with very few non-electronic instruments is extremely popular these days.
It’s probably part of my aging process, but there seems to be a lot of it around now. Thankfully, these three new recordings aren’t from participating artists.
‘In An Empty House,’ Diego Davidenko (Independent Release, ☆☆☆)
This quiet, somewhat introspective June 2 release is the second album for Diego Davidenko, who will be touring venues from April through May before it debuts. He sings and plays guitar, and is joined by singer Carlie Mari, keyboardist Ezequiel Dobrovsky and lap steel guitarist Steve Stout.
My favorite tunes include the longing waltz “Blue Tears, Bloodshot Eyes,” the jaded-sounding “For The Folksingers,” the tearful “Don’t Go,” the snarky “See You Crash” and the sorta-mournful “Not Today (Nina’s Song).”
This release is witty at times, though overly mellow for yours truly.
‘Bad Old World,’ Honey West (Readout Records,☆☆☆1/2)
This May 19 release doesn’t come from the sexy secret agent of 1960s TV, but from a new NYC band helmed by an “odd couple” songwriting team: Foreigner/King Crimson co-founder Ian McDonald and Shakespearean actor Ted Zurkowski from Actor’s Studio. Ted sings lead and plays guitar, Ian plays multiple instruments, including guitars, piano, percussion, celeste, flutes, organ and more. Bassists Graham Maby, Maxwell McDonald, Lincoln Schleifer and drummers Steve Holley and Denny McDermott are part of the supporting cast.
Favorite tunes include the darkly humorous “Dementia” (featuring Ian’s “Bang A Gong” baritone sax), the super-melodic “Brand New Car,” the determined “She’s Not Your Life,” and “Old Man,” which sounds like a Badfinger album cut.
This album is an adept, tuneful new slice of life.
‘Tug Of War,’ Gina Sicilia (Blue Elan Records,☆☆☆☆)
This 11-song June 2 release is Gina Sicilia’s debut for Blue Elan Records, but she’s been recording since her 2007 debut (“Allow Me To Confess”) and performing live since singing in jams at age 19.
She’s supported by co-producer/multi-instrumentalist Dave Darling, bassist Ken Pendergast, drummer Scott Key, keyboardist Walter Runge and others on selected songs. Despite Gina’s blues background, these tunes often don’t follow basic blues patterns.
My favorites include the defiant “I’ll Stand Up,” three cover songs (Harlan Howard’s “He Called Me Baby,” Bert Berns’ “Tell Him” and a slowed-down version of The Beatles’ “All My Loving”), the ultra-catchy “Don’t Want To Be In Love,” the classic R&B of “He Called Me Baby” and the up-tempo “Abandoned.”
Blues/Americana fans will enjoy this recording.
Ricky Flake, a former punk rocker and current music fan, lives in Biloxi. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.