Gary P. Nunn – Totally Guacamole (1993)

NICK DERISO: Man, this is something else. Adamantly not Nashville, for one. (Which is still saying a lot.) Adamantly retro. (Not as unique, but still just fine.) And completely Gary P. Nunn — one of a series of former Jerry Jeff Walker sidemen to step out into their own spotlight. “Totally Guacamole” works as a microcosm for Nunn’s outlaw image,Read More

Something Else! Featured Artist: The Platters

NICK DERISO: Though ever-changing subsequent lineups weakened the Platters’ considerable impact, the fact is — they still matter. The first rock band to have a Top 10 album, these 1990 inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame appeared in the initial motion picture based around this then-new music, “Rock Around the Clock.” The Platters perform “Only You (andRead More

One Track Mind: Scorch Trio – "Kjøle Høle" (2004)

by S. Victor Aaron When talking about notable adventurous jazz of any sort that’s being made these days, it’s hard not to mention the Scandinavians. You’ve got your Esborn Svennson Trio (EST), Jaga Jazzist, Bugge Wesseltoft, Nils Petter Molvær, and even old stalwarts like Terje Rypdal and Jan Garbarek who remain vital to the scene. A few years ago, oneRead More

Elton John – One Night Only: The Greatest Hits (2000)

NICK DERISO: As pleasant as this compilation of songs from an October 2000 concert by Elton John may be, yeah, there are problems. The truth is, early 1970s records like “Tumbleweed Connection” (a studio release with no – no! – hit singles) and the rollicking “11-17-70” (a live trio album with cover – cover! – songs) are so much betterRead More

Robben Ford – Truth (2007)

A diverse musician like guitar wizard Robben Ford is capable of competently cranking out just about any kind of record he wants to. Rock, blues, jazz, r&b or folk, Ford’s done it all, whether he’s playing for his own records or for the likes of Joni Mitchell, George Harrison or Miles Davis. We touched on Robben’s wide ranging talent lastRead More

Terence Blanchard – The Malcolm X Jazz Suite (1992)

NICK DERISO: The task here was turning sweeping orchestral themes from trumpeter Terence Blanchard’s score for Spike Lee’s epic bio into a piece that not only holds together — but also comes across like a true jazz recording. Blanchard’s effort is a triumph, something memorably better than the original film’s music in its dedication to searing emotion then subtle meloncholyRead More

Guilty pleasures: Goo Goo Dolls – Dizzy Up the Girl (1998)

NICK DERISO: There are funny stories from when the Goo Goo Dolls were nobody. These tales were, before “Dizzy Up the Girl” made them matter, just about the only thing that might help you forget that dumb band name. Almost. The band will talk about the time in Raleigh, N.C. After driving for 18 hours, GGD — not yet theRead More

Bryan Lee – Katrina Was Her Name (2007)

Guys like Tab Benoit and Kenny Neal are testament that the blues are still alive and kickin’ in South Louisiana. But when it comes to making the blues come alive in the bayou country, those guys have their match in a sixty-two year old blind white guy from Wisconsin. That guy with the tall black hat, Wayfarers and gray chinRead More

Freddie Krc and the Shakin' Apostles – Paisley Prairefire (2000)

by Nick DeRiso Freddie “Steady” Krc’s work as leader of the Shakin’ Apostles is as crunchy and cool as his old boss Jerry Jeff Walker’s contemporary stuff is serene and settled. The group had gone through several lineup changes since its inception in 1993, but by 2000 settled into a format of hard-rocking guitar, bass and drums to back Krc’sRead More

Snooks Eaglin – New Orleans Street Singer (1959)

by Nick DeRiso A truly special, even virtuoso, street-level discovery, Snooks Eaglin burst onto the musical landscape with this nearly uncatagorizable debut. The in-joke around New Orleans was that he was presented as a “folk” musician, when in actuality the then-22-year-old Eaglin had already been playing in electric blues and R&B bands for a decade. In fact, he’d gotten hisRead More