Reviewed by Harry Kaplan

The talent is undeniable on Passport. There is good and then there is clearly great. This falls in the latter category. It is evident that the playing, writing, and singing is a cut above the rest of the pack. Not just that, but the production and mixing are as close to perfect as it gets. These are things that are easy to overlook, but on Passport everything is mixed and produced so superbly, it turns all of the individual parts into a single entity. (more…)

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Reviewed by Harry Kaplan

This is the tenth studio album from those countrified fellas from north of the border in Canada. This is loosely classified as country music since The Sadies do some serious genre jumping on Northern Passages. At times, I hear The Byrds, The Smithereens, Husker Du, and Flying Burritos. But through it all, it is The Sadies that jumps in front and center. If you like your California style country, don’t get nervous. God Bless The Infidels (Track 7) has got you covered. A perfect melding of old time country with beautiful harmonies and some acid tinged guitars. (more…)

Reviewed by Harry Kaplan

High Impedance starts off with The Dark Don’t Hide It, which is a song written by the late Jason Molina and performed by Magnolia Electric Co. Well, they immediately piqued my curiosity. That is a tough song to do as a cover since it is highly stylized and Molina’s voice was so unique. Having said all that, they nailed it. The Wayward Hearts captured the essence of the song but amended it enough to play to their own sound. The fiddles and vocals are pristine and I can listen to this song as a stand alone and not compare it to the original. They get huge props for that.¬† (more…)

Reviewed by Harry Kaplan

There are pretty voices and there are gorgeous, heavenly voices. Valerie June falls into the latter category. Her voice makes me emotional. A combination of happy feelings, yet she taps into something that also makes me want to cry. Of course, I would never let myself cry. At least I won’t admit to it here in Twangri-La. OK, maybe it happened. I can neither confirm nor deny such actions. What I can confirm is that June’s voice is so powerful, that ts will evoke emotions inside that have laid dormant for a long time. Maybe emotions you didn’t even know existed. Listening to The Order of Time is a cathartic experience. (more…)

Reviewed by Harry Kaplan

OK, right off the bat this album gets ten stars for the fact that there is a cover of War Pigs by Black Sabbath on this album. Ruthie foster covers the heavy metal classic and transforms that song into a bluesy gospel number that is jaw droppingly good. Like Johnny Cash used to do, Foster takes this song and makes it her own. She makes this a stand alone song and not a cover tune any more. (more…)

Reviewed by Harry Kaplan

This is perfect music. A bit of nostalgia, but also current. This type of country music never went out of style, contrary to popular belief. It may have retracted some, but honky tonk has never stopped being made. To call this revival music is inaccurate because it has never ceased to be created. So in that fine tradition, here is Dale & Ray, from two country music icons, Dale Watson and Ray Benson. When I listen to this album, one thing comes to mind, chemistry. It is like these guys are brothers. They are so musically in tune with each other, it is uncanny. I get the feeling that they could finish each other’s guitar riffs. (more…)

Reviewed by Harry Kaplan

Not only is Marty Stuart the man with the best hair in country music, he is one incredible musician. Way Out West is proof of that. Although this album is a bit of a departure from Stuart’s traditional country roots, this album is absolutely brilliant. This is like a mix of traditional and psychedelic country. Plenty of open space and atmospheric musical highlights are the hallmark of Way Out West. It doesn’t hurt to have a legendary¬†guitar player in your band. That would be the great Kenny Vaughan, who is an absolute master on the guitar. Don’t get me wrong, Marty is no slouch on the ax either. He knows his way around a fretboard about as well as anyone. (more…)