Friday, May 23, 2014

CD Review: Indie-Artists Emerge From The American Northwest With New Music

From Portland, OR comes the latest album from Americana indie-band Sassparilla. The double-album entitled "Pasajero And Hullabaloo" follow the band's plan of releasing a new album a year. Songwriter Kevin Blackwell is overflowing with ideas as he breaks the two albums into different directions. T
he first album, "Pasajero" is a tight, concise piece of recording that fits in-line with their past two studio albums. The quick two-minute "Overture" has drums banging away, which leads to the steady beat of "Dark Star." The album showcases the band's diversity with the blues of "The One That Got Away" and the alternative rock of "Peaches" and "When You're The Devil."
 
The second album "Hullabaloo" was recorded at Blackwell's attic and showcases a raw, looser feel to the music. These songs were recorded in complete takes without any overdubs. The acoustic, sit-down approach works great on the bluesy feel of "Through The Fence." Sassparilla fall back on their roots for quick country pace of "We Are Bold" and the honky-tonk of "Folks Like Us." The album closes with the slithering rhythm of "The Devil" and the fun, sing-along chorus of "The Hoot Song."

 

 
Sassparilla will be touring along the west coast this summer. To find out more about their new double-album, please visit www.sassparilla.info.


Local Seattle singer/songwriter Star Anna is finally releasing her more laid-back acoustic/rock album "The Sky Is Falling." The album was recorded prior to the revenge-filled "Go To Hell," but was shelved due to the timing of the music that needed to be released and heard by the public and her fans. Star Anna is now revisiting that album, feeling that the songs were to good to let them sit. Even if the songs have very personable feel, following the break-up of her band, the passion she delivers in "Let's Not Kid Ourselves" and "Little Voices" have a strong delivery of emotions. Star Anna describes this as her "sober" album. She delivers gentle, welcoming tones with "Hymns We Sang" and "Killing Time," before closing with the exceptional folk-style songwriting of "Stranger Than Silhouettes."
 
Star Anna is heading out on the road, beginning on June 4th. To find out more about her new album "The Sky Is Falling," please visit staranna.com.
 
 
From the U.S. Northwest comes British-raised folk/Americana artist Ray Tarantino with his latest album "Good Things Will Happen," a tribute to the American Dream. Ray is no stranger to the road, having performed almost two thousand shows, so his latest batch of songs brings together that American spirit through his exceptional songwriting. Beginning with "Brand New Day," he sings with such a passion that makes you feel as if the songs connect to you directly. Tarantino finds the funk groove of "The Thing About You" and shows off his deep smooth vocals on the gentle sway of "Faith In Faith." He plugs in for the up-beat "What You Gonna Do" as he tells his stories of traveling across the U.S. His voice mirrors a young Dylan (Jakob Dylan) on the mystical feel of "Since You Found Your Way" and  "Silver Line" reflects the style of Paul Simon on his lyrical delivery. The album finishes with roots rock of "Who Do You Need Me To Be" and the laid back acoustics of "You're Still Free."
 
 
Ray Tarantino is currently on tour in the U.S. which runs until the end of August. To find out more, please visit raytarantino.com.
 
 
From Portland, OR comes the self-titled debut album from Hook & Anchor. The band consists of members of the of the folk/rock band Blind Pilot who were looking for another outlet to allow the songs that have been written by Pilot's leader Kati Claborn to be expressed. The band, Hook & Anchor came together by chance at a bluegrass festival in San Francisco last year and the fruits of their collaborations is the resulting new album. The twelve song release begins with the steady rock rhythm of "Famously Easy," before allowing their Americana roots to take hold of the music on "Wild Wind." The head straight-toward the Bluegrass sound of "Light Of The Moon" as the harmonizing within the band is undeniable. Their music gets dark on "No, It's Not" and carries that classic country appeal on "Hard Times," before closing with the gentle folk storytelling of "Fine Old Times."
 
 
To find out more about Hook & Anchor, please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/HookAndAnchorBand.

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