Skip to content
Please enable your javascript to have a better view of the website. Click here to learn more about it.
single.php

Music of the Moment – May

I-heart-music

April 28, 2017 - 2:28 pm

Spring is in full swing in the PNW and the KBCS music staff have some listening picks that are perfect for our sometimes rainy, sometimes sunny May days. Give them a listen!

Naomi Wachira – Song of Lament (Doreli)

Song of Lament is the poignant, sometimes stark, often uplifting fourth album from Kenyan born singer-songwriter Naomi Wachira. Reminiscent of the sparse instrumentation and tough love lyrics of Tracy Chapman, Ms. Wachira wears this troubled world’s heart on her sleeve. She tells us that when she was ten her parent’s gave her a piece of advice while dropping her off at boarding school: “leave this place better than you found it.” A simple thing to say that can become complicated in practice and easily clichéd and convoluted in song. A guitar, a beautiful voice, and some lyrical courage is a great place to start from and also, if feeling lost, a place to return to. – Iaan Hughes, Afternoons

Bill Evans Trio – On a Monday Evening (Fantasy/Concord)

Among jazz heads, Bill Evans’ legend is well established: an introspective pianist, battling personal demons, known for his trance-like depth and lyrical, conversational trio approach. What is often overlooked is his driving, rhythmically varied period, which opened briefly during a healthy, happy time when he started a family in 1975. This well-recorded concert from 1976 with Eddie Gomez on bass and Eliot Zigmund on drums, captures an obviously joyful Evans. The opening number, an original tune called “Sugar Plum,” starts with a Tyner-like energy and tells you this is going to be an intense, energetic program with plenty of drive.  –Gordon Todd, Shape of Modern Jazz, Afternoons

Imelda May – Life. Love. Flesh. Blood. (Decca)

Leaving her rockabilly incarnation behind, Irish singer-songwriter Imelda May embraces roots rock, Americana, and blue-eyed soul with a natural authenticity that feels like she’s been doing it her entire career. This stylistic departure was sparked in part by her divorce from songwriting partner and guitarist Darrel Higham. And while many songs are dipped in pathos, there is light and playfulness that keep it buoyant. Producer T Bone Burnett adds touches of Phil Spector girl-group sounds, twangy reverb-laden guitar, and ‘60s soul drama, which tie it all together into a satisfying reflection of love lost and life renewed.  –Gordon Todd, Afternoons, Shape of Modern Jazz

Forró in the Dark – Sandcastle (Nacional)

The first album in 7 years from this collective of Brazilian ex-pats who now make their home in New York’s East Village does not disappoint. Sandcastle pulses with life far beyond what three guys should be able to deliver. The sound is thick and sultry, anchored by a pounding zabumba on the bottom end and given to dizzying flight from a preternaturally played pifano. Mix in a humming fuzzed out guitar and interlaced beats and whether you’re hanging out on a Brazilian beach, sitting on a stoop in front of a New York Brownstone, or huddled beneath a blanket in the Pacific Northwest this is the springtime music you’ve been waiting for. – Iaan Hughes, Afternoons

Old Crow Medicine Show – 50 Years of Blonde on Blonde (Columbia)

Could there be a better band than Old Crow Medicine Show to cover Bob Dylan’s 1966 masterwork mélange of country, blues, folk and rock? It’s the proto-Americana album covered by the premier Americana string band. OCMS capture the wild, careening energy of the original, but put their own alt-country spin on it. While they trace the outlines of the originals on some tunes, they bring fresh insights to others. Their driving beat on “Rainy Day Women” breaks down the barriers between Celtic, African and rock drumming. Their ballad arrangement of “One of Us Must Know” eschews Dylan’s arrogant kiss-off to reveal the beautiful sadness of the lyric. A peppy backbeat injects “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” with new life. It’s a wildly entertaining album that respects but doesn’t worship at the altar of Dylan. –Gordon Todd, Afternoons, Shape of Modern Jazz