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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Jami Lunde

Big Black Birds

Review by Gary Hill

This is a strong, but not overly original album. Nothing here is very unique, in that we’ve heard this kind of folk meets rock and blues and country with a female singer thing over and over again. Lunde’s version is good, though. In fact, it’s strong enough to land this album near the top of the output from these kind of artists.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Anita

A tasty folk rock arrangement serves as the backdrop as Lunde provides her vocals. A little later it powers out to a more country based arrangement.

Ghosts
Harder rocking at the onset, this combines a singer/songwriter style with country and other musical elements into a track that’s more alternative rock or modern pop in tone.
Some Place Tonight
Feeling quite country as it enters, gentle waves of sound create a rather AOR sort of gliding element here. It has a real classic rock texture to it in a lot of ways. It works out to almost modern progressive rock sounds as it shifts to an atmospheric styling. Some tasty mellow guitar soloing comes across the top later. It drifts out nearly to jazz before it ends.
Big Black Birds
The title track comes in with a great folk rock sound. While this doesn’t move far, it’s a good tune that’s quite effective.
Time Will Tell
A slow moving, hard rock sound combines country music with something close to Mazzy Star. It’s a tasty cut that works really well. It’s definitely one of my favorites of the set.
A Little Bit Blue
While there is still some country music in the mix and some blues (appropriately), overall this is a modern pop rock sound. It’s another effective disc on a set that’s full of them.
All Over Me
This powerful piece of music includes some of the coolest guitar work and best vocal performances. It’s a real rocker that soars at times and is one of the highlights of the set.
Knee Deep In L.A.
A harder rocker, there’s some definite blues to be heard here. It’s another good tune, but perhaps a bit too samey by this point. That said, I like the guitar soloing near the end a lot.
Cobwebs
An acoustic guitar based number, this is very folk like. It’s definitely a sedate ballad. It should be noted that there’s an “f-bomb” dropped here, so parents beware.
Rain Cloud
Percussion brings this in, then a hard edged rocking sound emerges. This is a dramatic and powerful tune that’s one of the highlights of the set. It’s dramatic and quite bluesy at times. The guitar soloing here is quite classy. Everything about this works really well, right down to the noisy chaos later in the piece.
My Tupelo
Hard rocking modes bring this one in and it’s more of a catchy rocker. There’s some killer guitar soloing presented here, but otherwise it’s not one of the strongest cuts on show. It still manages a reasonably good job at closing the set in style.
 
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