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Non-Prog CD Reviews

JD & The Straight Shot

Ballyhoo!

Review by Gary Hill

All that's old is new again. I suppose that's as good a way as any to explain the modern fascination with roots music. Perhaps it's a response to the tech overload of the world today. Whatever the reasoning behind it, though, there is a real movement toward roots music. This set lives within that movement. It's a solid disc. Personally the title track leaves me a bit less than impressed, but the rest of the album is quite strong.
 
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Empty

Old school down home blues opens the set. There is some great acoustic slide guitar here. This really feels like the kind of music that Robert Johnson did, but the vocals are lower in pitch. It gets some more modern folk rock elements built into the chorus, though. I love the magic that the female vocals bring. There is a definite alternative meets roots vibe at times. here.

Better Find a Church
This one has a lighter, more modern vibe. Still, it's definitely roots based. The cooperation between the male and female vocals is great. There are some definite jazz and world music elements at play here.
Under That Hood
The same roots concept is driving this number. It's more pure roots, though. It also lands more in the vicinity of blues. This is an anti-Klan type cut.
Perdition
Blues and country merge here. This is an acoustic based roots number that's classy. It's not a huge change, but just solid music.
Glide
This energetic number combines folk music and bluegrass. It's definitely classy stuff, and a bit of variety. I really like this a lot. It just gels and grooves so well. It feels like something that would have been well at home in the 1960s.
Nature's Way
Here we get a roots based re-telling of the classic Spirit song. I really like this version of the piece. In fact, I think I like it even better than the original recording. It works so well like this.
Don't Waste My Time
Slow, mellow and stripped back, this is another strong tune. Around the half way point it gets more instruments added. At the same time it intensifies and gets energy infused. It doesn't fade the magic, though. It drops back after a time to the earlier, more sedate, segment to move the piece forward.
Ballyhoo
The title track is a bit strange. It's sort of like something that Captain Beefheart might have done. It has its charms, but I'm not crazy about the tune, really. I do like the violin (or should I say "fiddle") on the instrumental break.
Hard to Find
Down home and stripped back, this really feels retro. It's also a great tune. I'd consider it one of the best here, really.
Here He Comes
Energetic, this is very much a folk and bluegrass melding.
I'll See You Again
Particularly slow and mellow, this is also particularly poignant. It's a great way to end the set, too.
 
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