Friday, March 19, 2010

Amy Cook | Let The Light In

Alejandro Escovedo produced Amy Cook's new CD "Let The Light In". Two Austinites and two musicians of seemingly like minds. There's an edge to Amy's lyrical approach and who better to support that than someone like Escovedo who is equally at home with screaming guitars AND string quartets in the mix. Tosca String Quartet is featured on the record and their participation along with Patty Griffin's on "Hotel Lights" knocks me out. A perfectly realized song! Great string arrangements throughout from Stephen Barber and stand out guitar playing by David Pulkingham.

Listen tonight for Amy Cook, the featured artist on mvyradio's Uncharted Waters at 9 ET on

Hear clips of "Let The Light In" here:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Angelique Kidjo | Oyo

Beautiful, focused, committed, unforgettable. Angelique Kidjo. You see it in the picture here, hear it in the music she has created over the past two decades and know it from her untiring philanthropic efforts. In her new album "Oyo", she interprets some of the music she heard growing up in Benin, West Africa by artists like Aretha Franklin (her biggest influence apart from Miriam Makeba), Curtis Mayfield, James Brown and Carlos Santana, plus some Beninese traditional music and songs from Hollywood and Bollywood fims. Each song choice has a story behind it, and the album is a journey into Kidjo's musical heart and life experience. The CD will be released April 6th.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Peter Gabriel | Scratch My Back

I saw Peter Gabriel in the 80's -can't remember exactly what year, but it was at The Orpheum in Boston. During the performance, Gabriel fell backwards from the stage, on purpose, into the waiting arms of his fans. This was something he did a lot during that time period. I was so moved by the gesture and all it implied. Trust, fearlessness, abandon, humanity. Peter Gabriel employs these qualities, that seem to be still in great supply, on his new CD "Scratch My Back". It's a covers album with a wide assortment of songwriters represented -Lou Reed, Talking Heads, Randy Newman, The Magnetic Fields and Elbow. Songwriting is what got Gabriel into music and he has long wanted to make an album where he is the interpreter of the songs rather that the writer.

At first. the record seems plodding but once you lock into the rhythm of Gabriel's intent, and let John Metcalfe's beautiful arrangements and orchestration wash over you, it starts to gel as a whole record. The centerpiece is Lou Reed's "The Power of The Heart", a commanding song that is so suited to Gabriel's style. "Listening Wind" written by David Byrne and Brian Eno and originally on Talking Heads "Remain In Light" CD is also a great choice for Gabriel. I feel like I can hear his process as I listen to the album. It seems like each aspect was carefully considered and that the journey lives inside each song.

Listen tonight at 9 PM ET to mvyradio's Uncharted Waters as I feature tracks from the CD.

Listen to clips of the CD here:

Monday, March 1, 2010

Ellis Paul | The Day After Everything Changed

I'm listening to Ellis Paul's new record "The Day After Everything Changed" and as each song reaches my ear, I'm thinking about the intimacy of songwriting and making records. Here I am on my computer at my kitchen table being invited into Ellis' heart. And he doesn't even know it!

Well, he might guess that I'd be enjoying what he does so well, based on the fact that 20,000 others, his fan base, and a legion of other singer-songwriters and music business types admire the songwriting and sensibility that has been over 20 years in the making. In fact, his fans funded his new album, and you can hear the evidence of their involvement. There is a cohesiveness and depth to this record that seems to be in part about this connection.

My favorite songs -"The Day After Everything Changed" -a soaring homage to love, beauty, revelation and the passage of time; "Rose Tattoo" -a story about a couple's love in tough economic times, with wonderful everyday references in the lyrics; and "Dragonfly" -simplicity and wonder fuel this love song, acoustic guitar weaving, high and lonesome vocals rising.

We're giving the CD away today as The Monday Free CD on

Listen to clips of the new CD here: