Following are reviews of recent CDs by artists coming to the valley in the weeks ahead.
John Hiatt has his cranky side. But theres no surer way of perking him up than to put a guitar in his hand, and get him singing especially singing about music itself. Memphis in the Meantime, Ridin With the King, Master of Disaster all music-oriented, all Hiatt at his best and most uplifting.So its a good sign that Same Old Man opens with Old Days, in which Hiatt imagines himself hanging backstage with Mose Allison, Sonny Terry and Gatemouth Brown. Hes got a smile in his voice, thinking back on when the music world, and the sounds themselves, were new and weird, and it sets the tone for the album. The album, which leans toward the folkier side, finds Hiatt apparently in love, and on the title track, happy to be aging. Even if hes got a few less brain cells, a lot less hair, hes still got his love of music.John Hiatt & the Ageless Beauties perform Sept. 4 at Belly Up.
Jerry Douglas long ago took the dobro out of the realm of strict bluegrass, and he has seemed on a mission to show just how many places the instrument fits. Glide, which features mandolinist Sam Bush and bassist Edgar Meyer both known for their adventures in string music continues that march outward. Start with Sway: With its jaunty brass, its Bourbon Street all the way. But the neat thing about the instrumental track is that even Douglas solo intro evokes New Orleans. Same with Route Irish the rhythms and arrangement are Celtic, but no more so than Douglas dobro parts. A Marriage Made in Hollywood makes a stab at something close to mainstream country, with vocals by Travis Tritt; the one other vocal song, A Long Hard Road, written and sung by Rodney Crowell (and with Douglas making a rare singing contribution, on backing vocals), is closer to folk-country. The instrumental Home Sweet Home, a trio featuring banjoist Earl Scruggs and guitarist Tony Rice, is proof that Douglas hasnt moved so far away that he cant say something in the old-timey string language.As the title suggests, Douglas moves into these various corners are consistently smooth.Jerry Douglas performs Sept. 1 in Jazz Aspens Labor Day Festival.
When last we saw Nomo, at the 2007 Jazz Aspen June Festival, they were firmly in the guise of an Afrobeat band, albeit one from Michigan. On Ghost Rock, that categorization is exploded by a blast of electronica. But where electronica is generally thought of as mechanical music, Nomo, which participated in Jazz Aspens JAS Academy a few years ago, uses its Afrobeat background horns, polyrhythms to warm things up, and make a natural-sounding fusion of jazz, African and electronic music.Nomo is at Belly Up on Wednesday, July firstname.lastname@example.org