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Check It Out!: April 17, 2014

Written by Dave Gil de Rubio, Thursday, 17 April 2014 11:15

Pickers, Prodigies & (White) Lions, Oh My

April 18


Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell

@ NYCB Theatre @ Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Rd.,

8 p.m. $74. 877-598-8497

Renaissance man is one of those terms tossed around haphazardly but it’s really not a stretch when using it in association with Steve Martin. Along with being an actor, author, stand-up comedian and playwright, Martin is also an accomplished musician who has been playing banjo since his teens. His musical prowess is such that he’s appeared at the Grand Ole Opry, released his 2010 debut The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo (which also won a Best Bluegrass Album Grammy), performed at various musical festivals and even narrated and appeared in the PBS documentary, Give Me the Banjo. Last year, he and the Steep Canyon Rangers were joined in the studio by Edie Brickell and emerged with Love Has Come For You. The title track subsequently won a Grammy for Best American Roots Song and as such, the crew will bring its picking and twanging to Westbury for one night.


Check It Out!: April 10, 2014

Written by Dave Gil de Rubio, Friday, 11 April 2014 08:29

Lake Street Dive: Come On In, The Music’s Great

Lake Street Dive — Bad Self Portraits (Signature Sounds) — When you first hear that the four members of Lake Street Dive all met at Boston’s New England Conservatory of Music, you figure the band is going to be some kind of stiff jazz combo. Instead, what you have is a quartet that traffics in the kind of rockin’ soul and blues that instantly somehow falls somewhere between Susan Tedeschi and Dusty Springfield. Lake Street Dive’s third studio outing, (and sixth overall release), kicks off with the R&B blast of a title track that immediately pulls you in and doesn’t let up for the remaining ten songs. Muscle Shoals, Motown, Carole King and Stax are just some of the touchstones influencing the band’s sound and particularly resonate on songs like the bouncy, bass-kissed “Use Me Up,” the moody and melancholy “Better Than” with its muted trumpet and the insistent, piano-inflected “Rabid Animal.” And while the jumping around between different music styles can be a bit disorienting at time, the execution and passion are so solid that it doesn’t matter particularly if you have the treat of layered harmonies on rousing “You Go Down Smooth” or “Rental Love,” a Beatlesque ballad that closes out the record.


Check It Out!: April 3, 2014

Written by Dave Gil de Rubio, Thursday, 03 April 2014 13:07

Mike Bloomfield: Guitar Great Gets His Due

Michael Bloomfield — From His Head to His Heart to His Hands (Columbia/Legacy) — Eric Clapton once famously said that, “Mike Bloomfield is music on two legs.” A supernova that burned brightly throughout the ’60s, by the time of his death on Feb. 15, 1981, Bloomfield’s legacy had fallen far behind those of fellow guitar heroes Hendrix, Clapton, Page and Beck. But one listen to this Al Kooper-curated 3-CD/1-DVD set will have you rethinking his place in the pantheon of musical greats.


Check It Out!: March 27, 2014

Written by Dave Gil de Rubio, Thursday, 27 March 2014 12:15

Black Sabbath: Resurrected And Ready To Rock

Black Sabbath — 13 (Vertigo/Republic) — It only took 35 years before Ozzy Osbourne finally reunited with Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler (drummer Bill Ward was bounced over contractual differences) to record a Black Sabbath album, the first since 1978’s Never Say Die! Helmed by uber-fan Rick Rubin, last year’s 13 found the trio, (joined by time keeper Brad Wilk of Rage Against the Machine), attempting to harken back to Osbourne’s first go-round with Sabbath. On a certain level, the Sabs do succeed on these eight songs with the keys being the band’s penchant for nihilistic and foreboding fare still remaining intact. Ozzy’s resilient vocals come as a pleasant surprise but what winds up being the heart of the proceedings are Iommi’s totemic riffs, which certainly sound more reinvigorated than when he was tucking into the Heaven & Hell project with the late Ronnie James Dio. Opening with the hammer-and-tong sludgefest “End of the Beginning,” Sabbath keeps the songs pieced together with interesting time changes that flirt with prog-rock lengths. The themes of songs like “Damaged Soul” and “God is Dead?” keep with the band’s history of weighty fare while Iommi truly shines on the ruminative “Zeitgest,” which has an arrangement reminiscent of Sabbath warhorse “Planet Caravan.” Gloom and doom never sounded so good.


Check It Out!: March 20, 2014

Written by Dave Gil de Rubio, Friday, 21 March 2014 18:02

P.T. Walkley: Musical Manna From The Land Of Joel

P.T. Walkley — Shoulders (Bathing Suit Music) _ Hailing from Cold Spring Harbor, P.T. Walkley, (better known as Philip Talman to mom and dad), is best known as filmmaker Ed Burns’s composer of choice for the past decade or so. Along the way, Walkley has also been creating music for the Nickelodeon series Team Umizoomi and opening for the likes of Coldplay and Weezer, stopping long enough to pop out the random solo record. Shoulders is his third full-length studio outing and is a nice blend of genres that finds him leaning heavily on classic rock/pop approaches to his music. When Walkley isn’t trafficking in jangly, Tom Pettyish shuffles (“No Time to Sweat”) or mixing in T. Rex-flavored layered vocals (“Blindsided”) he masterfully weaves in blue-eyed soul (“It’s Alright”) and doles out the kind of twee pop reminiscent of the late Elliott Smith (“Silver Dollar Pancakes.”)


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