What our critics are listening to

04:57 PM, Apr 29, 2013


A PICTURE OF ME (WITHOUT YOU). No one nailed a broken relationship better than George Jones. His voice was heartache. If you’re just getting to Jones now, you’d be better off with one of the collections that highlight great songs such as “She Thinks I Still Care.” He must have been a pain to live with, because his wife Tammy Wynette co-wrote “These Days (I Barely Get By)” and left him two days after he’d recorded it. But focus on an album, a moment in time, and you can’t do better than this one. It opens with these great lines from the title track: “Imagine a world where no music was playing. And think of a church with nobody praying. Have you ever looked up at a sky with no blue? Then you’ve seen a picture of me without you.” Jones died last week at age 82 and I don’t hear anyone who does country music as well as he did.


SIDE EFFECTS OF YOU. It’s been widely reported that American Idol winner Fantasia considered walking away from music; she wasn’t feeling it anymore. Well, thank goodness all of the drama (sleeping pills and aspirin overdose, affair with a married man and lawsuit threat by his wife, to name a few) didn’t send her packing from R&B. Simply put, Side Effects of You is a solid CD. The music is heartfelt when she sings “this love is no good for me” on “End of Me.” It’s dreamy when she sings “if I was a bird, I would spread my wings so I can survive” on “If I Was a Bird.” She’s sassy and egotistical in a good way on “Without Me.” And she channels her inner Whitney Houston on “Change Your Mind,” a song with a melody that sounds eerily similar to “I’m Your Baby Tonight.” With this CD, Fantasia reminded me why she remains my favorite American Idol from my favorite season.


MONEY JUNGLE - PROVOCATIVE IN BLUE. Grammy winning artist, Terri Lyne Carrington, one of the leading drummers of modern jazz, celebrates the 50th anniversary of the seminal album, Money Jungle, with her new re-imagination. The original was a one-time meeting of Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Max Roach, playing Ellington compositions. The versatile Carrington, of course, handles the drums this time, with Gerald Clayton on piano and Christian McBride on bass. True to the concept of reinventing the music, Carrington enlists additional support on a few tracks, including trumpeter and scat-singer Clark Terry, an iconic tie to the Ellington band, as well as Antonio Hart and Tia Fuller.Carrington also adds a few vocal or spoken-word elements, though not enough to detract from the music.