What our critics are listening to
06:15 PM, Aug 19, 2013
THE CIVIL WARS
THE CIVIL WARS. The only time I ever saw The Civil Wars play live, I was thrilled by the duo’s energetic, onstage chemistry. That the Grammy-winning group could even generate a follow-up is a surprise, especially since it went on hiatus in late 2012, citing “internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition.” She wants to pursue their early success, he wants to be at home with his family. If “internal discord” begat The Civil Wars, we can live with it, even if Joy Williams and John Paul White can’t. It gets off to a great start with the ballad of lament, “The One That Got Away,” and the tone remains pretty steady: lost and broken relationships, and heartbroken paths of bad decisions: “He’s good and he’s bad and he’s all that I’ve got,” Williams sings on “Devil’s Backbone.” I’m sorry for their pain, but lines like “Oh the grass is green everywhere but under me” is worth it.
REBELLIOUS SOUL. Her antics on Love and Hip-Hop: Atlanta made it easy for me to forget that the reality TV star is a singer, not just a hothead on television. And I’m not sure if it was irony or well-planned that her CD title contains the word “rebellious.” But after listening to this CD, I am focused more on the soul in her, not the rebel I saw yelling on TV. K. Michelle sings from an honest, down-to-earth place. She uses gritty language on “My Life” and rattles of the scenarios that draw people into an abyss of despair and death. She lets her guard down as she wistfully talks about the love she hopes to receive in “When I Get A Man.” She speaks of insecurity when she sings “All that I can see is that she is prettier than me” in “I Don’t Like Me.” K. Michelle’s brash talk on Love and Hip Hop has translated to heartfelt expression on CD.
CHRISTIAN McBRIDE TRIO
OUT HERE. The versatile and prolific Christian McBride is at it again. Only four months after his latest Inside Straight CD, People Music, (and three months after his Rochester jazz festival appearance), the talented bassist comes at us as leader of a classic bass-drums-piano trio. On Out Here, McBride and his young cohorts (pianist Christian Sands and drummer Ulysses Owens Jr.) mix up a fun array of music. The set includes mellow-funk “Ham Hocks and Cabbage,” a rip-roaring romp through Oscar Peterson’s gospel-tinged “Hallelujah Time,” an edgy, 5/4 time version of “My Favorite Things” AND a wildly fast take on “Cherokee.”Throughout, McBride lets his young friends have a ton of fun, and chances to demonstrate considerable talent.