What our critics are listening to

01:53 PM, Sep 09, 2013


OVER THE RHINE

MEET ME AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD. An Over the Rhine album is not merely a collection of songs. It is an invitation into the beautiful, artistic world of Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist, the couple that is the heart of this Cincinnati-area band. It’s a world of contemplative photographs, literary referrals, attention to detail and a soulful, rural sensibility. Producer Joe Henry has had the magic hand for a few years now, everything he touches turns to sad beauty, and he’s a perfect fit here. For a change of pace, Bergquist adds a Lucinda Williams-like soulful take to “Gonna Let My Soul Catch My Body.” But mostly, these 19 songs positively ache like the ancient boards of the pre-Civil War farmhouse where they were written. “Ahh, the river is beautiful,” Bergquist sings, “but it leaves a load of mud, all I have now are these dirty songs, I guess they’re in my blood.” — JEFF SPEVAK

RAHEEM DEVAUGHN

A PLACE CALLED LOVELAND. The journey to loveland can be a difficult ride. R&B singer Raheem DeVaughn wants to share his story by taking his listeners on a soulful cruise. You know how the story goes: Boy meets girl and feels a “Love Connection.” The connection, however, is “Complicated” at times. But if all goes well, the relationship turns into the “Greatest Love” of all. DeVaughn lets a bevy of emotions fall from his lips and the feelings float to your ears by way of soft piano chords, guitar strumming and the tap, tap, tap of electric drums. DeVaughn even channels his inner Prince as his voice goes high and low while he croons his love story on “Pink Crush Velvet.” Normally, I have a love-hate (mostly hate) relationship with interludes on CDs. More often than not, they are just a waste of musical space. But DeVaughn’s interludes carry the music of this CD forward, and frankly, some of them could have been full songs. This is another stellar effort by The Love King. — SHEILA RAYAM

AHMAD JAMAL

SATURDAY MORNING. The 83-year-old veteran jazz pianist demonstrates once again his ever-youthful approach to rhythms and improvisations. The music in this new studio album is upbeat and ebullient. It’s jazz piano to admire and enjoy, because it makes the listener feel good. Like many jazz veterans, Jamal has played many of the treasures in the great American songbook, so his later albums, such as this, are full of invigorating originals. Check out “Silver,” for example, a bright, gospel-tinged tribute to another great pianist, Horace Silver. Jamal, of course, made his reputation with the infectious rhythms of “Poinciana,” a great jazz hit of a half-century ago. Here, he and his rhythm section offer a similar rhythmic ride in the aptly named “Back to the Future.” — JACK GARNER