If the big heels and the high-production fashion values have you skeptical about this lady, keep reading. Purring and snarling through “Your One And Only”, crowing danger through the tasty acoustic gem “Behind My Back”, double-daring her way through the buoyant “Purple Tattoos”, Cathy Jean has a natural gift for pairing her formidable voice with some pretty mean presence and solid song-writing (not a single cover on the entire CD). Blues fans will want to skip string-coated pop fare like “You Don’t Know”, but most of the rest is great stuff– seductive, tough and convincing, backed by a terrific group. Excellent and recommended.
Despite the tragedy in her life this is a superb album. Derek Trucks said in an interview (this is a paraphrase) that not only is he interested in what someone is playing but what they are listening to. Clearly Cathy Jean and her band members are both very good listeners and very good players. They are very modern (notice the excellent use of strings) and one of the finest bands playing rock and roll and blues around today. This album and Sick Little Twist are both top notch!
The Morrigan's music is a lively mixture of traditional Celtic folk with prog rock, sometimes leaning heavily in either direction. Their sound is distinctly original and full of magic vocals, their music made up of warm melodies wrapped up in rich arrangements (sometimes of their own composition, sometimes re-arranged traditional folk songs). Imagine a heavier sounding Steeleye Span and then move them up a notch on the prog scale. The band originated in 1984 when Tom Foad, a guitarist from hard-rock/metal band The Avalanche, was looking for something a little more acoustic. Soon, singer/musician Cathy Alexander joined him, followed by bassist Cliff Eastabrook. However, Foad's commitments to his previous band proved to be too time consuming and so, he was replaced by guitarist/keyboardist Colin Masson (who, by the way, has done all the artwork for the band's albums). In addition to Alexander and Masson who are still with the band after two decades, two out of three excellent full-time musicians who feature on their latest album have since left.
This collection of works for unaccompanied voices is bookended by works by singer Cathy Berberian and composer Luciano Berio, who were once married to each other. John Cage's Story is a movement of his percussion quartet Living Room Music, while Young Turtle Asymmetries is by Cage's pupil Jackson Mac Low and Roger Marsh's Not a Soul But Ourselves is set to a text by James Joyce. Usually done solo, Berberian's Stripsody, with its score consisting solely of cartoons, is sung here by a trio and must be heard to be believed.
Nicholas Isherwood made his début as Lucifer in Stockhausen’s Donnerstag aus Licht at Covent Garden, at the age of 25, and has since collaborated closely with composers such as George Crumb, Hans Werner Henze, György Kurtág and Iannis Xenakis. His relationship with John Cage soon developed into what he in his liner notes to the disc calls ‘a love affair’. The composer Sylvano Bussotti has remarked that ‘since the passing of Cathy Berberian, Nicholas Isherwood is the singer who best understands the spirit of the music of John Cage’. On ARIA, Isherwood presents most of Cage’s music for solo voice that is not included in the composer’s Song Books, and most pieces are here recorded for the first time by a male singer. The programme covers 43 years, from A Chant with Claps from the early 1940s to Ryoanji and Sonnekus2 of the 1980s, and includes the celebrated Aria, here performed with a new multi-channel tape realization of Cage’s Fontana Mix, by the Italian composer Gianluca Verlingieri.
Record Collection is the third album headed up by the mid-Atlantic muso mastermind and, as usual, he’s brought a host of famous friends and former collaborators along for the ride. Recorded at Dunham studios in Brooklyn and working with vintage keyboards, the album melds eighties indie to nineties hip hop beats and also sees someone rather special take to the mic… "Lose It (In The End)" was co-written by Jonathan Pierce of The Drums and features rhymes from Ghostface Killah and vocals from Mark Ronson himself. The old school flavour of the album is behind much of its charm. "The Bike Song" - co-written by the Zutons’ Dave McCabe and with laid back, but never lazy, vocals from The View’s Kyle Falconer - boasts an almost psychedelic sixties vibe while the warm doo-wop of "The Night Last Night" is brought to glorious life by former Pipette Rose Elinor Dougall.
"Somebody To Love Me" is another highlight. Jake Shears of Scissors Sisters, Cathy Dennis, erstwhile Dirty Pretty Thing Anthony Rossomando, and Andrew Wyatt all had a hand in writing what Ronson describes as a ‘bionic’ song. Then he persuaded Boy George, to sing this song of ‘earnest blue-eyed soul’ and a lost club classic with a modern twist
Subscribing to the time-honored practice of striking when the iron is hot, the Jonas Brothers put out Lines, Vines and Trying Times in June of 2009, making it their third album in one year. True, Lines and A Little Bit Longer were separated by a soundtrack to a concert film, but the flood of product is a true reflection of the peak of the group's popularity, just as how the over-produced, stretched-thin Lines is a reflection of their hectic schedule. Where A Little Bit Longer was built on a strong song foundation, Lines, Vines and Trying Times feels constructed from the outside in, with the concepts coming before the tunes, concepts that all take the Brothers Jonas further away from the fizzy, power pop fun. Lines is designed to showcase a mature Jonas Brothers, who wear their maturation in an increased stylistic range, and fussed-over arrangements that lend this a stiffness of a band well beyond their years. Pop classicists that they are, the Jonases are a bit more comfortable with immaculate arrangements than they are with the expansion, as they fumble through a couple of country songs and "Don't Charge Me for the Crime," a truly bizarre duet with Common where they gamely, lamely affect a hard-boiled pose. Tellingly, most of the forced moments were written in collaboration with outsiders such as Cathy Dennis and Greg Garbowsky, the latter being responsible for co-writing "Poison Ivy," a power pop tune so labored it reveals just how good A Little Bit Longer was. Overthinking and over-production are the primary flaws on Lines, where every point is hammered home by horns transported from the waning days of the Reagan administration. This oddly yuppified production is more Taylor Hicks than Taylor Swift, but the presence of Joe's former girlfriend is felt elsewhere, whether it's in the lyric's heartbroken love songs (as well as a couple of rocking accusations), or how Miley Cyrus stands in for Taylor on one of those country songs. But Swift also comes to mind because she and the Jonas Brothers are trying to do a similar thing: make teen pop that skews adult in its sound and form. The JoBros did it effortlessly on A Little Bit Longer but on Lines, Vines and Trying Times the seams are showing, which makes it a little bit harder to enjoy, even if there are certainly moments where all their craft and charm click, resulting in some fine pop that points out what's missing from the rest of the record.- Allmusic