I Am Sam - Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture
17 Beatle songs covered by Aimee Mann, Wallflowers, Nick Cave, Eddie Vedder, Sarah McLachlan . Jessie Nelson's poignant tale of a mentally challenged man named Sam (Sean Penn) who recruits a lawyer to help him regain custody of his young daughter leans heavily on the lead character's obsession with Beatles songs, and his innocent trust in their wisdom and emotional truth. It's an artistic gambit that shrewdly lends itself to this mostly rewarding collection of Beatles covers by a wide range of contemporary artists, many of whom no doubt leapt at the chance to record a treasured song by their own musical heroes. The renditions are by and large faithful, and inform the elemental genius of the originals by the strength and variety of the artist's voices alone. The husband-wife team of Aimee Mann and Michael Penn (Sean's brother) can't help but find resonance in "Two of Us," just as Nick Cave's latter-day, heart-on-his-sleeve crooner infatuation makes "Let It Be" all his own. It's the reinterpretations that are riskier. While Paul Westerberg's stripped-down, nasal reading of "Nowhere Man" perceptively underscores Lennon's inherent Dylan fetish and Howie Day turns "Help!" from anxious plea to desperate dirge, Grandaddy smugly alt-rocks the energy right out of "Revolution." The Beatles hardly need anyone to burnish their reputation, but this album goes a long way toward underscoring their most undersung legacy as rock's most transcendent melting pot. -Jerry McCulley
2012 release, a tribute to Country songwriting legend Hank Cochran. When word got out that acclaimed Nashville artist Jamey Johnson was recording a tribute album to Cochran, musical superstars clamored to participate. From the ranks of the Country Music Hall of Fame came George Strait, Emmylou Harris, Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson, Ray Price and Vince Gill, not to mention Cochran's oldest and truest friend, Willie Nelson. Veteran stars Leon Russell, Elvis Costello, Bobby Bare and Asleep at the Wheel perform on the album alongside contemporary artists such as Alison Krauss, Lee Ann Womack and Ronnie Dunn.
Manufacturer: Music Road Records
LOOKING INTO YOU, the first ever tribute album honoring Jackson Browne, features a mix of Brown's old friends, fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Famers and younger admirers offering their own interpretations of 23 hits and album cuts from the songwriters extensive catalog. Among those who lent their talents to this double-disc set are Ben Harper, Don Henley with Blind Pilot, Kyle Lovett, Keb' Me', Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen & Patti Scialfa and Lucinda Williams.
Ozzy Osbourne ~ Tribute Ozzy Osbourne's guitarist Randy Rhoads was a technical genius on his instrument, but that's only half the story. Rhoads shaped the direction of Osbourne's first two post-Sabbath recordings, Diary of a Madman and Blizzard of Ozz, which still stand as his best solo studio albums. Rhoads also was capable of pulling the best out of Osbourne onstage, a notable accomplishment in itself. This live set was released five years after Rhoads's death in a bizarre plane accident, and it's still a striking reminder of what was lost. Osbourne and company run through the Blizzard album in its entirety, adding a few tunes from Diary plus the Sabbath classics "Iron Man," "Children of the Grave," and "Paranoid." The highlights are Rhoads's guitar freakout on "Suicide Solution" and studio outtakes of his solo acoustic showcase, "Dee." --Daniel Durchholz
Ozzy Osbourne's guitarist Randy Rhoads was a technical genius on his instrument, but that's only half the story. Rhoads shaped the direction of Osbourne's first two post-Sabbath recordings, Diary of a Madman and Blizzard of Ozz, which still stand as his best solo studio albums. Rhoads also was capable of pulling the best out of Osbourne onstage, a notable accomplishment in itself. This live set was released five years after Rhoads's death in a bizarre plane accident, and it's still a striking reminder of what was lost. Osbourne and company run through the Blizzard album in its entirety, adding a few tunes from Diary, and the Sabbath classics "Iron Man," "Children of the Grave," and "Paranoid." The highlights are Rhoads's guitar freakout on "Suicide Solution" and studio outtakes of his solo acoustic showcase, "Dee." --Daniel Durchholz
Manufacturer: ATO Records
15 years after his death and 40 years after the release of his widely beloved song 'Rocky Mountain High,' ATO Records celebrates John Denver's life and music with The Music Is You: A Tribute to John Denver. The album features covers of Denver's most popular songs by a diverse group of artists including Dave Matthews, My Morning Jacket, Train, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros and many others.. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to The Wilderness Society in John's name.
This tribute DVD chronicles Yanni's two very special concert events at the Taj Mahal and The Forbidden City, featuring the songs from 1997's platinum "Tribute" CD. This DVD also includes "No Borders, No Boundaries," a documentary on the production of eas Exotic locales and famous monuments! Adagios and waltzes! Spectacle and bombast! A didgeridoo and an orchestra too! Yanni's amazing hair!! All this and much more make Tribute a feast sure to be eagerly devoured by the Greek composer-keyboardist's legions of fans--and it's not hard to understand why, as it is an impressive achievement. The DVD chronicles Yanni's 1997 concerts at India's Taj Mahal (the first concert staged there) and Beijing's Forbidden City (the first-ever performance there by a Western artist), and these splendid settings are certainly shown to good effect throughout this well-directed, great-sounding program. As for the music, well, that's all a matter of taste; what might be schlocky to one person will be beautiful and majestic to another. But regardless of one's musical leanings, no one can dispute that the 90-minute concert, combining numbers from both locations, provides a healthy and representative dose of Yanni's New Age-cum-classical-cum-world music sounds, and they are well played by the international cast of nearly 50 musicians and singers (violinist Karen Briggs and guitarist Pedro Eustache acquit themselves especially well among the soloists). And that's not all, as the DVD is loaded with bonus features. Principal among them is "No Borders, No Boundaries," a beautifully photographed, hourlong film narrated by actor Christopher Plummer; part documentary and part travelogue, it contains musician profiles, Yanni biographical material, some Indian and Chinese history, and information about how the concerts came about. Other features include a lengthy Yanni interview and discography, as well as audio options. In the end, Yanni detractors are unlikely to be converted, but then, they can always put on their Limp Bizkit CDs instead. --Sam ...
YANNI - TRIBUTE - CD The album's title is Tribute, but it just as easily could be called Spectacle. Everything here is done on a grand scale, from its ambitious staging areas (the Taj Mahal and China's Forbidden City re-creations) to its large gathering of instrumentalists (more than two dozen) to the histrionics of two impassioned vocalists on a pair of the album's 11 tracks. The only thing missing seems to be the maestro himself--so submerged is the visionary-keyboardist in the mix. The musician showcased most often on Tribute turns out to be energetic violinist Karen Briggs, a familiar figure by now to all who have watched Yanni's global ramblings on television. The compositions and arrangements, it seems, are intended to be the stars as Yanni lives out his Beethoven-like dream sequence. Stylistically, the music ranges from urban smooth jazz to earnest orchestral sweeps. A grand concept, but not an entirely great result. --Terry Wood