The CD cover artwork for this release has changed, and your copy may be delivered with either the old or new cover art. Nothing else about the CD has changed. San Diego is not exactly known as a hotbed of contemporary bluegrass music, but then again, Nickel Creek are a far cry from most bluegrass bands you've ever heard. On their Alison Krauss-produced debut, they serve up a lilting, ethereal fusion of bluegrass, Celtic, modern folk, and even classical influences, offering exquisite harmonies that would be more at home at a Crosby, Stills & Nash tribute than at a musical salute to the late Bill Monroe. Yet it makes for delightful listening, all the same. The three principals (Sara Watkins on fiddle and vocals; her brother Sean Watkins on guitar, mandolin, and vocals; and Chris Thile on mandolin, banjo, bouzouki, and vocals) are either barely out of their teens or still in them. Individually and as a band, they've already won a slew of awards and notoriety on their respective instruments. The three prodigies (joined by Thile's dad, Scott, on bass) really strut their eclectic hot licks on a few soaring, skittering instrumentals, but even more impressive are Nickel Creek's graceful, heartfelt harmonies on the many lovely ballads. Hot licks, when you get right down to it, are a dime a dozen; this sort of pluperfect tunefulness is a much rarer thing. --Bob Allen
Manufacturer: Brushfire Records
2003 release, the sophomore album from the acclaimed singer, songwriter and surfer. Adam Topol played drums and percussion while Merlo Podlewski played bass. The album was recorded at The Mango Tree studios in Hawaii. Jack Johnson has found himself a groove. Indeed, the Hawaiian surfing champion turned alternative pop-folk star really hasn't changed things one iota for his sophomore release. Fans of Brushfire Fairytales should be delighted with the results. The groove is a mellow one--most of the 16 tracks here are semi-acoustic--and that easy-going spirit filters into Johnson's lyrical philosophies. "What will be will be / And so it goes" he sings on "Times Like These," the opening track. Thankfully, Johnson is never too mellow, and there's a "Don't worry, be happy" vibe to most of his music. "The Horizon Has Been Defeated" even has a pseudo-reggae feel to it. Although classified as an alternative musician, the singer-songwriter's compositions owe much to past hits. "Traffic in the Sky" is reminiscent of Jim Croce's "Operator" and Looking Glass's one-hit-wonder, "Brandy." On the splendid "Taylor," Johnson sounds an awful lot like Donovan. And "By The Way" recalls the Lovin' Spoonful. -- Bill Holdship
Vinyl LP pressing. 2003 release, the sophomore album from the acclaimed singer, songwriter and surfer. Adam Topol played drums and percussion while Merlo Podlewski played bass. The album was recorded at the Mango Tree studios in Hawaii.
Recorded on their Spring 2002 tour, this is Alison Krauss + Union Station's first live recording. It features galvanizing performances of songs from Now That I've Found You, New Favorite, and O Brother, Where Art Thou?Genre: BluegrassMedia Format: Compact DiskRating: Release Date: 5-NOV-2002 This two-CD, 25-song set, recorded in Louisville on two nights in the spring of 2002, finds bluegrass's most celebrated crossover band at the top of its game. Krauss's warm, feathery vocals, capable of conveying complex emotions in a single note, appear more full-bodied than in studio recordings, yet lose none of their sensual appeal or dramatic tension. She's perfect, for example, as the melancholy temptress on "Let Me Touch You for Awhile," coming across as both savior and seductress, while Jerry Douglas's Dobro echoes the searing strains of passion and pain. With banjoist-guitarist Ron Block, bassist Barry Bales, and guest drummer Larry Atamanuik anchoring the rhythm, the ensemble deftly blends bluegrass with jazz, rock, and folk, combining lightning speed (though rushing through "Forget About It") with sophisticated chops, tangible emotion, and thrilling vocal blends. The crowd, more spellbound with every note, doesn't even breathe on "Ghost in This House" and nearly tears the place down on Dan Tyminski's voice-of-George Clooney showcase, "I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow." But who could blame them? It's only one highlight on an album of uncommon artistry, a moving testament to how good live music can be in the hands of world-class players. --Alanna Nash
32 tracks and over two and a half hours of material pulled from 11 of his Elektra/Asylum albums! Includes Doctor My Eyes; Rock Me on the Water; Running on Empty; The Pretender; Stay; Somebody's Baby; Tender Is the Night; The Load-Out , and more. Though Jackson Browne's albums are not plentiful--in a career that stretches 32 years, he's released just over a dozen--they're filled with songs that serve as resilient touchstones for millions who passed through those decades. Originally forging a way for himself as a songwriter, his debut, Saturate Before Using, placed him at the forefront of the southern California rock scene. His contemporaries and compatriots, the Eagles, even took his "Take It Easy" to the top of the charts. Even at his most anthemic, his songs resonate with small details that keep the proceedings human-scaled. The sympathetic accompaniment buoys a voice that's remarkable for its lack of idiosyncrasies. His unmannered singing voice is an essential component in making songs like "These Days," "Fountain of Sorrow," and "Running on Empty" flow with a casual ease that belies the high level of craftsmanship throughout. --David Greenberger
Feat. 'What A Wonderful World' 'People Get Ready' & 'Stormy Monday' When Eva Cassidy is swinging her way through "Cheek to Cheek" and getting down and bluesy on "Stormy Monday" on this live set from 1996, it's nigh impossible not to get swept up in her voice's vast, barreling force. Her full range, though, becomes most obvious--and soul-shaking--on the slower side, as with Paul Simon's "Bridge over Troubled Water," Buffy Sainte-Marie's "Tall Trees in Georgia," and "What a Wonderful World." On these latter tunes, Cassidy's mix of aching clarity and rich warmth has a melting quality, speaking through the body to some evanescent presence that she seems to know all too well. She improbably makes Sting's "Fields of Gold" an emotional powerhouse just as easily as she makes Billie Holiday's "Fine and Mellow" an offhand declaration of feeling equal to nearly anything in the jazz vocal canon. In doing so she earns her place among the great singers--artists who could take any song and stamp it indelibly as their own. What Eva Cassidy had in her short life was an unbelievably perfect voice and a musical soul that grasped gospel, folk, blues, jazz, and all points in between as if they were mere stops on a single train ride. Alas, her ride ended in 1996, tragically early. --Andrew Bartlett
Includes Blowin' in the Wind; Don't Think Twice, It's All Right; The Times They Are A-Changin'; It Ain't Me Babe; Maggie's Farm; It's All Over Now, Baby Blue; Mr. Tambourine Man; Subterranean Homesick Blues; Like a Rolling Stone; Positively 4th Street; Just Like a Woman; Rainy Day Women #12 & 35; All Along the Watchtower; Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn); Lay, Lady, Lay , and more. 30 tracks! Two discs of music don't exactly provide for a thorough overview of four decades of recording, particularly if the subject of the retrospective is one of the most important and prolific performers of his time. So The Essential Bob Dylan definitely skates over the leagues-deep oeuvre of Dylan, summarizing his monumental first half-dozen years in disc one and skirting over the following 34 years in disc two. Delving into Columbia's three Dylan greatest-hits packages (though curiously purging "I Want You," a genuine hit single in its day), Essential offers only a few surprises, opting for The Basement Tapes version of "Quinn the Eskimo" over the Self Portrait remake that made it onto Greatest Hits Volume II and tossing in "Things Have Changed" from the Wonder Boys soundtrack for completists. But this 30-track overview is designed with newcomers, not Dylanologists, in mind. --Steven Stolder
Manufacturer: Artemis Records
Brand: Zevon, Warren
The Wind is like an X-ray with a dark shadow that shouldnâ€™t be there and canâ€™t be ignored. Recorded after Zevon was diagnosed in 2002 with inoperable lung cancer, it sounds like the work of a guy who's still fighting, but also starting to wrap things up. Although Zevon is best known for his poison-dart wit, heâ€™s always been a bit of a softie, too. Itâ€™s no surprise, then, that The Wind leans heavily on irony-free ballads such as "Sheâ€™s Too Good for Me," "El Amor de mi Vida," and "Please Stay." But thereâ€™s also a dose of defiant blues ("Rub Me Raw") and plenty of dirty slide guitar, courtesy of Ry Cooder and David Lindley. (Other guests include Bruce Springsteen, Don Henley, Tom Petty, Jackson Browne, and Dwight Yoakam). If the lyrics generally lack the literary precision of Zevonâ€™s best work, the songs take on greater weight given the circumstance under which they were recorded. Heard in 1983, a party-hearty anthem like "The Rest of the Night" wouldâ€™ve sounded like yet another dumb argument for hedonism, and "Numb as a Statue" might have come off as the self-lacerating joke of an alcoholic unable to deal with his emotions directly. However, on The Wind, these songs are genuinely touching, the work of a guy deadened by meds but unwilling to surrender to The Big Sleep just yet. A cover of Dylanâ€™s "Knockinâ€™ on Heavenâ€™s Door" is the albumâ€™s most direct comment on Zevonâ€™s fragile health, but the most touching song is the album-closing acoustic ballad "Keep Me in Your Heart," recorded by Zevon at home after the star-studded studio work was complete. Clearly, Zevon survived one hell of a farewell party last night, but now it's morning again and thereâ€™s no telling what the rest of the day might bring. --Keith Moerer
Manufacturer: Warner Bros.
Brand: SEALS & CROFTS
Certified at 2 million units by the RIAA. (2/01) Although the prime exponents of the '70s California soft rock style were album artists such as America, Bread, and Poco, Seals and Crofts--essentially an AM singles band--have aged even better. The key is in their tight songwriting. "Summer Breeze," "Diamond Girl," and the rest of the hits display an odd, but apt, sense of arrangement and instrumentation--and enough of a rock & roll sensibility to keep their sound from slumping into period piece laid-backism. Case in point: The duo's first band was the Champs, noted for the fake-Latin crudhopper "Tequila." Even so, it's not grit, but ace songcraft that captures the prize here. All of the ace songs are included. --Gavin McNett
2003 LP reissue on 140-gram vinyl. Breaking away from his alt. country sound, Adams tunes into a pop and rock sound from the 1970s. In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, his song "New York, New York" took on new meaning from a lovelorn song to a swaggering song about resilience that hit big on the air waves and MTV. Adams pays homage to his favorite artists from the '70s, and the influences of Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Van Morrison and Elton John are pretty clear. This 3-time Grammy nominated album was originally intended as a double album, but the label at the time cut it down and gave out a bonus 5-song CD to a limited number of fans. This reissue makes it a true double album with 21 songs pressed into 140-gram vinyl. Lost Highway Records.