Thursday, March 22, 2007

Adam Rodgers – Time and the Infinite (Criss Cross, 2007)

This album is strictly in a trio (with Scott Colley on bass and Bill Stewart on drums) and occasionally solo setting featuring Rogers rounded tone electric guitar and slightly more angular acoustic playing. All of the music is performed very skillfully but the record, especially the slower tunes leaves me a little cold. The cookers are played with aplomb and occasional sparks do fly, like on the taught and pithy versions of “Cheryl” and “Without a Song”, the slower pieces are very spacious and are strangely devoid of energy with the sound evoking thoughts of a clinically sterile scientific clean room. Songs like the acoustic interlude “Esteban” and the long crawling version of “I Loves You Porgy” never really pick up a pace to deliver memorable performances. It's a pity a saxophonist like Chris Potter or David Binney could not have been on hand, to give Rogers a more effective foil in his improvisations. While this is by no means a bad album, it just doesn't quite reach the heights of his previous Criss Cross LP's.

Southern Culture On the Skids – Countrypolitan Favorites (Yep Roc, 2007)

This is a very good and infectiously fun album of cover songs performed in a hoe-down-ish country rock manner. SCOTS have chosen a very eclectic batch of songs from a wide variety of artists ranging from The Kinks twangy classic “Muswell Hillbilly” to their British Invasion brethren The Who's “Happy Jack.” The group is not afraid to try to perform country versions of songs you wouldn't expect like a gussied up version of Nico's “I'll Be Your Mirror” which was originally cut at a narcotic slow pace. It's the love of '60's pop music that shines through the most on this collection, from the lilting “Rose Garden” to “Mr. Spaceman” and the stomping cover of “Tobacco Road.” Fans of the group will find this to be a treat, but anyone who is interested about what happened at the intersection of country and rock will find a lot to enjoy here.

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