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L.A. Beat

CD Reviews

Cheryl Thibideau taps into the spirit of classic country

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If you miss traditional  country music along the lines of Patsy Cline, check out  Cheryl Thibideau’s new CD “ My Heart Still Remembers,”
 Which she not only released on CD by vinyl as record as well.Click here to hear Cheryl Thibideau
 It open up with  some sighing steel guitar and  melody right out of the late ’50s and early ’60 on ‘Unless You care.’
 It features some Canadian country royalty as well including duets  with  2012 CCMA  Hall of Famer Johnny Burke and the one and only Ian Tyson, who sings on  Honeymoon and  ‘A Country Song,’ respectively.
 She has a truly beautiful voice, and that steel guitar just takes you back.
 The Johnny Burke duet is gorgeous. While the music is right out of the southern United States, the lyrics are pure Canadiana as  Burke and Thibideau sing about dancing with Anne Murray on “Honeymoon.”
The highlight of the record is her sprightly Canadianized version of Woody Guthrie’s ‘This Land,’ in which she seamlessly intersperses the Canadian national anthem in between lyrics of  “from Bonavista to Vancouver Island, from the Arctic Circle to the Great Lake waters.”
 Ian Tyson adds his well worn voice to the heart tugging ‘A Country Song.’
 She winds the record down with a solid verison  Buffy St. Marie’s tender tender ballad “ Until it’s Time for you to Go.”
 There is also an exceptional bittersweet, whimsical song themed around Christmas called ‘So’s Christmas’ about waiting for her boyfriend to come home  and finally propose.
— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
CD: My Heart Still Remembers
Artist: Cheryl Thibideau
Genre: country

Amy Bronson matures with Grizzy Bear Heart

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Lethbridge born musician Amy Bronson came back home in between travels to visit her family and friends and, oh yes, record a new CD this summer.
She recorded her second CD “couer d’ours grizzli Grizzly Bear Heart” with Jesse Northey.Click here to hear Amy Bronson
 Her lyrics aren’t quite as quirky as “I’m Allergic to this Deodorant,” and there isn’t as much fancy guitar playing, instead, we have a much more mature and reserved effort which really highlight her strong voice.
 She experiments with  French techno music on the French sung track “coeur d’ours grizzli. ” the English equivalent, “Grizzly Bear Heart” is  a more straight ahead  folk rock number on which she has plugged in an electric guitar.
“Canada” is one of the more stream of consciousness powered feminist themed number which reminds me a lot of her last CD.
“Manners” is my favourite track on the CD as it is an upbeat, catchy electrified country rocker which reminds me of Shaela Miller.
 The others are decidedly more acoustic, appealing songs.
“Noisy Sparrow,” shows off her guitar playing especially in the intro.
— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
CD: couer d’ours grizzli Grizzly Bear Heart
Artist: Amy Bronson
Genre: folk

Matthew Good remembers how to rock things up

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Matthew Good hasn’t forgotten how to rock, but still hasn’t forgotten his anger. And that’s a good thing, so to speak.
 While much of the  previous few year’s worth of music have been very much laid back, multi-layered and ambient sounding, he returns to form on his new CD “Arrows of Desire.”

While there are layers of levels on some tracks, for the most part  the CD is a straight ahead rock CD beginning with the title track.

Click here to hear Matthew Good
“Arrows of Desire” reminds me of early hits like “Hello Time Bomb” and “Everything is Automatic.”  It starts with a  driving bass line and carries on from there.

 The CD is chock full of catchy rockers, of which “Via Dolorosa” is definitely one of these.
“So Close” bristles with tight jawed anger and is powered by another driving bass line.
“ We’re Long Gone” is a straight ahead, tuneful rocker with a Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band inspired piano riff.
 There is a lot of Pixies influence on the songs especially on “Mutineering” which begins with a jagged guitar riff and tortured shrieking guitar powered intro.

“Garden of Knives” also begins with a shrieking feedback and settles into a mid-tempo groove.
Others, like “Letters in Wartime” are more in the vein of previous, more mid-tempo, ambient music.
So is the slower, melodic “Guns of Carolina,” which begins with chiming guitars and a slightly feed-backing lead and haunting layers of background vocals.
 The first single “Had it Coming” has a Nirvana mixed with rap and a touch of the Talking Heads feel to it.
Overall, it is good to have Matthew Good back and sounding like he is having a little more fun playing music.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
CD: Arrows of Desire
Artist: Matthew Good
Genre: rock

The Steel Wheels have fun with string music

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The Steel Wheels don’t have anything to do with the 1989 Rolling Stones album. Instead they are a Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia based string band/ roots  collective powered by  the songs of Trent Wagler.Click here to hear the Steel Wheels

 The music is powered by a whole lot of down home fiddle music. The entire CD is very much a bluegrass influenced  album with vocal harmonies and plenty of mandolin,  banjo, guitar and of course fiddle. There are peppy tunes like “Go Up To That Mountain” with a little bit of twang and some subtle harmonies.

 It is a pretty laid back CD overall, though they pick up the tempo on “ the Race.”
“O Child” brings everything together perfectly— the instrumentation, the melodies and the whole bluegrass sound  The Steel Wheels have got down.

“Until the Summer Comes,” is one of the more mournful , slower fiddle powered tunes.
 On a  more upbeat note, the Steel Wheels turn Tom Waits’ 2006 song  “Walk Away” into a folk/ roots song which works very well.

The other big highlight is “No More Rain” which is a toe tapping,  folky number which a catchy rhythm and upbeat fiddle which sounds like a group of friends hanging out and playing music on the front porch, which is, chances are, where these songs  were born. It is an entertaining easygoing listen, especially if you  enjoy a good  string band having fun playing traditional instruments together.
Catch them at the Geomatic Attic, Oct. 4.

— By Richard Amery, L.A Beat Editor
CD: No More Rain
Band: The Steel Wheels
Genre: folk/ country/ roots/ bluegrass
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