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Entries tagged with “Music Reviews”

"Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions" by Billy Bragg and Wilco

Fifteen years ago Nora Guthrie, the daughter of political folk legend Woody Guthrie, asked British singer Billy Bragg if he’d create music for some of her father’s thousand unrecor…

Ayahuasca

Welcome to the WorkBen LeeTen Fingers RecordsThe transformative properties of the Amazonian healing medicine ayahuasca are unmistakable on Australian singer-songwriter Ben Lee’s ni…

Book Review: Become Ocean

Become OceanJohn Luther AdamsCANTALOUPE MUSICGlobal warming and climate change are on the minds of many these days. John Luther Adams is no different. The 61-year-old Alaska-based …

Film Review: The Medicine

The medicine referred to in the title of Farzin Toussi’s documentary is ayahuasca, the fascinating, elaborate, and shamanic Amazonian concoction that the film seeks to promote as b…

Kirtronica

Jaya Lakshmi with AnandaSounds TrueThe latest creation by American vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Jaya Lakshmi is exactly what the name Kirtronica implies: a fusion of call-and…

Music Review, At the Temple Door

At the Temple Door Ajeet KaurSpirit VoyageAjeet Kaur encountered a spiritual sense of music early in life, raised by a father (Thomas Moore) who’d been in a Catholic monastery…

Music Review: 7

WITH ITS HUSHED FEMALE VOCALS and lush layers of keyboard and guitar, Beach House’s atmospheric dream pop is the sort of thing hipsters might sing their babies to sleep with. But s…

Music Review: Aeons

AeonsCharanpalSpirit Voyage RecordsLike her Spirit Voyage labelmate Snatam Kaur, American singer/guitarist/harmonium player Charanpal brings a silken voice and a fine sense of melo…

Music Review: All Is Love Is All

All Is Love Is AllDub SutraDub SutraLike Dub Sutra’s first album, 2012’s The Rise of Downtempo, this new release from this California-based duo is a thoughtfully crafted weave of d…

Music Review: America’s National Parks

America’s National ParksWadada Leo SmithCuneiformYosemite, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone—the beauty and wild spaces of America’s national parks have long been a focus for visual an…

Music Review: American Utopia

IN CONTRAST TO the stripped-down sound of his last solo outing, 2004’s Grown Backwards, former Talking Heads front man David Byrne’s newest album is a stir-fry of acoustic, electri…

Music Review: Aquilonis

Aquilonis  Trio Mediaeval ECM RECORDSAquilonis is the sixth ECM New Series release from Trio Mediaeval, the dynamic group of three Scandinavian singers. Founding members …

Music Review: Atma Bhakti

Atma BhaktiManish VyasNew Earth RecordsIn much the same way that spiritual teachers use words to point to the inexpressible, Indian vocalist and multi-instrumentalist/composer Mani…

Music Review: Beautiful Love

Beautiful LovePaulinho GarciaJazzmin Records and Shrinktunes MediaBeautiful Love, by Paulinho Garcia could be the perfect soundtrack for this scene in your life: enjoying a sunset …

Music Review: Binary

Ani DiFranco is now in her fourth decade of producing high-energy music with lyrics that are thoughtful and strong, personal and political. Binary is DiFranco’s 20th studio album, …

Music Review: Blackstar

★David BowieCOLUMBIA RECORDSIn a lesser-known tune called “Black Star,” Elvis Presley once sang, “When a man sees his black star, he knows his time has come.”More than half a centu…

Music Review: Build a Bridge

Diane PattersonFour Winds MusicDiane Patterson sees herself as a pilgrim and a global citizen cultivating positive change. When she travels to Hawaii, Europe, or New Folsom Prison …

Music Review: Buy This Fracking Album

Buy This Fracking AlbumFeaturing Meshell Ndegeocello, Natalie Merchant and the Felice Brothers, Rusted Root, Marco Benevento, and othersMusic Movement RecordsJason Samel was deeply…

Music Review: Call It What It Is

Call It What It IsBen Harper & the Innocent CriminalsSTAX RECORDSSinger/guitarist/songwriter Ben Harper is better known for his soulful, socially conscious folk rock than for h…

Music Review: Cello & Piano Meditations, Music for Relaxation and Healing

Cello & Piano Meditations: Music for Relaxation and HealingDavid Darling and Jacqueline Tschabold BhuyanSounds True Some years ago, pianist Jacqueline Tschabold Bhuyan suffer…

Music Review: Charity - Songs of the Native American Church

Kevin YazzieCanyon RecordsFor thousands of years, peyote has been sanctified as a medicine for emotional healing and spiritual connection among the indigenous peoples of North and …

Music Review: Clean

Paul Jones is an accomplished jazz saxophonist, and for his second album—Clean—he’s courageously combined elements of two other diverse musical realms: classical minima…

Music Review: Continuum

ContinuumNik BärtschECMLooking for a deep sensory experience? Hang out inside Continuum, the new album from Nik Bärtsch and his Mobile ensemble. This is 21st-century Zen-Funk Ritua…

Music Review: Crosswinds

Crosswinds: World Flute ConversationsRajendra TeredesaiReal MusicCrosswinds is a truly beautiful flute-based album; calming, evocative, and inspiring. The emotionally intelligent f…

Music Review: Deep Africa

Deep ForestBig 3 Records“Amber Opening” is a smooth, flowing song that begins this lively, rhythm-based album. The sweeping synthesizer pads, vocal harmonies, and cracking drums co…

Music Review: Deuter

DeuterReiki Hands of LoveNEW EARTH RECORDSReiki Hands of Love is a sensitive, melodic journey wonderfully designed for a connected mind-body experience. From the opening piano note…

Music Review: Deva

Deva Premal and Miten have been making music together for almost 30 years. Their mantra-based albums are loved worldwide, and, with Nepalese flutist/vocalist Manose, they play to a…

Music Review: Dionysus

Like all of Dead Can Dance’s albums, this Australian world beat/neoclassical group’s latest offering is an epic and ethereal work, informed by the music and lore of many cultures a…

Music Review: Down Come the Walls

DOWN COME THE WALLS is a heart-opening album about personal transformation and removing barriers to authenticity. It’s also about the political walls of our time. “We started recor…

Music Review: Elwan

ElwanTinariwenANTIIn spite of the danceable grooves that Tinariwen has been known to deliver, a Tamashek-to-English translation of the lyrics on this celebrated Tuareg band’s eight…

Music Review: Freedom Highway

Freedom HighwayRhiannon GiddensNonesuch RecordsFreedom Highway is the new album of soulful Southern tunes by Rhiannon Giddens, who previously won a Grammy Award as a member of the …

Music Review: Future Politics

Future PoliticsAustraDomino Recording CompanyElectronic pop band Austra was founded in Toronto, Canada, in 2009 by opera-trained vocalist Katie Stelmanis. (Austra is her middle nam…

Music Review: Heartbeats: Music Infused Nights

Heartbeats: Music Infused InsightsMonique RhodesSounds TrueAwakening to the present moment—“the eternal now”—is a spiritual thread that weaves through Heartbeats: Music Infused Ins…

Music Review: Here in Heaven

DONNA DE LORY’S new album, Here in Heaven, begins with percussive vocals that bring to mind Indian singer Sheila Chandra. Elements of pop, world music, chanting, and spiritually fo…

Music Review: Holler

Amy Ray’s sixth solo album, Holler, explores a range of topics like addiction, immigration, despair, and racism. The lyrics are inspired by Ray’s own spiritual and social sensibili…

Music Review: Hommage à Eberhard Weber

Hommage à Eberhard Weberwith Pat Metheny, Jan Garbarek, Gary Burton, and the SWR Big BandECMAlthough Jazz musician Eberhard Weber had a stroke in 2007 that’s made it impossible for…

Music Review: Immortelle

ImmortelleDeuterNew Earth RecordsFor critics of the New Age genre that Deuter helped pioneer, the notion of an album whose songs are named after various medicinal plants and flower…

Music Review: Incantations

IncantationsSheela Bringi Black SwanSoulful music has probably always blossomed from an array of musical styles and sounds across planet Earth, carrying within it a diversity …

Music Review: India.Arie

"Arie, who approaches songwriting as a spiritual practice, intersperses Worthy’s many romantic songs with contemplative tunes like 'Hour of Love,' which advocates Buddhist lovingkindness meditation."

Music Review: Is This the Life We Really Want?

Well over three decades since his departure from the revered psychedelic rock band Pink Floyd, British bassist/vocalist Roger Waters is still writing songs about overcoming us-agai…

Music Review: Jala

Charanpal

Music Review: Kala

KalaTrevor HallVanguard RecordsTrevor Hall’s new album, Kala, was written in Hawaii and recorded in Los Angeles and reverberates with an eclectic mix of reggae, Sanskrit chant, and…

Music Review: Keep Me Singing

Keep Me SingingVan MorrisonCaroline InternationalKeep Me Singing is Van Morrison’s 36th studio album—his first since 2012—and the singer’s smooth voice and bluesy lyrics remain imm…

Music Review: Komitas

Komitas (1869–1935) was a poet, priest, singer, and composer whose music ushered in contemporary classical music in Armenia and influenced composers like Claude Debussy. Komit…

Music Review: Land of Gold

Land of GoldAnoushka ShankarDeutsche GrammophonAs a daughter and former student of the late Ravi Shankar, sitarist Anoushka Shankar is in possession of jaw-dropping precision and a…

Music Review: Landfall

LANDFALL is an exquisite musical story of loss that’s been sumptuously crafted in this inaugural collaboration by two longtime forces in experimental contemporary music: Laurie And…

Music Review: Long Ambients 1: Calm. Sleep.

Long Ambients 1: Calm. Sleep.MobySelf-releasedAlong with being one of electronic music’s most recognizable artists, Moby is an outspoken advocate of healthy living. In one of his l…

Music Review: Lost Souls

WHILE THE TITLE TRACK from Canadian vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Loreena McKennitt’s 10th studio album takes its inspiration from Ronald Wright’s 2004 book, A Short History of Pr…

Music Review: Love Songs of a Zen Monk

Love Songs of a Zen MonkDavid RadioCD BabyWith a title like that, you might expect a blank CD inside the cover.After all, Zen is nothing if not contradictions. But since its morsel…

Music Review: Magic Ship

One secret ingredient of the new album Magic Ship by Mountain Man are the amazing harmonies. The three singers—Molly Sarlé, Amelia Meath, and Alexandra Sauser-Monnig—ha…

Music Review: Magical Ascension

Access your transcendent and adventurous side any time you desire with this binaural beat exploration of magical lands.

Music Review: Mbalimaou

MbalimaouBoubacar LUSAFRICA  Boubacar TraorÉ was born in the city of Kayes in Mali in West Africa. It’s a country that traces its roots to the 12th-century Mandingo cult…

Music Review: My Name Is Bear

“We all must find our own way home.” This phrase rests on the booklet cover inside Nahko’s first solo album, My Name Is Bear, and it’s the ideal aphorism for these songs and voice …

Music Review: No Mercy in This Land

BEN HARPER AND Charlie Musselwhite are definitely on a roll. Their latest album—No Mercy in This Land—is a burst of hard-rocking classic blues. The duo previously earne…

Music Review: Nomad Songs

Nomad SongsStephan MicusECM RecordsStephan Micus describes himself as a musical nomad; he periodically travels the world with open ears to discover indigenous instruments, along wi…

Music Review: Note to Self

Owing largely to the traces of Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Nina Simone in her voice, Jamaican singer and yogi Jah9’s style has been called jazz on dub, but the music on he…

Music Review: Om Land

Om LandDavid Vito GregoliDharmapalaOm Land is the latest offering from award-winning composer David Vito Gregoli. The album is a loving meditation on the divine sound OM, with the …

Music Review: On Behalf of Nature

On Behalf of NatureMeredith MonkECMOn Behalf of Nature is the latest album from pioneering vocalist/composer Meredith Monk. This diverse set of 19 sound motifs feels something like…

Music Review: Patty Griffin

Patty Griffin's latest album contains 13 songs of self-reflection, spiritual attunement, and social awareness.

Music Review: Peace Trail

Peace TrailNeil YoungReprise RecordsNeil Young’s latest release is as rustic and lo-fi as you’d expect from an album recorded in just four days. The singer/songwriter’s sociopoliti…

Music Review: Power of Peace

Power of Peace is a joyful album that fulfills a wish of Carlos Santana to collaborate with a band that’s been a longtime inspiration for the singer/guitarist—the Isley Bro…

Music Review: Pure Comedy

Pure Comedy by Father John Misty is a striking blues album that’s funny and sad, insightful and philosophical. One of the wonderfully crafted tunes is titled “When the God of …

Music Review: Radiance Mixes: Tibetan Bowls with the Mantras of Deva Premal

Paul Temple, the artist who goes by the name RadianceMatrix, is a practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism whose music naturally embraces the vibrations of Tibetan singing bowls. “I seem t…

Music Review: Requiem

Tigran Mansurian’s Requiem, dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide that occurred in Turkey from 1915 to 1917, operates on multiple levels: musical, cu…

Music Review: Ritual

RitualPeter Kater and R. Carlos NakaiMysterium Music Rituals are about presence, intention, and creating sacred space. Rituals also are brought to life through a process of play a…

Music Review: Sacrament

Sacrament is an album of ritual music with a Native American flavor by multi-instrumentalist Byron Metcalf and vocalist Jennifer Grais. The flowing, rhythmic journey includes …

Music Review: Sanctuary

SanctuaryPhil HaynesCorner Store JazzCymbals, chimes, and drums. Sticks, fingers, and brushes. These are some of the raw materials that Phil Haynes beautifully crafts into rhythmic…

Music Review: Saraswati Dreams

Saraswati DreamsJaya Lakshmi & AnandaSounds TrueAfter fusing kirtan music with electronica on 2013’s Kirtronica, former Lost At Last singer Jaya Lakshmi and her partner Ananda …

Music Review: Secularia

Twenty albums in, Eliza Gilkyson is still creating music of richness and depth. With instruments like fiddle, electric guitar, and mandolin accentuating her singing and guitar play…

Music Review: Shakti Sutra

Shakti Sutra Sheela Bringi New Earth Records With Shakti Sutra Indian-American vocalist Sheela Bringi and longtime collaborator Clinton Patterson have created a sweet …

Music Review: Solo

“Most people would never realize that I am closer to Thelonious Monk than to any other artist,” writes Wadada Leo Smith in the liner notes for his latest album, Solo: Reflections a…

Music Review: ​Songversation: Medicine

Eric Garner’s dying words—“I can’t breathe”—were caught on video in 2014 and reminded us once again that police brutality and racism are still alive and kicking in Amer…

Music Review: SOULROCKER

SOULROCKERMichael Franti & SpearheadFantasy RecordsThis ninth studio album from Michael Franti & Spearhead—soulrocker—continues their great tradition of very sing-along-abl…

Music Review: Spiraling, Ascending with Prayer

Spiraling, Ascending with PrayerLouie GonnieCanyon RecordsSpiraling, Ascending with Prayer opens with creation: “There was a time when darkness was it. In the vast emptiness, light…

Music Review: Stay Human, Vol. II

Since the 2001 release of Spearhead’s original Stay Human album, the band’s sound has edged away from funk, soul, R&B, and hip-hop in the direction of pop. Accordingly, while socia…

Music Review: Tell 'Em I'm Gone

Tell ’Em I’m Gone Yusuf Legacy RecordingsSinger/songwriter Yusuf’s voice still sounds much as it did when he went by the more familiar name of Cat Stevens, but the music …

Music Review: Temple at Midnight

Temple at MidnightMitenPrabhu MusicTemple at Midnight is the new solo album from Miten and this intimate, acoustic set of 11 songs reflects the fantastic journey he’s had as a musi…

Music Review: The Beautiful Not Yet

The Beautiful Not YetCarrie NewcomerAvailable Light RecordsCarrie Newcomer’s soothing vocals and inspiring music are grounded in social justice and authentic hope. “When you sing a…

Music Review: The Cut of the Warrior

The Cut of the Warrior is an album about slicing through the ego and opening to compassion. These incantations by vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Jarboe are simultaneously exquisite…

Music Review: The Earth Wants You

The Earth Wants YouRev. Billy & The Stop Shopping ChoirCreative CommonsRev. Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir have been arrested more times than your average Gospel church band…

Music Review: The Master

The MasterWarren Cuccurullo and Ustad Sultan KhanSix Degrees RecordsTalk about a musical journey: when guitarist Warren Cuccurullo was 10 years old, he took to the sounds of I…

Music Review: The Monsanto Years

The Monsanto YearsNeil Young and Promise of the RealReprise RecordsFolk/rock legend Neil Young’s latest offering is exactly what its name suggests: an entire album of musical diatr…

Music Review: The Prodigal Son

THE PRODIGAL SON is Ry Cooder’s first solo album in six years—and it’s about time. These 11 songs glide along a musical journey back to the roots of Southern blues, slide gui…

Music Review: The Prophet Speaks

Could it be that the answers we seek are right in front of us, but our ears haven’t been open to hear them? Van Morrison seems to have this in mind on his latest musical offering, …

Music Review: The Rise of Downtempo

Dub SutraWhile well suited for yoga and moving meditation, the 10 downtempo dub tracks on Dub Sutra’s debut offering make for a rich, transportive headphone listening experience un…

Music Review: The Spirit of Healing

The Spirit of HealingShamanic Journey Musicby Sandra Ingerman & Byron MetcalfSounds TrueThere’s a lot to be said for music that’s grounded in rhythmic repetition and smooth, or…

Music Review: The Spirit of the Earth

The new two-CD album from Philip Glass—The Spirit of the Earth—is a curious collaboration between the American classical composer and two indigenous Wixarika musicians …

Music Review: The Tree of Life

The Tree of LifeLoren Nerell and Mark SeeligProjektThe Tree of Life is a new album that’s described by its creators as “one part droney soundscape, one part tribal deliberatio…

Music Review: Tree of Forgiveness

SEVENTY-ONE-YEAR-OLD John Prine has successfully beat cancer—twice. One thing that seems to have helped him through the tough times is humor. His new album, Tree of Forgivene…

Music Review: Truth Is a Beautiful Thing

London Grammar’s Hannah Reid has a stunning vocal range, and her two bandmates hold the 27-year-old singer’s dark lyrics and deep, smoky voice within an atmosphere of understated a…

Music Review: Wilder Shores

Belinda Carlisle’s new album, Wilder Shores, has the former Go-Go’s singer blending pop with Kundalini mantra chants, a surprising and wonderful addition to her string of hit solo …

Music Review: Wonderville

Adam Bauer began his musical career as a bass player in a reggae band in Massachusetts. In 2001, Bauer took a new direction. “I ended up hanging out with Krishna Das in Hawaii and …

Music Review: You Want It Darker

You Want It DarkerLeonard CohenColumbiaJust before the winter settled in, Leonard Cohen passed away in his sleep on November 7, 2016. The singer was 82 years old. Less than a month…

Musician Profile: Donna De Lory

Donna De Lory’s new album The Unchanging brings attention to the sacred and eternal part of our selves. As can be typical of the mystery of spiritual growth, De Lory came to this u…

Rosa Parks: Pure Love: An Oratorio of Seven Songs

"'She was an activist long before the incident of the bus and the boycott,' Smith told S&H. 'Throughout history, human beings have always found the courage to not just resist injustice, but to dare to change the movement of human history.' The song 'No Fear' features lyrics based on Parks’s own words."

Tooth & Nail

Billy Bragg Cooking Vinyl Tooth & Nail is Billy Bragg’s first studio album in five years, and the self-defined anticapitalist “sherpa of heartbreak” comes through with yet anothe…

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