Part of the summer fun is wondering which CDs will take the country by storm. Here at Citizen K., we make no pretenses of knowing what will capture the imagination of young people, but we already have a few of our own favorites. (Note: You can sample any of these CDs by clicking on the artist name and going to the web site.)
The Baseball Project, Frozen Ropes And Dying Quails, Vol. 1. The brainchild of Seattle musicians Steve Wynn and Scott McCaughey (with assistance for REM's Peter Buck and drummer Linda Pitmon), this CD is way more than a cute exercise in nostalgia. In turns ribald ("Ted Fucking Williams"), bitter ("Gratitude [for Curt Flood]), nostalgic ("Sometimes I Dream Of Willie Mays"), and rueful ("Long Before My Time"), Frozen Ropes successfully and accessibly makes the case that baseball isn't that much different from everyday life, reminding us in "Harvey Haddix" that "We're drawn to tragic stories/The ones that suit us best." Incidentally, the title refers to baseball slang for line drives and pop flies.
Teddy Thompson, A Piece Of What You Need. With this CD, Thompson emerges from the long shadow of his parents, Linda and Richard Thompson. His first two CDs showed a singer-songwriter of great promise; Up Front And Down Low showed off Thompson's peerless tenor via a brace of country standards. In A Piece of What You Need, his lyrics combine the melancholy reflectiveness of summer twilight with music that reflects the buoyancy of the day. A major talent who should be better known.
James Hunter, The Hard Way. Veteran Brit R & B singer delivers his usual strong set, propelled by his silky smooth voice, tough picking, and diamond-hard horn section. If you haven't heard this guy, you should. The Hard Way is as good a place as any to start.
Bruce Springsteen has released for download four duets (in both audio and video) from the Magic tour, including the brilliant collaboration with Tom Morello on "The Ghost Of Tom Joad." More here...
I usually avoid internet petitions, but this one is for an awfully good cause. Junk mail is wasteful and depressing and, really, why should we have no say in whether we receive it or not? Plus, circulating this one on paper would defeat the purpose!
Friday's Choice: Lady Day Digs The Prez-- Lester Young serenades Billie Holiday: