From the late '40s and early '50s, Nashville's Bullet put out some intensely energetic R&B by Wynonie Harris, Max Bailey, Doc Wiley and more. Don't think you know the roots of rock 'n' roll till you've assimilated these tunes, all joyful, with plenty of sax and boogie piano.
The old-time-based tunes these women compose are a part of the fabric still being woven. With gorgeous harmonies and acoustic instruments, they are soothing at some moments, invigorating at others. Pay close attention to the sly lyrics.
If you love New Orleans' second line and think you're ready to branch out, Slavic Soul Party — all brass and funky, punching rhythms — is your natural evolution.
This will sound like treason, but if you're thinking of picking up just one piece of classic Merle, do not go for the reissues that track the early hits so well. The Bluegrass Sessions is the setting these songs deserved all along — lush acoustic support for heartbreaking truly hillbilly singer.
George and Tammy, Loretta and Waylon, Dolly and Porter — add Jesse and Brennen to the litany. This Texas twosome has nailed the country duet, mixing classics with originals true to the format: sweet voices, hot guitar and pedal steel, perfect boot-scooting and beer-swigging soundtracks.
No saccharine salsa romantica here, just hot playing with a healthy respect for roots.
All the usual suspects are here — accordion, fiddle, bodhran, various guitar-y things laid on traditional Irish tunes — but if you're looking for tunes for your trad dance class, forget it. For those with broad tastes, this rhythm-oriented contemporary reworking of heritage is unbeatable.
The title tune is a bilingual reworking of the Guthrie song, set conjunto style, a special nod to today's immigrant rights movements. Beyond the topical material, Sones' third CD continues their pattern of traditional songs with innovative settings and contemporary songs played on traditional instruments or in folk style. Ever wonder what the Brandenburg Concerto might have sounded if it were composed in Mexico?
Visit the Mercan Dede Web site and you can opt for English or Turkish. The CD, however, offers a blend, Western and Middle Eastern, traditional sounds with a good bit of synth/studio altering. This may be the most successful attempt to fuse Turkish beats and contemporary yet, hand drums and computers harmoniously coexisting with other indigenous instruments pushed slightly beyond their native territory.
Almost terrifying the amount of music these guys can get out of three pairs of hands! Accordion sounding of synth, singer musing trad lyrics on a Brechtian-sounding melody — all the sounds are fresh and original.