Published: 04/11/2017 21:29 - Updated: 04/11/2017 21:40

Banff Beats online

Written byMusic reviewer Kevin Bryan

BANFF Beats online music review.Banff Beats

David Crosby, "Sky Trails" (BMG)- The veteran folk-rock pioneer may be in his mid seventies now but the one time Byrd and Crosby, Stills and Nash stalwart is also  arguably  enjoying one of the most prolific and productive periods of his entire  career . "Sky Trails" is the third solo album that  David Crosby has completed in the past four years and this gifted old curmudgeon has assembled a finely honed backing band to underpin his efforts here , including his multi-talented son James Raymond. The latter  also produced the album and had a hand in writing five of the freshly minted tracks, including the opening  Steely Dan soundalike, "She’s Got To Be Somewhere"  and Crosby’s  current single, "Sell Me A Diamond." Splendid stuff.

Lucinda Williams, "This Sweet Old World"(Highway 20/ Thirty Tigers)- Grammy award winning singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams recently made the decision to re-record the entire contents of her much loved  album, "Sweet Old World," re-vamping the package  with  some fresh new arrangements and the addition  of several  fine tracks that were dropped from the original   release , including "Factory Blues," "Dark Side of Life" and John Anderson’s "Wild and Blue." The finished product is much more  raw, uncluttered  and visceral  than the  1992 original  and the  urgent makeover that stand-outs such as "Six Blocks Away,""Prove My Love" and "Memphis Pearl" receive elevates them to a whole new musical level in the process.

Soft Machine, "Seven" (Talking Elephant)- This mildly esoteric offering first saw the light of day in 1974 and found keyboardist and long term Soft Machine mainstay Mike Ratledge working with three former members of fellow jazz-rock outfit Nucleus in the shape of bassist Roy Babbington, pianist and reedman Karl Jenkins and  demon drummer John Marshall. The sound which these  four  talented  musicians created together  placed them firmly in the then highly fashionable fusion genre. with their finest  moments oddly reminiscent of the Mahavishnu Orchestra at their most  relaxed and accessible.

The Wailin’  Jennys, "Fifteen" (True North Records)- Exquisitely crafted vocal harmonies are the order of the day as the Canadian folk  trio return to the fray after a  lengthy self-imposed silence  with  a subtly memorable  package  featuring   affecting  interpretations of songs made famous by the likes of Emmylou Harris, Paul Simon and Warren Zevon to name but a few.  The latter’s musical epitaph,"Keep Me In Your Heart" provides  a genuine highlight alongside  Dolly Parton’s "Light of a Clear Blue Morning" and the English traditional ballad "Old Churchyard."

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