Buddy Miller & Friends, “Cayamo Sessions At Sea” (New West) The multitalented Mr.Miller is probably best known on this side of the Atlantic for his exemplary work with Robert Plant’s Band of Joy, and the gifted guitarist, songwriter and producer has now unveiled his latest musical creation, a series of intimate recordings made in the studio that he set up in the library on the cruise ship Cayamo. Some top notch roots music practitioners were enticed to collaborate with Miller in these unusual surroundings, with Richard Thompson’s rendition of Hank Williams’ “Wedding Bells” sharing top billing with Kris Kristofferon’s”Sunday Morning Coming Down” and Lucinda Williams’ haunting reimagining of Gram Parson’s “Hickory Wind.”
Larry Carlton & David T.Walker, “@ Billboard Live Tokyo” (335 Records) This stylish live package finds two of America’s finest guitarists sharing the stage for the first time as they delight their receptive Japanese audience with a set dominated by compositions from Larry Carlton’s illustrious back catalogue. The finished product is actually rather reminiscent of Larry’s work with jazz fusion pioneers The Crusaders, with saxist Paulie Cerra and keyboards ace De Marco Johnson fleshing out the overall sound quite beautifully.
Ariadne Daskalakis /Wolfgang Brunner,”Ferdinand Ries :Violin Sonatas” (CPO Records) Recordings of Ferdinand Ries’ work were once as rare as the proverbial hen’s teeth, but there’s been an upsurge of interest in this prolific composer’s creative output in recent years,and fine recitals such as this offer some revealing insights into the more intimate musical landscapes created by someone who was hitherto best known as Beethoven’s former pupil,friend and biographer. American violinist Ariadne Daskalakis breathes new life into three lyrical pieces dating from the transitional period between Viennese Classicism and Romanticism, expertly underpinned by the sterling efforts of her piano accompanist Wolfgang Brunner.
Ashley Hutchings & Ernesto De Pasquale, “My Land Is Your Land” (Talking Elephant) This unusual concept album has finally emerged after a very lengthy gestation period, and finds folk-rock veteran Ashley Hutchings celebrating the delights of English and Italian culture in tandem with musician and broadcaster Ernesto De Pasquale and an assortment of lead vocalists including Lester Simpson, Vin Garbutt and Chris Leslie. It’s an intelligent and ambitious project which deserves far more attention than it’s ever likely to receive in these benighted times, with “The Old Masters,” “No Juliet Dreaming” and “Working Underground” providing three of the musical highlights.