current listening 03/22

waco brothersOff-the-clock listening over the past week has included…

The Waco Brothers: Waco Express Live & Kickin’ at Shuba’s Tavern, Chicago – Finally, a concert document by the veteran Anglo-Americana cowpunk rockers. Too bad its blitzkrieg version of Big River is absent. But Cowboy in Flames, Death of Country Music and a renegade reading of Neil Young’s Revolution Blues nicely compensate.

The Chieftains: The Chieftains 8 – Irish music hangs around after St. Patrick’s Day like a sturdy hangover. Even so, The Chieftains 8, the second and best of three late ‘70s records the vanguard Irish music band cut for Columbia, still sounds sweet. Arguably the finest recorded collaboration between piper Paddy Moloney and harpist Derek Bell.

Marcin Wasilewski Trio: January – From Poland via the ECM label comes yet another exquisite and beautifully impressionistic piano jazz trio. Save for a sassy turn on Carla Bley’s King Korn, January is dominated by wintry reveries recorded, oddly enough, in February 2007. Stately. Meditative. Gorgeous. But it won’t hit stores until May.

Jim White: Transnormal Skiperoo – A little bit country, a little bit Twilight Zone, White serves up wily twang, earthy grooves and a touch of rural faith and mystery. The hullabaloo mood of Crash into the Sun may catch your ear at first. But the disarmingly poetic Plywood Superman is a sobering, human snapshot that nicely disrupts the party.

California Guitar Trio: Live – An official bootleg as well as a remarkably immediate performance souvenir. The CGT routinely records its shows, edits out the chat and whips the whole thing into a portable CD duplicator. Within 15 minutes of the close to its March 11 concert in Louisville, you had a recording of it in your hands. Very cool.

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