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Nancy Wenstrom: Inside Story

Nancy Wenstrom: Inside Story

We get a sweet AOR love song with “Lucky Me, Lucky You,” an almost 50’s jazz standard of a tune; unexpected though it is, I just loved it. Billy Truitt’s accordion leads the soundscape of “Arms to Hold You,” with Wenstrom warbling through the sweet lyric and, as always, playing a superb guitar and singing harmony and lead.

9 Horses: Omegah

9 Horses: Omegah

Scary roiling backing keys and slicing wild singular notes get us into the blurping and popping opening groove of first song and title track “Omegah,” from the new 8-song album from 9 Horses. A layered sweet string respite takes us from all the cutting and braying then, as things slow down to a change in mood, and later things get almost Kansas-like (the band not the state) as drums come in and we are sailing once again, but this time with more purpose and melody to the end of the tune.

Killed by The Architects 

Killed by The Architects 

Following pretty much in this production and soundscape things slow down slightly for the low down roil of ” Wherever You Go,” with some neat string bending from Berke and the real moody (and equally laconic) “Like a Quote You Once Saw.” About halfway in, this ladder tune is one of the best here, really expressing some loss.

Night Ranger: ATBPO

Night Ranger: ATBPO

The heavy stomp one-two punch opening of “Coming For You” into “Bring It All Home To Me” sets the stage for the usual in-your-face popping this band as been known to deliver. Guitarists Gillis and Kelli deliver that classic Night Ranger double guitar riffing while drummer/lead vocalist Keagy (bassist Jack Blades is the other lead singer) growls through “Breakout” and “Monkey.”

George Gritzbach: Full Circle

George Gritzbach: Full Circle

Blues-based songwriter/singer/guitarist George Gritzbach gives us his 6th studio album, Full Circle, with a full complement of sublime players lending their talents.

Immortal Machinery: Bartok-ReOrganised

Immortal Machinery: Bartok-ReOrganised

In their tribute to Hungarian composer Bela Bartok, the duo here manages some tightly woven, superbly played modern classic-jazz mixed stuff. Bartok-ReOrganised is excellent, a great way to cool your ears and set things just right with a modern take on a world-class composer.

Gary Craig: Yesterday Into Day

Gary Craig: Yesterday Into Day

Yesterday Into Day is solid stuff mixing prog, rock even some country, under the guidance of a songwriter who has something to say.

Barista: Open Sesame Vol 2: Press Rewind

Barista: Open Sesame Vol 2: Press Rewind

The sprawling Istanbul-based rock project Barista, comes from Bahadır Han Eryılmaz. His sprawling Open Sesame, presented in five volumes (yes, 5!), embraces the listener in music influenced by Turkish folk and Sufism as much as Journey, Supertramp, and The Alan Parsons Project. On Open Sesame Vol 2: Press Rewind, one gets a sampler (tracks 8-13) of the 26-song Open Sesame.

Wise John: A Wonderful World

Wise John: A Wonderful World

A tentative jazzy piano floats behind the delicate voice of Wise John as he opens his A Wonderful World album with “Won’t Somebody Let This Caged Bird Fly?” Although he sets us up for another solo piano vocal paean all too soon on the second tune, “Leaving La” is undercut (in a good way) by a raucous bunch of backing of instruments for a positively Nilsson-ian wonderfully wacky tune!

Echo Us: The Windsong Spires

Echo Us: The Windsong Spires

Multitalented Portland-based Ethan Matthews indeed delivers a singular modern prog music expression with his Echo Us Echo The Windsong Spires.

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