All Ears: KVMR DJs select new favorites
KVMR 89.5 FM’s monthly music review feature, “All Ears” showcases fresh music handpicked by your favorite KVMR DJs. Check out all the reviews, with links to listen at kvmr.org.
Paul Cauthen’s ‘Country Coming Down’
It’s hard to say what’s more abundant in Paul Cauthen’s third album — F-bombs or country music cliches. The persona of many of these songs is a Texas party animal in snakeskin boots, honky-tonkin’ it up to an echoey, throbbing beat, fuzz-tone guitar, and the gritty, gruff, boom of a voice that Cauthen himself has dubbed “Big Velvet.”
It’s all “downing doubles, rubbin’ buckles.” Cauthen lays on the coded tropes of NASCAR, beer pong and rider mowers so thickly that you might begin to wonder if he’s a self-styled maverick on a mission to reclaim country from Kenny Chesney — or if it’s all simply shtick.
Due to FCC-unfriendly lyrics, you’ll never hear a couple of the songs on KVMR. So I’ll quote one for you: “Only got one hat–If you touch it then you die.” About the time you’re wondering if any of this is authentic, the title song comes along at the end and charms with its lightly strummed guitar, lonesome harmonica, and a subdued vocal that could compete with Rodney Crowell for sincerity.
Paul Cauthen is scheduled to appear at the Goldfield Trading Post in Roseville on July 12.
– Joyce Miller, Midnight Sun, alternate Fridays from noon to 2 p.m.
Lucho Bermudez y Sus Orquesta — The Coastal Invasion Radio Martiko
Cumbia! Vinyl! Booklet! This month, instead of my usual obscurities, I want to promote the “Oligarch of Rhythm” Lucho Bermudez, easily the most popular Columbian musician of the twentieth century. Cumbia originated on the Caribbean coast of Columbia in the melting pot of colonialism and its origins are vigorously argued among the various cultural factions involved, but almost everybody agrees that Lucho Bermudez brought this rhythm uptown from Cartegena to the big interior city of Medillin in the 1940s and mixed it with the big band jazz sounds of the United States and Cuba that the professional orchestra musicians played after hours. From Columbia, his music spread to Argentina and then to the rest of Latin America where cumbia de Columbia was second only to the Cuban son and bolero in influence. Like his hero, Benny Goodman, Lucho played the clarinet and his band was built for dancing. Like the American bands, he also employed songbirds including his eventual wife, Matilde Díaz. This makes it all feel very familiar for those of us who already love jazz of the 30s and 40s.
Here in the U.S., there has been a bit of minor craze for the cumbia over the last decade in the wake of the Buena Vista Social Club, and you can find plenty of CDs of Lucho, but this new release is a beautiful double-vinyl gatefold album with a big booklet full of pictures (in Spanish and English) and filled with all his best known hits. Digital or vinyl, you are going to want to get up and dance to this essential music.
— Ill Humours, Psykick Dancehall, alternate Sundays from 10 p.m. to midnight
Twang by Carla Ulbrich, Romantic Devil Records
With superb well-known country pickers, such as Rob Ikes, behind her, Carla’s songs become flashy neon enticing you inside to drink her words. Her new album, Twang, rocks …. the Nashville norm because Carla is the nation’s funniest comedian singer songwriter. She is clever and unique in her style of fun and entertaining lyrics. Her words are plump with truth through parody and twists of meaning, but easy to swallow as they are coated with the sugar of her humor. Consider a mash-up of Weird Al, Minnie Pearl, Loretta Lynn, Rosanne Cash and Cheryl Crow. That thought only leads to the vision of a truly clever, one-of-a-kind artist that is Carla Ulbrich. Step into the Twang experience of musical comedy and witty-wise songwriting, kick back and smile.
– Mara Noell a/k/a Ruby SlippersClick Your Heels Together, Saturdays from 4 to 6 p.m.
Dough MacLeod — A Soul to Claim (Reference Recordings)
Doug MacLeod is known primarily as an acoustic bluesman, with over twenty albums to his credit since he debuted in the 80s. However, in the last few years he’s been reaching a wider audience and getting the recognition he truly deserves. Besides being a virtuoso guitarist and eloquent singer, MacLeod is a master storyteller and brilliant song craftsman, dispensing timeless wisdom with a razor sharp wit and a keen observation comparable to the great writers of classic prose and poetry. Now in his mid-seventies and living in Memphis, Doug’s latest album demonstrates his artistic prowess to be intact and strong as ever. He weaves colorful tales of facing personal demons (title track), financial crisis (“Money Talks,” wherein Doug and his money are “conversatin’” until it says goodbye), veterans forgotten by their country (“Where Are You?”), and political shenanigans (“Dodge City” – not about Kansas, but about “Washington, DeCeit “). Doug’s bountiful good-nature and sense of humor keep the subject matter from ever seeming heavy-handed, and there’s a generous helping of comic relief in songs like “Dubb’s Talking Disappointment Blues.” Fans of acoustic blues, singer-songwriters and Americana will not be disappointed with the latest masterpiece from a national treasure of American music.
– Steve Cagle, Blues Spectrum, first Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m.
Born from the desire to promote musical arts, conscience awareness and community environmental efforts, Tahoe Heartbeat Festival will feature a full day and evening of national music headliners, local artists, arts and craft vendors, food…
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