Loading…
Friday, December 19, 2014
Current Weather
Loading Current Weather....
Published: Saturday, 10/8/2005

Sounds

Neil Young is like an old sage who comes along every few years to share his wisdom, offer a spiritual helping hand, and say it's OK to be vulnerable in a world filled with sharp edges.

Generally this is not his feedback-frenzied Crazy Horse mode; then he's like a hurricane, wanting to tear everything apart. But over the course of his 40-year career, he's sprinkled in a trio of acoustic albums - "Harvest," "Harvest Moon," and the new one "Prairie Wind" - that represent the quiet part of Young's soul.

Where "Harvest" was fresh and new-sounding, and "Harvest Moon" somewhat dull, "Prairie Wind" is a comfortably rich, warm statement on nostalgia, family love, and a culture that seems to have gone mad.

Young recently lost his father and had his own health scare with a brain aneurysm, both of which are reflected in the fragile nature of the words and music. Strings swell on many of the songs, which are anchored by gently-strummed acoustic guitars, and soft harmony vocals.

Despite the serious nature of "Prairie Wind" the disc is not a downer, thanks to Young's craftsmanship and compositional skills. Instead, it's a meditation on the waning years of middle age and a reflection on counting blessings.

- ROD LOCKWOOD

Four years after 2001's "A Funk Odyssey," Jamiroquai returns, once again doing what it does best - mashing up funk, rock, jazz, and touches of electronica into a steaming sonic brew. Opening with the high-energy single "Feels Just Like It Should" the tone is set with a potent arrangement and solid riffing underpinning Jay Kay's vocals. But although Jamiroquai has perfected an individual style there's also a nagging sense that while the signature sound is intact, it doesn't move forward.

- RICHARD PATON

On what is essentially a good progressive jazz album disguised as a soundtrack, New Orleans-based Garage a Trois pulls out all the stops for an acclaimed coming-of-age movie by French filmmaker Klaus Tontine. The quartet showcases a wonderful mix of vibes, sax, guitar, drums, and percussion. And while it has a hint of the Latin, Caribbean, and other spices found in the New Orleans sound, it also has a wide open, eclectic style of modern jazz. Think of it mostly as unconventional nautical, island music with a sense of exploration.

- TOM HENRY

TWO SIDES OF IF, Vivian Campbell (Sanctuary)

The Def Leppard guitarist delves back into the blues on standards like "The Hunter."



Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. If a comment violates these standards or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box to report abuse. To post comments, you must be a Facebook member. To find out more, please visit the FAQ.