Great Album Reviews: The Milk-Eyed Mender (Joanna Newsom)

Album: The Milk-Eyed MenderArtist: Joanna NewsomGenre: FolkYear: 2004 Joanna Newsom plays harp and sings. When my five-year-old first heard her in the car, after about ten seconds he said “Oh! What a terrible voice!” Probably any discussion of Joanna Newsom has to include, somewhere, the mention that her voice isn’t for everybody. And now that’s […]

Great Album Reviews: Folkways – The Original Vision

Album: Folkways: The Original VisionArtist: Woody Guthrie, Lead BellyGenre: FolkYear: 2005 When Moses Asch died, he left behind an astounding legacy of over 2,000 albums in the catalog of his Folkways Records label. For over 40 years, Asch had been releasing folk music from around the world, and his recordings of Woody Guthrie and Lead […]

Great Album Reviews: Pictures at an Exhibition (Moussorgsky/Ravel)

Album: Pictures at an Exhibition Artist: Modeste Moussorgsky (composer), Maurice Ravel (arrangement) Genre: Classical Year: 1874/1922 Though originally written as a piano suite in 1874, way before anything like what we think of as an album existed, I don’t think it’s a stretch to call this an album.  If you wanted to, you could even […]

Great Album Reviews: Unearthed (Johnny Cash)

Album: UnearthedArtist: Johnny CashGenre: Country, Alt-Country, AcousticYear: 2003 Johnny Cash told it like it was and didn’t mess around, so I’ll get to the point: the 5-disc Unearthed boxed set is an epic statement that in many ways sums up Johnny Cash.  If you don’t have it, and you know who Johnny Cash was, you […]

Great Album Reviews: Beautiful Maladies (Tom Waits)

Album: Beautiful Maladies: The Island YearsArtist: Tom WaitsGenre: Folk, Singer/Songwriter, ClaptrapYear: 1998 In honor of Tom Waits’ new album Bad as Me, which comes out today, I thought it’d be a good time to look back at an earlier phase of his career. In the last few years, Tom Waits has somehow emerged as a […]

Great Album Reviews: Cleansing

Album: CleansingArtist: ProngGenre: MetalYear: 1994 I know I play acoustic guitar and play what are essentially folk songs, but a great album is a great album. Back in the early- to mid-1990s, there was a nationally syndicated radio station called Z-Rock (106.9 in Houston), a hard rock and metal station that did many wonderful things […]

Great Album Reviews: The Dust of Retreat

Album: The Dust of RetreatArtist: Margot and the Nuclear So and So’sGenre: Pop, Chamber Pop, IndieYear: 2006 Just after Pandora came out of beta, I created a station seeded from Damien Rice, and one of the songs that kept popping up was “Jen is Bringin the Drugs” by Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s. […]