By Mike Jurkovic
RoseAnn Fino – RoseAnn Fino - Highland kid moves to the big city and gets cocky. Having played guitar all her life, she starts writing cool songs. Eleven of them are here, vividly realized and produced by Professor Louie and featuring the Crowmatix. ‘Boxed Wine’, ‘70’s Trousers’, ‘Packed Up’, ‘City Lights’, ‘Change My Mind’, and ‘You and I’ highlight a singer/songwriter/guitaristthat makes you look eagerly forward and well beyond her next eleven tunes. www.woodstockrecords.com
The Trapps – Live At The Howland- This is what the sold out crowd heard. Really. I was there. I’m not coming at you half-cocked trying to sell the con. This is the Trapps Live At The Howland. May there be many more. www.thetrapps.net
The Whispering Tree – The Whispering Tree, Go Call the Captain, The Escape – At once disquieting yet soothing, there is a hypnotic welcome to this Beacon duo’s alt-folk. It can be heard in early flower on the ’07 EP –The Whispering Tree, 2011’s Go Call the Captain and this year’s matured, imagistic The Escape. Songwriter/pianist Eleanor Kleiner and songwriter, bassist, guitarist, keyboardist Ellie Brangbour create atmospheric textures of depth and light over which Kleiner’s classically trained, real time vocals settle into your consciousness. This is music to hear. www.thewhisperingtree.com
The Slambovian Folk Society – Folk - I wouldn’t be surprised if the abbreviation TSFS weren’t the weird chords to some life-affirming song (think ‘Unusual Head’ or ‘Box of Everything’, ‘Alice in Space’ or ‘Pushing Up Daisies’) that meanders without hindrance in the Slambovian breeze. Or maybe it’s an odd T#F# tuning. Either way, this captivating ten-tune collection of folk covers, which includes ‘Hurdy Gurdy Man’, ‘Sixteen Tons’, ‘Scarborough Fair’, and one Joziah original is just more psychedelic enlightenment from the freewheelin’ folks from Slambovia. www.slambovia.com
Miss Tess & The TalkBacks - The Love I Have For You – She ain’t Hudson Valley but she’s Brooklyn, ok, so we’ll make an exception. Borough chanteuse flirts ‘n fawns with high-strung hot western swing to the betterment of all mankind. Do yourself a big favor and check-out last year’s fetching Sweet Talk, 2011’s acclaimed Darling, Oh Darling and the fun-filled Live Across the Mason-Dixon Line. www.misstessmusic.com
And more: Don’t miss Elton John’s The Diving Board: wherein Elton, lyricist Bernie Taupin and producer T Bone Burnett keep everything elegant and elegiac. Elvis Costello & The Roots - Wise Up Ghost: Costello once again sneering at the wankers with a killer band behind him. Kara Grainger – Shiver & Sigh: LA’s rising blues lady makes a stab at the greater audience she richly deserves. For jazzers, Chris Potter’s The Sirens, Eric Harland’s Voyager by Night and Miles Davis – Bootleg: Europe ’69.
And then we have Paul McCartney – New - and perhaps this is the album that pushes Paul to stride onto the global theater not playing any Beatles songs.
He's done it before at the Reeperbaum and the Cavern. St. John's Hall in Lancashire, I've been building this hypothesis since Friday, 7/17/09. Opening night at Citi Field - a for-the-ages show I was truly fortunate to attend with Emily and our dear friends, Jodie and Jeff. Even with a dicey mix along the first base line, there was a surging spirit from the stage that rainy, celebratory night. It was the gut level feeling of a man looking to bask in his achievements, yet, at the same time, cast aside all stringent fan expectation.
There was the roiling evidence in the twists and turns of a lacerating 'Helter Skelter'. The shredding fierceness of 'Paperback Writer'. The relentless 'Let Me Roll It' and the exultant, childlike wonder of 'Sing The Changes'. For over fifty years, McCartney has held his mischievous, creative fluency in check in favor of the people's hits. Sullivan, Madison Square, Shea, Wembley, the Vatican. Always the hits.
Always the charm ‘n chatter making the girls swoon. Who in their right mind, would want to screw with that?
Well, for starters, me.
Associates still alive ‘n kicking might recall how I came home from that first Wings show - MSG, 5/21/76 buzzing about the music – all Wings and only six Beatles songs - and Maria, decked head to toe in Beatle memorabilia. It's nagged me through shows in '89, '90, & '93.
It hit me again at Carnegie Hall for 'Standing Stone' in '97. This no Beatles show came at me again in '02, 04, '09, '10, Seat 5, Row 5, Section 211 at Yankee Stadium (with more than twenty Fab songs in the set) and, on last year’s standards set Kisses On the Bottom.
Now, with the resurgent New, imagine the lights going down, the crowd roaring, and hearing this:
1. Save Us (New) 2. My Brave Face
3. Helen Wheels 4. Jet
5. Let Me Roll It 6. Alligator (New)
7. Ever Present Past 8. Everybody Out There (New)
9. Sing The Changes 10. That Day Is Done
11. Call Me Back Again (no piano) 12. Ball Room Dancing (no piano)
13. Wanderlust " 14. We All Stand Together "
15. My Valentine " 16. Maybe I'm Amazed "
17. Queenie Eye (New) 18. The World Tonight
19. Every Night 20. Put It There (acoustic)
21. Here Today (acoustic) 22. Calico Skies "
23. Early Days (New) " 24. That Would Be Something "
25. Wings Of A Nightingale " 26. On My Way To Work (New) "
27. The Songs We Were Singing 28. Tug Of War
29. New (New) 30. Band On The Run
31. Wine Dark Open Sea 32. No More Lonley Nights
33. Mull Of Kintyre 34. Listen to What The Man Said
35. Get Me Out of Here (New) 36. Hope Of Deliverance
Even the most casual Mac-head knows two-thirds of these songs and the New songs will blow you away. And everyone breaks out of their comfort zones to new revelations, just like all those years ago with 'Yesterday', 'Here, There, And Everywhere', 'Hey Jude' and 'Let It Be'. And this band - Rusty Anderson, Paul Wickens, Brian Ray, and Art Laboriel, Jr. – can pull it off with riffs to spare. By allowing McCartney the freedom to create, and not recreate our collective past, we would finally pay him back for all the hope and resourcefulness he has given us - releasing him to reach his full manifestation while re-discovering our own sweet evolution, finally released from the rock n roll museum we often lock ourselves into.
Want another set list? Try this one:
1. Venus and Mars/Rock Show 2. Dance Til We're High
3. Hi Hi Hi 4. Let Me Roll It
5. Save Us (New) 6. Highway
7. The Pound Is Sinking 8. Riding To Vanity Fair
9. Queenie Eye (New) (piano) 10. Once Upon A Long Ago (piano)
11. Wanderlust " 12. Maybe I'm Amazed "
13. I'm Coming Home " 14. Call Me Back Again "
15. Everybody Out There (New) 16. Junior's Farm
17. Too Many People 18. Big Boys Bickering (accoustic)
19. Here Today (acoustic) 20. Heart Of The Country "
21. On My Way To Work " 22. Early Days (New) "
23. We Got Married " 24. The Songs We Were Singing
25. This One 26. Smile Away
27. Band On The Run 28. New (New)
29. Souvenir 30. Tug Of War
31. Mull Of Kintrye 32. No More Lonley Nights
33. Get Me Out Here (New) 34. Sun Is Shining
35. Sing The Changes
Has McCartney written and released his share of clunkers? Sure, but you won't find any here, no matter how badly you want to hear 'The Long And Winding Road'. You won't find some of his biggest (and most innocuous) hits like 'Another Day', 'Let 'Em In', 'Silly Love Songs', ‘Ebony and Ivory’ 'With A Little Luck', ‘Comin’ Up’. . And you can make an argument for deep fan faves like 'Your Loving Flame', 'Same Time Next Year', 'Flaming Pie', 'Old Siam Sir', 'Picasso’s Last Words (Drink To Me)’, 'Waterfalls', New’s ‘I Can Bet’, ‘Road’, ‘Looking At Her’ or the early, Lennon-esque bside 'O Woman O Why'.
Paul McCartney has given, and with this powerful New, continues to give selflessly everything he has.
The time has come for us to return even the slightest fraction of what he's given us.
We can give him freedom from 'I Saw Her Standing There' and 'Eleanor Rigby', and with that freedom he can set the pace as he did so long ago.