Jan’s TOP TEN Music CDs 2017

Jan's Top Ten NewMusic CDs for 2017

Most of you know that I am a staff writer for Buddy Magazine (The Original Texas Music Magazine). Part of my job is to review new music as it is released throughout the year. This list is the best of what I heard and is based on my opinion. I hope you’ll find something new that you haven’t heard before and that you’ll check it out.

#1

Willie_Boys_Album   Purchase Link

Just when you think Willie Nelson cannot do anything new under the sun, he does. I loved everything about this CD, from the cover to the liner notes, to the songs and production. But, what struck me the most about the project was the blending of voices and guitars that can only come from a family connection. Willie’s two sons, Lukas and Micah join him on this CD.

#2

Stars_Foster  PURCHASE LINK

This CD accompanies a compilation of short stories from Radney Foster, which made #1 on my Top Ten books for 2017. This entire project from start to finish a perfect example of what storytelling should be. I loved every song on this CD but one that stands out is “Belmont and Sixth,” about a homeless veteran.

#3

Close Ties  PURCHASE LINK

If aging has done anything for this timeless Americana troubadour, it has only enhanced his powerful songwriting prowess.  Close Ties, is beyond a doubt the most intimate as he weaves deep personal stories that expose vulnerabilities and regrets. It is quite possibly Rodney Crowell’s best work to date with wry, straight-as-an-arrow stories about his life.

#4

Lili Cover  PURCHASE LINK

There is no singular word that describes Lili Blessing’s voice…Pure, rich, subtle, smooth as silk, yet powerful and edgy are words that come close but fall short. She is like a young Norah Jones or Adele. Seamless transitions into falsetto and powerful dynamic delivery set this Indie Alternative artist apart from anything I’ve heard.

#5

Carter Bill  PURCHASE LINK

I get excited when I discover a new artist that has been around for decades making original creative music. Such is the case with Bill Carter. He writes the kind of songs other artists turn to for inspiration and their own material. For over three decades, Carter has been turning out songs that legends of rock, blues, and country have recorded. On this self-titled album, Carter’s unique style and skillful musicianship is the mark of a man who has spent a lifetime honing his craft.  Carter plays all the instruments, sings the songs and he also produced the album. Wow!! 

#6

kerrielepai1 (1)  PURCHASE LINK

Whoever said white girls couldn’t sing the blues have never heard Kerrie Lepai. With her powerhouse voice and undeniable range, she is a force to reckoned with. While Kerrie Lepai may be a new name to you, it’s one you won’t soon forget. If you love the blues and all that it embodies, along with the smoking hot guitar of Andrew Jr. Boy Jones, this album is for you.

#7

Steve_Krase  PURCHASE LINK

Houston-based blues harmonica ace, Steve Krase released his fourth album, Should’ve Seen It Coming, for Connor Ray Music. Most of this album was recorded live over two nights, at the Red Shack in Houston. The spotlight tune of the album is unequivocally “Repo Man,” written by brother David. It allows everyone to show off musically and vocally. “I won’t knock on your door/I won’t bang your wife/But I’ll take your car in the middle of the night/Cuz I’m a repo man…” The lyrics are catchy and humorous, but the arrangement is seriously incredible.

#8

Medullacover  PURCHASE LINK

This album is different in many ways, but mostly in the unique interpretation of lyrics and melodies done only the way Jerrod Medulla can. It is is fresh, sexy, sultry and diverse. It is hard to classify Jerrod’s music. It is a mix between Americana, Rock and Blues with a little Jazz thrown in.

#9

Keepsake  PURCHASE LINK

Nothing describes Mike Blakely’s vocal and songwriting style better than straightforward and genuine. Listening to his new CD, Keepsake, is like going on an easy rambling trail ride. Mike’s “no frills” music touches something deep inside. If you enjoy listening to lyrics that have meaning, tell a story or carry a message while the melody flows like a cool mountain stream, you will enjoy Keepsake.

#10

Baker_Land  PURCHASE LINK

What you’ll hear on Land of Doubt is stunning beautifully arranged strains of chords and melodies with lyrics deeper than the roots of an old oak tree. Baker is well-known for surviving a violent terrorist attack in Peru in 1986. He suffered some hearing loss in the explosion but has defeated all obstacles to emerge as a respected songwriter and performer. Land of Doubt opens with simplistic yet complex guitar chords from Will Kimbrough on “Summer Wind.” I am immediately reminded of Willie Nelson’s style of intermingling guitar licks with meaningful lyrics.

I hope you’ve enjoyed meeting new artists, perhaps finding new music that touches you or simply been entertained. Thank you for taking a look at a big part of what I do in life. 

 

Mike Blakely – CD Review

Award-winning novelist and singer/songwriter Mike Blakely has published 18 books, released by major New York City publishers.

As a performing songwriter, Mike has released 12 CDs, performed all over the U.S., and made 16 tours to Europe.  His songs have been recorded by Alan Jackson, Gary P. Nunn, Red Steagall, Flaco Jimenez and Raul Malo, John Arthur Martinez, Randy Brown, Geronimo Trevino III and Johnny Rodriguez, Johnny Bush, Pauline Reese, Debbi Walton and others.

And now he has a new CD release which I had the pleasure of reviewing.

Keepsake

KEEPSAKE – MIKE BLAKELY

Independent Release

 Nothing describes Mike Blakely’s vocal and songwriting style better than straightforward and genuine.

Listening to his new CD, Keepsake, is like going on an easy rambling trail ride. Mike’s “no frills” music touches something deep inside.

Larry Nye (Guitar), Kurt Baumer (Fiddle), Duke Davis (Upright Bass) and Shane Lively (Drums) accompany Mike on Keepsake, while Annie Blakely, Walt & Tina Wilkins and Larry Boyd sing backup vocals.

The album begins with a poignant song, “A Town Called Paradise,” written by Blakely and Ken Garrett. It is the perfect escape song. “My Same Old New Mexican Dream” is a clever play on words. “Easy Ramblin’” is all about slowing down.

Annie Blakey joined Mike in writing “Keepsake,” and it is a beautiful love song that fits the couple perfectly. “I missed you before I met you/I loved you before I knew you/Before we found each other/I was yours/you were mine.”

“Moonlight Colorado,” captured me completely. The melody and words weave a tantalizing dance.

Walt and Tina Wilkins lend their perfectly synced background vocal harmony on “I am Nobody.” The message carried in the lyrics is uplifting. “I am nobody/Nobody’s perfect/Therefore I’m perfect/Perfect for you.”

Written by Jeff Posey and Walt Wilkins, “Skipping Stone” is sweet and tender.

“Miranda’s Warning” is a haunting melody. He should have heeded Miranda’s warning. “The Island with No Name” has a Mexican flare and features Larry Nye on the acoustic guitar.

The album ends with “Don’t send Flowers” and is the longest track on the CD at five minutes. Wistful poetic lyrics weave a wish. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever heard a more authentically beautiful song about death.

If you enjoy listening to lyrics that have meaning, tell a story or carry a message while the melody flows like a cool mountain stream, you will enjoy Keepsake.

Mike_Blakely2

Purchase Keepsake

About Mike Blakely

AND, Mike Blakely will be our speaker and entertainment at the Texas Authors Institute of History Fundraising Gala at The Main Street Gardens in Dallas on October 6th!