CD Reviews

The Hollywood Project

Olympic Boulevard

In a world full of angst on this ball of confusion, it is encouraging to report that another rock ‘n’ roll love letter of respite has arrived from the allied forces of The Hollywood Project. Olympic Boulevard is the second effort by singer/songwriter/guitarist Dave Humphries, lyricist Stephen Kalinich, and keyboardist/producer Wolfgang Grasekamp. It’s another ten-track […]

Nina Francis

Between Dreams

Nina Francis’ unusual path so far in her career as a singer/songwriter saw her leave the area for LA after high school, but did so to develop her arresting voice and writing ability at USC. She received a degree in popular music performance in 2014, exposed to notable mentors at the Thornton School of Music. […]

James Lee Stanley

Had Enough Yet?

The current political climate would lend itself to protest songs, and James Lee Stanley has responded with a collection, titled Had Enough Yet? A prolific artist who has been recording since the early 1970s, Stanley helms his own label and gleaned most of the dozen songs from previous releases, all but one originals. The songs […]

Shane Hall

Human Condition

Songwriter and vocalist extraordinaire Shane Hall is an artist preferring to eschew hard labels as to his style of music and brings to one’s players and streaming devices an alluring but slippery set of original songs with his new album Human Condition. Hall, highlighted in the August 2017 issue of the San Diego Troubadour, is […]

Papa Hoodlum & the Hard Truth

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Papa Hoodlum & the Hard Truth is a new album that teams up J.D. Boucharde and his crew of roots players. Local roots music aficionados will be familiar with Boucharde’s involvement in such projects as his one-man musical called Happy Songs About the War, and he released an album in 2005, Contra Mundum. A musician […]

Peter Sprague

Lucy in the Sky

Ever the versatile and prodigious musician, jazz guitarist Peter Sprague has been on a strong creative streak, with the relatively recent release of his fine collaboration with vocalist/ percussionist Leonard Patton Dream Walking (2016) and the 2017 issue of his collaboration with singer Rebecca Jade, the superlative Planet Cole Porter. The respective releases reveal again […]

Wayne Riker

Soulfully Sliding

Slide guitars are seductive. The rough-edged sound of glass or metal in contact with a guitar string is both unworldly and oh so human. A good slide player can make his guitar sound like the utterances of aliens exiting from their mother ship or a blues singer growling in the depths of his despair over […]

Marie Haddad

Stories from Atlantis

American artists, composers, and musicians have traditionally shied away from delving into the mysterious. The makers of our popular music—jazz, folk, rock, etc.—have felt comfortable in the world of the apparent. It wasn’t until the progressive rockers of the sixties that mystery became a component of popular music. Taking their cues from the Beatles, bands […]

Bobby Cressey & Friends

Cali Native

Organ master Bobby Cressey has assembled quite the debut album—featuring more than 20 players from the Southern California scene, including a myriad of rhythm sections and virtuosi soloists. Cressey has an undeniable flair for arranging dynamic and exciting horn charts and I found this album to be irrepressibly upbeat—primarily on the strength of those arrangements. […]