CD Reviews

Sara Petite

The Road Less Traveled

After four CDs, and three San Diego Music Awards, Sara Petite has established herself as a shining light on the local roots scene. Her original songs have the kind of country songbird twang and spunk that made icons out of performers dating from Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton through Lucinda Williams. While her maturing style […]

The Drabs

Here Comes the Joy

The Drabs are a trio of local rockers who bill themselves as a “slack rock/ clandestine pop band.” Whatever that is, what they sound like on their holiday-themed EP Here Comes the Joy is a loosely based update on post-punk artists like Pavement and Paul Westerberg—edgy guitar, bass, drums, and Lou Reed-vibe spoken/sung vocals by […]

Anna Danes

Find Your Wings

Local jazz fans likely know about Anna Danes, from her appearances at various venues including her Jazz on Cedros shows. The songstress is originally from Poland before the communist collapse, and she has a fascinating story, including a mid-life reinvention as a singer. Her first CD release was 2013’s Longing, and she is back with […]

Johnny Suitcase

Cadillac

Cadillac by Suitcase Johnnie, is a R&B roots-soaked romp from the opener, Eddie Harris’ song “Believe That I’ll Go Home” to the final track, “Washington Hotel,” by producer and instrumentalist Dennis Roger Reed. It is a fast-paced, original and good-time musical journey. Front man Marty “Cadillac” McPhee sings his heart out even as he’s laying […]

Christine Parker

Between You & Me

Fallbrook native Christine Parker released an EP and full-length CD, Looking Glass, in 2013. The singer/songwriter’s pop makes full advantage of her expressive vocals. Her light pop isn’t unlike Norah Jones or Sheryl Crow, a songstress with good range, catchy songs, and a voice that melts into her music. Her new EP is Between You […]

Robert Warren

Shuster’s Hill

Robert Warren has a new CD out, Shuster’s Hill. While he lacks a big digital footprint, Warren is no stranger to the Santee and East County open-mic scene. He writes original folk songs with a touch of country melancholia. There are no rock crossovers, few happy moments, and his often somber lyrics are carefully considered. […]

Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches

Very Next Thing

From New York, Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches have a sound that is, well, unique. The band is built around Nick Russo (all manner of banjo and guitars, vocals) and lead singer/guitarist Betina Hershey. Add David Pleasant’s drums, harp ,and vocals, and additional vocal contributions from Miles Griffith, then add doses of unusual scat singing […]

The Glenn Thomas Band

How Long

How Long is a new EP by the Glenn Thomas Band, a followup to their CD from late 2015, One Last Stand. This disc is a brief, three-track taste that gives the listener 8½ minutes of the trio’s sound, but puts their best musical feet forward. Thomas’ band plays old school R&B, with a nod […]

Enter the Blue Sky

Re-Entry

In the 1950s Johnny Cash eschewed the rhinestones, cowboy hats, and other gaudy costuming that had become part of the aura and marketing that had become expected of country performers. The Man in Black also pared down the sound of his ensemble, doing without banjos, fiddles, pedal steel guitars, and high-lonesome harmonies. There was Cash, […]

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