A Sweet Relief Tribute to Joey Spampinato- James DiGirolamo- Tenth Mountain Division- Swift Silver

For this installment of Root 66 Kevin takes a listen to new releases from James DiGirolamo, Tenth Mountain Division, Swift Silver and the all star effort A Sweet Relief Tribute to Joey Spampinato.

A Sweet Relief Tribute to Joey Spampinato - Various Artists

Joey Spampinato, the former bass player and founding member of the often quirky and much-beloved NRBQ, is currently being treated for cancer and here a host of his colleagues come together to provide financial support through this benefit effort for The Sweet Relief Musicians Fund; all of the involved musicians are donating their proceeds from these songs to help Joey with his health issues. So buying this album will help and fans will get a fantastic set of tunes performed by an impressive lineup in return. Each participating artist chose one of Joey's songs to interpret with Al Anderson kicking things off with the rollicking "You Can't Hide" while Los Lobos cover "Every Boy Every Girl," a cut that NRBQ originally released on their God Bless Us All album from 1987. Deer Tick tune to the Bakersfield sound for "That I Get Back Home," Steve Forbert sings the delicate "Beverly," Peter Case covers the swinging "Don't Knock on My Door" and the Minus 5 romp through the quasi-rockabilly of "Don't She Look Good." The aggregation of Ben Harper, Keith Richards, Charlie Musselwhite, Benmont Tench, Don Was and Don Heffington take on "Like a Locomotive" and NRBQ themselves make an appearance with Bonnie Raitt on "Green Lights;" Spampinato appears only on closing cut "First Crush" where he duets with his wife Kami Lyle.

James DiGirolamo - Paper Boats

Songs like the gentle, folky "Sail Away" where DiGirolamo's vocals are accompanied by acoustic guitar and other light instrumentation make this a Root 66 entry but there are other sounds at work on this six-song EP too. The encouraging cut "Same Boat" has elements of funk and R&B and the lyrics have a message we all need to hear right now, "If we're gonna be in the same boat/Let's start rowing/If we're going to get where we're going/We've got to learn to row together." "Top of the World" and "Pure Joy" are both about being high on love and while the songs are upbeat they are not boisterous. DiGirolamo specializes in understatement and the EP's other two cuts, "On Paper" and "The Girl Who Has Everything" are in that vein. Overall Paper Boats is perfect for a mellow afternoon listen.

Tenth Mountain Division - Butte La Rose

This five-piece from Colorado sounds very much influenced by the Band on opening cut "Hot Sweaty South" but "Sad Summer" is more in the vein of Brian Wilson melancholia while the melody of "Highland Morning" is a bit jazzy, like a Saturday morning in the cabin after a couple cups of java. "Spring Chicken" is a downbeat instrumental with mandolin, piano and a bit of psychedelic guitar; as an instrumental the cut has no lyrics but it somehow feels very reflective. As if to answer the instrumental, "Get Out of My Head" immediately follows with an acapella opening before moving into an R&B groove. "Girl Like You" is fast and buoyant pop where Tyler Gwynn's percussion sets the pace, "Drown You with the Bottle" is a self-explanatory cut, again set to an R&B groove, and closer "Big Blue Sky" is delicate and introspective. Crystal clear vocals and instrumentation are hallmarks here on the band's third album.

Swift Silver - Swift Silver

Swift Silver is helmed by the duo of singer Anna Kline and guitarist John Looney and this album opens with Looney playing slide guitar on the loping "Belleville Blues" where Kline delivers vocals in a Southern gospel style. Some will hear echoes of Janis Joplin in Kline's voice on the understated blues of "We've Given Up on Us;" a seeming follow-up to that song's notion plays out in "Come on Home to Yourself," a fuzz guitar fiesta for Looney with lyrics that can be interpreted as hope for reunification with an estranged loved one, or as a reunification with God. The lengthy "The Fields Have Turned Brown" gives Looney his spot as lead singer over music that's slow and ominous in an arrangement that recalls some of Neil Young's work. While despair plays a serious role on this self-titled album, closing cut "Ain't Wrecked Yet" finds Kline's soulful voice looking forward to better times.

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