Ian Jones- Arkansauce- Steve Dawson- The Petersens

Ian Jones - Results Not Typical

An Americana artist based in Seattle, Jones begins Results Not Typical with the understated road song "Rollin," a cut that sounds not unlike the wistful side of Jackson Browne. "You Can't" is about being remorseful for things done and said, things that have been hurtful and can't be undone, where Jones' voice is appropriately drenched in regret. "Lost Highway," a Jones original and not the Hank Williams song, tunes into a sort of Little Feat funkiness and is one of the most upbeat songs on the album; another buoyant number is "Without You I'm Lost," a cut that would fit nicely into the Jimmy Buffett oeuvre. Most of the album is melancholy though and the reflective "Goodbyes are the Hardest Words" ends the album in that mood.

Arkansauce - OK to Wonder

Here's the fifth album from Ozarks-bred bluegrass band Arkansauce, holding 11 original tunes. A foursome consisting of Adam Collins on lead vocals, piano and banjo, Tom Andersen on bass and vocals, Zac Archuleta on guitar and vocals and Ethan Bush on mandolin and vocals, Arkansauce plays both traditional bluegrass and in more progressive styles. Examples of the former are the banjo-driven "Up on the Shelf," a vocal number, and the instrumental "Big City Chicken" which starts out quietly before evolving into a lively poultry dance. The instrumental "Bim Batta" is one of the more progressive numbers on the record; funky and folksy and full of precise picking and melodic twists and turns the cut has a Grateful Dead vibe to it. The graphics for the CD cover are a nod to psychedelia and "The Funky Gorilla," another instrumental, is perhaps the best example here of how the guys blend psych into a down-to-earth groove. No wondering about it, fans that like bluegrass that goes beyond the classic sound will fall in love with OK to Wonder quickly.

Steve Dawson - Eyes Closed, Dreaming
Dawson is a Canadian living in Nashville, known for his guitar playing prowess and he opens Eyes Closed, Dreaming with a cover of "Long Time to Get Old," a cut written by fellow Canuck, the late Ian Tyson. The soulful mid-tempo song features Dawson playing sweet slide guitar and harmonizing with guest singer Allison Russell. Dawson switches to nylon string guitar for the lead instrument on the self-penned (with pal Matt Patershuk) "A Gift;" mid song he plays a haunting pedal steel solo. Other covers included are a nice take on Bobby Charles' "Small Town Talk" (covered decades ago by Rick Danko), the Cowboy Jack Clement chestnut "Guess Things Happen That Way," famously covered by Johnny Cash, and album closer "Let Him Go on Mama," a wordy vocal with delicate picking that was written by John Hartford. About half the album is original Dawson or Dawson/Patershuk material though, including highlights "The Owl," an eerie cut again with Russell on additional vocals, "Waikiki Stonewall Rag," an instrumental where Dawson tears it up on his favored Weissenborn guitar as well as National guitar and ukulele, and the melancholy "Polaroid."

The Petersens - My Ozark Mountain Home
The Petersens are a family band based in Branson, Missouri where their show has long been a favorite. Besides their musicianship, something that makes their music so endearing is the honesty and wholesomeness with which it is performed, and there's big news in the Petersens camp regarding the title cut to this album. The City of Branson has named "My Ozark Mountain Home," a paean to the Ozarks where singer Katie Petersen's voice is as clear as a mountain stream as she describes the attributes of the area where Branson is located, as the first ever official song of Branson. The song is a Petersens original but in keeping with their popular show, the album is dotted with familiar covers meant for audiences to sing along to: "Annie's Song," "Take Me Home, Country Roads," "Amazing Grace" and even the Beatles with a take on George Harrison's Abbey Road masterpiece "Here Comes the Sun." The seven member group is a bluegrass band using instrumentation that includes fiddle, mandolin, piano, Dobro, upright bass, banjo and guitar.

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