Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 10

So on this week’s Album Review Saturdays, which we are also doing a video version of which will share more insight and review because it includes panelist, Chef Jeff, we’re moving in an old school direction but for new releases. One is a veteran, legendary harmonizer and song-writer that has been doing genre bending in folk, country-rock and alt-country before it was even classified as such. A jazz legend on the saxophone takes us on another grateful experience through his musical palate. And last, but certainly not least, we hitch up some hard-happy rockabilly with a super-group of sorts that goes a stompin’ because they just can! Legendary musicians on this Album Review Saturdays give us their latest!  The Beyond Your Radio Video will give you the perspective of Chef Jeff and myself talking a bit more about this Album Review Saturdays choices, but I do encourage you to read on, maybe before you click directly to the video.  Please?!

Graham Nash – Now

Graham Nash is a legendary song-writer and harmonizer, most known for being a member of the Hollies, but as well – a huge part of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young [CSNY] (with our without Neil Young). Mr. Nash has always had a unique voice and tone that allows for some of the greatest harmonies in the country-rock or folk-rock genre. When he’s politically charged, he might be considered to be at his best, but on , “Now,” Nash chooses the harmony of life more often, leaving only a few instances of tit-for-tat discussions. His song-writing comfort remains, allowing his voice to edge out the lyrical perspective in more of an adult easy-listening pace. Don’t fret, there’s a couple of songs with some pace to them, but evidently, this record is more of a love-felt recording with subtle toned social statements. The orchestration, when it’s involved on a few tracks, are exceptionally well done and laid into the foundation of those songs, giving the music a slight change of pace and emotional lift in musicianship, which for most of the record is complacent. Graham Nash, for sure, is a master craftsman — still (no pun intended) it might have been a good idea to have production gather around that “harmony” and expand on it rather than letting it take up most of the space on the record.

The band:
  • Graham Nash
  • Brett Bass – Upright Bass
  • Alon Bisk – Cello
  • Todd Caldwell – Arranger, Celeste, Composer, Hammond B3, Handclapping, Organ, Organ (Hammond), Piano, Piano (Electric), String Arrangements, Wurlitzer, Wurlitzer Piano
  • Beth Callen – Handclapping
  • Allan Clarke – Cello, Vocals
  • Thad DeBrock – Bass, Electric Mandola, Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Baritone), Guitar (Electric), Guitar (Nylon String), Harmonium, Mandolin, Pedal Steel, Pedal Steel Guitar
  • Shane Fontayne – Guitar (Electric), Lap Steel Guitar, Mandolin, Slide Guitar
  • Whitney La Grange – Violin

Now  Track Listing:
1 Right Now
2 A Better Life
3 Golden Idols
4 Stars & Stripes
5 Love of Mine
6 Theme From Pastoral
7 In A Dream
8 Stand Up
9 It Feels Like Home
10 Buddy’s Back
11 Follow Your Heart
12 I Watched It All Come Down
13 When It Comes To You


Dave McMurray – Grateful Deadication 2

The legendary jazz tenor saxophonist, Dave McMurray has decided that one “deadication” is simply not enough, so he enlists his usual Detroit suspects to take another round of jazzy jabs at the crowned almighty jam bands of all time, The Grateful Dead. There’s no question that the production and musicianship is astoundingly amazing, tight and very respectfully in love with the works. Knowing the improvisations that infinitely carried the Grateful Dead’s touring showmanship, McMurray and his studs do much the same to the chosen set of covers. Some expected, some a little deeper, but all-in-all the festivities are truly given a boost with the guest appearances lead to unique instances of interpretation. Overall, I found the tempo and greatness of the project to get more on keel when the keyboard/organ comes in. It seems more fitting and allows the saxophone to take a sort of “back seat” in the hippie, traveling van. Me, I’m not a dead-fully direct purist, so this second half of the recording was really fun for me! While Grateful Dead enthusiasts might have some issues, considering the jazz rendering content (probably since the wind instruments were never a go to backbone), they would have to realize how the writing, conceptual musicianship from their long-loved band has even influenced a world completely consumed in improvisation and the feel and mood of a certain live experience — even if it is — in a studio.


The band:
  • Dave McMurray – Saxophone, FluteIbrahim Jones – Bassist
  • Wayne Gerard – Guitarist
  • Maurice O’Neal – Keyboardist
  • Jeff Canady – Drummer
  • Larry Fratangelo – Percussionist
  • Luis Resto – Keyboardist
  • Guest appearances:  Jamey Johnson, Don Was, Bob James and Larry Campbell.

Grateful Deadication 2 Track Listing:
1. Playing in the Band
2. China Cat Sunflower
3. Bird Song
4. To Lay Me Down (Feat. Jamey Johnson)
5. Truckin’
6. The Other One (Feat. Bob James)
7. If I Had the World to Give (Feat. Bob James)
8. Scarlet Begonias (Feat. Oteil Burbridge)
9. Crazy Fingers

The Barnestormers – The Barnestormers

It’s freakin’ Jimmy Barnes! Who? Cold Chisel? Oh, yeah, that was the character Tom Cruise played in…. No! That’s Cole Trickle.  Really!!?  How about freakin’ Jools Holland! Who?   Oh come on — Squeeze!? I’m not touching anything.   This is going nowhere!  I don’t even want to try to go on with the rest of this super-group! (I pause, reconsider) We’re going to anyway! Otherwise you’re going to miss out on this boogie woogie, rockabilly stompin’ record, which would be as criminal as mistaking them for a band called “The Barnstormers.”

Jimmy Barnes is a singer and song-writer best known, in our opinion, for his work on the soundtrack to The Lost Boys, which includes a duet with Michael Hutchins of INXS. He’s a rocker, soul singer with all kinds of range and rock-n-roll howl especially where it started with the band, Cold Chisel (check out self-titled 1978 release).  Jools Holland is a pianist who is one of the original members of Squeeze, and he’s had the pleasure of playing with greats like Paul McCartney, Dire Straits, Bono, David Gilmore, Sting, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison to name a few. He’s also been part of, what might be the best music show ever on television, Later… with Jools Holland which has been running since 1992 (check out the link to see how cool this show is).  The rest of the band is listed below with equally cool credentials.

You have the fever to boogie, strut, and woogie (whatever that might be) this will do it! Hot guarantee! This is not going to win any awards. This is not your Travelling Wilbury’s, although considering the massive talent, the collaboration is just as well done. This is meant to be fun. This is mean to open you up, and get you groovin’, which is one of the most fun records so far this year.  You’ve got some Elvis, some Jerry Lee Lewis (thanks to the piano tappin of Mr. Holland), and some great blues guitar solos to boot!  Enjoy, but we will understand those that this might be passing this one up. However – please do click on the television spot, and if you’ve never heard The Lost Boys soundtrack, that’s a must, if you’re a music multiverse traveler. You can go down the Jimmy Barnes and Jools Holland rabbit hole real easy from these places!

The band:
  • Jimmy Barnes – Vocals
  • Jools Holland – Piano
  • Chris Cheney – Guitarist (Frontman Australian punk-rock outfit The Living End)
  • Slim Jim Phantom – Drums, Percussion (Founding member of Stray Cat
  • Kevin Shirley – Bass, Producer, Audio Mixer (Worked with Silverchair, Aerosmith, Iron Maiden, The Black Crowes, Joe Bonamassa, Beth Hart, Led Zeppelin, Slayer, Metallica)

The Barnestormers Track Listing:
1. Sweet Love On My Mind
2. Working for the Man
3. Johnny’s Gone
4. Lonesome Train
5. Thirteen Women (And Only One Man)
6. Dear Dad
7. Crazy Crazy Lovin’
8. Sweet Nothin’s
9. Land of Hope and Glory
10. Real Wild Child
11. 25 to Life
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