CD reviews: Lisa Loeb, Skinny Molly, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Lisa LoebNo Fairy Tale/429 Records
Remember Lisa Loeb?
If you’re under the age of 25 you probably don’t, but your mom or older sibling might.
Back in 1994, Loeb had a huge radio hit with “Stay (I Missed You),” which first appeared on the soundtrack to the film “Reality Bites.”
That tune went to No. 1 on the pop charts despite the fact that Loeb had yet to be signed to a major label. That was quickly remedied.
Since then, Loeb has been able to make a career as a musician but has never quite been able to re-create the sensation of that first single.
For some artists, that might prove to be maddening, but one gets the impression that Loeb has found peace with that, and concentrates instead on making music that satisfies her.
Loeb’s latest release, “No Fairy Tale,” is her first studio album in eight years, not counting the two children’s albums she’s released.
While there is still no “Stay (I Missed You) Part 2,” there is plenty to like on this new collection of songs.
Loeb is a gifted songwriter, and whether she’s rocking out in grand fashion (“No Fairy Tale,” “The ’90s”) or being a bit more acoustically introspective (“Weak Day,” “Ami, I’m Sorry”), it’s clear that Loeb’s songwriting well is far from dried up.
If you’ve enjoyed Loeb’s music over the years, or even if you have only ever just heard her big hit, this new album definitely warrants a listen.
Key Tracks: “No Fairy Tale,” “Weak Day,” “Walls”
Skinny MollyHaywire Riot/Ruf
Listening to “Haywire Riot,” the new album by Southern rockers Skinny Molly, one could definitely understand that the band originally got together strictly for fun.
There’s a laid back, detached feeling to the band’s music, but not so detached that it doesn’t have some kick.
Skinny Molly started almost a decade ago when former Lynyrd Skynyrd member Mike Estes hooked up with several musicians and set off on what was supposed to be a quick tour of Europe.
Estes found that he enjoyed making music with the rest of Skinny Molly, and the band has been together in one form or another since.
Aside from Estes, who sings and plays guitar, the lineup includes guitarist Jay Johnson, bassist Luke Bradshaw and drummer Kurt Pietro.
If you’re expecting something of a radical departure from other Southern rock acts such as Skynyrd, then prepare to be disappointed. Although Skinny Molly doesn’t outright copy any of the bands it is so obviously inspired by, there are hints of Molly Hatchet, Black Oak Arkansas and, yes, even Estes’ former band.
Tracks such as “If You Don’t Care,” “Too Bad to Be True” and “Judge Parker” demonstrate the band’s sound perfectly: rock with a Southern twang that sounds perfectly suited for some roadhouse on a lonely stretch of highway.
While not every song on the album hits all the marks, the band makes up for it in enthusiasm. This is no-nonsense Southern rock meant to be played loud.
Key Tracks: “If You Don’t Care,” “Too Bad To Be True,” “Judge Parker”
Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double TroubleTexas Flood/Sony Legacy
The spark that lit the fuse that propelled Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble to stardom came in 1982, when the band played the Montreux Jazz Festival.
By the next year, Vaughan had played guitar on David Bowie’s comeback album, “Let’s Dance,” and he and his band had released their debut, “Texas Flood.” That album ended up winning a Grammy for best traditional blues recording and put the Texas blues band on the national map.
Just seven short years later, Vaughan would be dead, the victim of a tragic helicopter crash, but thankfully his music lives on.
Now, Legacy has seen fit to reissue that groundbreaking debut album, which features tracks such as “Pride and Joy” and “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”
The real reason to own this reissue, though, is the inclusion of a concert from the fall of 1983 in Philadelphia. Vaughan and Double Trouble perform five songs from “Texas Flood,” as well as covers of Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” and “Little Wing/Third Stone From the Sun.”
For fans of Vaughan’s style of Texas blues, this previously unreleased live performance makes for some great listening, and further reminds us of a guitar hero who was taken from us far too soon.
Key Tracks: The entire live bonus CD
By Devin Grant