Terry Allen, who’s performed here in Fallon a couple of times, has a new CD, his first in more than fourteen years, “Bottom of the World” (TLA Recordings). Allen is one of the most literate of the crop of Texas singer-songwriters and the new CD is filled with his off-kilter, and spot-on, ruminations on a variety of things from the shooting death of his dog, Queenie, to the death of John Wayne, the perils of being an emergency human blood courier and wondering if they dream if hell in heaven. Quiet, ruminative, spare and arid as the desert landscape yes provocative and thought provoking.
Then there’s the debut U.S. CD by Dead Combo, “Lisboa Mulata” (Dead & Company), an entirely instrumental album by the Portuguese guitar duo — backed up by some mournful horns, trumpet, flugelhorn, saxophone and trombone — that conjures strains and influences as varied as Ennio Morricone’s soundtracks for spaghetti westerns, the longing of Portuguese fados and the world weary despair of Nick Cave, often all in the same song. In addition to their music, they were even featured on an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s, TV show, “No Reservations.”
Another strain of world musics can be found on “Presente” (Masterworks) by Bajofondo, a collective of eight musicians from the bordering lands of Uruguay and Argentina, who were a big hit at this year’s SXSW music festival and have earned critical recognition for the blending of traditional tango with elements of techno/electronic music. They manage to effectively blend the sounds of bandoneon, violins, keyboards and percussion in songs that are both laid back and infectiously energetic at the same time.
Delta Rae is six-member folk-rock ensemble based in North Carolina — who will also be featured at this year’s Bonaroo music festival — and their debut CD “Carry the Fire” (Sire/Warner Brothers) features a rollicking songbook that highlights their four-part vocal harmonies. Drawing deeply from the well of Americana musics — gospel, bluegrass, country, pop and the blues — the group forges songs of love sought, found, lost and regained. Its infectious listening, especially on a song such as “Bottom of the River,” which is pure pop heaven rooted in acapella gospel. Check out the video on YouTube.
Last up this week is “Redhills” (Pinecastle Records) the second album by the Irish ensemble I Draw Slow. This is not your usual Celtic band; they’ve successfully managed to blur the boundaries between traditional Irish repertoire and the roots folk music of old time Appalachia. Their combination of heartfelt vocals, guitar, fiddle, banjo and double bass have justifiably earned them favorable comparisons with the likes of Gillian Welch and Alison Krauss.
Don’t forget the first of the city of Fallon’s free in-the-park concerts is coming up on June 15. This event will feature Fatoumata Diawara who’s from Mali and is one of the rising stars on the African/World Music scene. We’ll have more information on Diawara’s music and the upcoming concert in the next couple of weeks.
Kirk Robertson covers the Churchill Arts Council scene.