Keith Richards – “Crosseyed Heart” (2015)

October 3, 2015 at 1:54 pm (Music, Reviews & Articles, The Rolling Stones)

This review of Keef’s first new solo album in 23 years comes from Paste, written by Holly Gleason, Sept. 15, 2015…

As rock’s enduring pirate, Keith Richards embodies swagger, sangfroid and a certain delicious naughtiness. More than the Stones themselves, the guitarist exudes a dirt ’n’ salt earthiness that’s equal parts Rastafarian, broke-down cowboy and seen-it-all gypsy globetrotter.

On “Trouble,” the most post-modern Stones-evoking track on Crosseyed Heart, his voice is all worn rope and spark. The guitars tumble and swoop as co-producer/drummer Steve Jordan presses the beat with an urgency, Richards laughingly croaking “Maybe trouble is your middle name…”

For surface fans, the check is covered.

But the more eclectic material is where Richards’ wit and grit emerge. With the unfinished acoustic “Crosseyed Heart,” about loving two women, disintegrating into the frank admission, “That’s all I got,” Richards lets it all hang out.

There’s “Nothing on Me,” the low-slung blues shuffle of getting busted and getting out of it; a horn-flecked reggae undulation, “Love Overdue”; and the “Wild Horses”-evoking “Robbed Blind” basted in steel guitar—a tale of misadventure, a dusty half-spoken vocal, a plucked gut string guitar and an evocation of Gram Parsons’ finest hardcore country.

After random spoken riffing, “Amnesia” finds Richards sinking into the pulsing groove of the corner-of-mouth muttered mid-tempo. Fallout from being conked on the head (coconut tree, anyone?), its snarl suggests far darker pursuits. That misdirection to danger fuels his song and feeds his hungers.

“She’s a vegetarian, and me, I like my meat,” Richards enthuses in the “opposites attract” rocker d’amour “Heartstopper.” Waddy Wachtel’s electric guitar sweeps down, strangles the frenzy and drives it higher—like the great late mid-career Stones moments—but Richards’ snaggle-toothed confession of lust-fueled magnetism brings it home.

If “Something for Nothing” seems expected, the halting “Just a Gift,” all midnight and gravelly offer, has that gentleman rogue tinge that’s made Richards the most alluring of all rock stars. The smoldering, world-weary knowledge and always tender soul beneath the leathery exterior beckon.

Followed by a drawn-out “Good Night Irene,” delivered like the dissolute’s “Amazing Grace,” Crosseyed Heart is a hymnal for rascals, reprobates and ne’er-do-wells with hearts of gold—or at least kindness. Honor among thieves, love amongst scoundrels… Keith Richards has carved an encompassing survey of his own spirit and set it to a vast set of influences for all to see.

Holly Gleason

http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2015/09/keith-richards-crosseyed-heart-review.html

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Squeeze – “Cradle to the Grave” (2015)

October 3, 2015 at 1:42 pm (Music, Reviews & Articles)

The return of Difford & Tilbrook! A review of the first brand-new Squeeze album in 17 years. Written by Rob Mesure on the MusicOMH website, dated Sept. 29, 2015…

Danny Baker makes little apology for the lack of authentic grit and misery in Going to Sea in a Sieve, his memoir of growing up in 1970s Bermondsey: “What was our life like in the noisy, dangerous and polluted industrial pock mark [in] one of the capital’s toughest neighbourhoods?” asks the ever-affable broadcaster. “Utterly magnificent, and I’d give anything to climb inside it again.” Now that the book is being brought to vivid brown-and-orange life in the BBC series Cradle to Grave, who better to provide original songs for the soundtrack than Baker’s old schoolmate Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook?

Since their most recent reunion in 2007, Squeeze have released Spot the Difference – a 2010 album of classic songs re-recorded – and an EP of new songs, but Cradle to the Grave is the first full album of (mostly) new material to emerge in 17 years. Tilbrook initially contacted Baker after reading his book with a view to working on a musical; what has emerged instead is an album that complements a television series, but works just as well without it.

Difford and Tilbrook, both clearly back on something approaching the top of their respective games, write in a variety of styles here, echoing the grab-bag approach that worked so well on East Side Story. The excellent title track has vamping ukulele and piano and gospel backing vocals, while “Nirvana” is a middle-aged disco shuffle; “Top of the Form” tips a hat to former producer Elvis Costello and the stand-out “Sunny” – a re-write of “Tommy” from 2012’s Packet of Four EP – marries an “Eleanor Rigby” string arrangement to schools programming analogue synthesiser.

But above all, these sound like Squeeze songs: back together but still an octave apart, Difford’s gruff and conversational brogue is, as always, perfectly complemented by Tilbrook’s breezy and boyish tones, almost untarnished by the intervening years. A rather underrated guitarist – bands of their era not necessarily being looked to for technical chops – Tilbrook’s playing is also undimmed by the passage of time: his solo on “Happy Days” in particular is all jazzy chromatic runs and country twang, like the offspring of Larry Carlton and Carl Perkins.

Taking situations encountered by the young Baker and his family as starting points, Difford tackles these teenage reminiscences with characteristic wit and feeling. There’s awkward fumbling at a party in “Only 15” and the agony of schooldays in “Top of the Form” (“the teachers all loathed me”), while “Sunny” basks in the liberation that music seemed to offer; only “Haywire,” detailing the protagonist’s pubescent (ahem) ‘private time’ borders on too much information. Meanwhile, “Nirvana” is an affecting look at the parents left behind when the children leave the nest, unsure how to spend their new found freedom: “He quibbled with ambition, she fell into a rut.”

As implied by Baker’s fond recollection, this is mostly nostalgia without the ache, the madeleine dunked in a steaming mug of Bovril. While the penultimate “Everywhere” hints at dissatisfaction with where life has led (“The debris of my life will never let me sleep”), the closing “Snap, Crackle and Pop” is optimistic (“I’ve been giving my past away … Now I’m living with the best of me”). Warm, melodic and acutely observed, Cradle to the Grave is a convincing return from two of our very finest songwriters.

Rob Mesure 

http://www.musicomh.com/reviews/albums/squeeze-cradle-grave

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Lynyrd Skynyrd – “Saturday Night Special” (1975)

October 3, 2015 at 12:51 pm (Life & Politics, Music)

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“Demand a Plan to End Gun Violence” PSA (2015)

October 3, 2015 at 12:39 pm (Life & Politics)

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Keith Richards – “Trouble” (2015)

October 3, 2015 at 11:27 am (Music, The Rolling Stones)

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Bernie Sanders – Interview on “Iowa Press” (Sept. 6, 2015)

October 3, 2015 at 11:24 am (Life & Politics)

#FeelTheBern #Bernie2016

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President Obama’s Press Conference for the Oregon Shooting (Oct. 1, 2015)

October 3, 2015 at 11:01 am (Life & Politics)

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President Obama’s Weekly Address (Sept. 26, 2015)

October 3, 2015 at 10:49 am (Life & Politics)

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