Record reviews: Big Boi, Steve Earle, Dogs Do Dream, Ninjaspy and Jennifer Hershman

Big Boi: Boomiverse (Epic/Sony Records):

By Album 3, Big Boi’s mix of Atlanta hip hop, Detroit house and other EDM styles with good, old, dirty funk is a template to his solo career. That it also happens to be some of the most-engaging rap being released is a bonus. An album that moves from the looped honky-tonk piano and slurred sleaze of All Night to the ridiculously banging Chocolate (f. Troze) and the almost Daft-Punk-meets-Prince pulse of Freakonomics is destined to appeal to a wide-range of listeners. Perhaps the only group that will be less excited might be those who miss their Outkast, as the more straight-up raps like Made Man and Get With It are probably the two weakest tracks. Over all, it’s another home run for the MC whose solo career has been nothing but fine.

Steve Earle & The Dukes: So You Wanna Be An Outlaw (Warner):

Earle was mentored at the side of some of the legends of outlaw country and it goes without saying that his music owes a great deal to the likes of Willie Nelson, Billy Joe Shaver and Waylon Jennings. Nelson, Johnny Bush and Miranda Lambert all collaborate with him on this release, but the true focus is Jennings, who Earle admits that he set out to “channel” on this album. He certainly gets right into Jennings’ rocking country feel with the title track and hasn’t released a track as hard as Fixin’ to Die since Copperhead Road days. Overall, this is a lot more electrified than much of his work with the Dukes, but fans of his rootsier sounds won’t be disappointed either. Local Memory, Goodbye Michelangelo and Goodbye Colorado are all softer, backwoods-type tracks with some really sweet and understated lap steel in the background. Given his talents have taken him into writing books, acting and playwriting, it’s refreshing to know that Earle can still get back in the studio and produce songs that sound as classic as Sunset Highway or Sisters Coming Home-Down at the Corner Beer Joint. Close-up the honky-tonks when these tunes get cranked up.

Ron Samworth: Dogs Do Dream (Drip Audio):

Scientists long ago determined from brain scans of sleeping canines that dogs do dream. But what about? Local composer, and longtime key fixture of the Vancouver-improvised music scene, Ron Samworth (Talking Pictures) used this fact as a launch pad to realize this 16-track suite integrating text and musical speculations on doggie downtime. Backed by an ace unit of narrator Barbara Adler, trumpeter J.P. Carter (Destroyer), pianist Tyson Naylor (Dan Mangan + Blacksmith), cellist Peggy Lee (Peggy Lee Band) and bassist James Meger (Sick Boss), with a number of high-profile guests, the songs’ titles reflect their content. Rapid Eye Movement could practically be synced to my dog in deep doze. And it’s hard to stop from smiling hearing the detailed experience of Lying on My Back (lying on my back/hands are rubbing my belly and stroking my chest/I throw my head back and feel my neck being scratched). The songs range

Source:: Vancouver Sun – Entertainment

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