May 28, 2020

Molly Tuttle – When You’re Ready – Compass

By Kristi Kates | April 27, 2019

While much of Tuttle’s work to date has focused on her guitar skills and bluegrass sensibilities, this album leans more toward her songwriting and alto vocals, both enhanced by the production work of Lumineers/Avett Brothers cohort Ryan Hewitt. This isn’t old-school Nashville but more of a current country-pop effort, best evidenced on tunes like opener “Take the Journey” and closer “Clue,” with its extended notes. The arrangements are a little overwrought at times, but for the most part, this showcases her abilities well. ***

Tyler Ramsey – For the Morning – Fantasy Records
Teaming up with engineer Kevin Ratterman (Strand of Oaks/My Morning Jacket), Band of Horses member Tyler Ramsey surfaces with his own music on this folk-roots effort, one jam-packed with solid guitar work and chill vocal stylings, including top-notch harmonies from a trio of backup singers that include Joan Shelley and Molly Parden. The entire album was written by Ramsey, and includes standouts like opener “Your Whole Life,” the emotional “Darkest Clouds,” and the thematic wrap-up title track. ***
Big Eyes – Streets of the Lost – Greenway Records
With frontwoman Kait Eldridge on vocals and songwriting, Paul Ridenour on guitar, Jeff Ridenour on bass, and Scott McPherson on drums, Brooklyn outfit Big Eyes traverses both the ’00s and the ’90s with its sound, which veers back and forth between melodic pop and garage grunge. Wry lyrics and dense arrangements comprise each track, from first single “Lucky You” to subsequent tunes like “Hourglass,” which marries psychedelia-inspired entitlement, battling lead guitar riffs, and streetwise verses. ** ½
The Suitcase Junket – Mean Dog, Trampoline – Signature Sounds
An amalgamation of Byrds-era folk, ’60s Woodstock rock, and a street performer’s approach to wacky instruments (think: a broken guitar, a suitcase used as a drum) The Suitcase’s latest, overseen by producer Steve Berlin (Leo Kottke/Rickie Lee Jones), continue that eclectic, potpourri-style mix with a dash of the blues added in on tracks like “Everything I Like,” the vast acoustics of “Son of Steven,” and the more country-Western inspired refrains of “Old Machine.” ***


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