January 27, 2020

The Magpie Salute – The Magpie Salute – Eagle Rock

FourScore
By Kristi Kates | July 29, 2017

Just formed at the end of last year, The Magpie Salute is a spinoff of The Black Crowes, consisting of former The Black Crowes members Rich Robinson, Sven Pipien, and Marc Ford (The Crowes broke up in 2015.) The Salute’s sound is very reminiscent of the Crowes, most obviously so on tracks like the heavy-rock “Omission,” and a cover of War’s “War Drums”; the apple didn’t fall far from the tree on this one, so it essentially serves as a continuation of the Crowes long gone. ** ½

Gary Clark Jr. – Live/North America 2016 – Warner Bros.
Presenting his second live album since his major label debut just five years ago (the man has a solid affinity for live music), Clark returns with his confident performing skills and compelling stage presence (obvious even just via the audio), steadily playing through most of his 2015 studio album, The Story of Sonny Boy Slim. Also of note here are Clark’s choices of live covers, which include Elmore James’ “My Baby’s Gone” and Jimmy Reed’s  “Honest I Do,” the latter showcasing Clark’s own ability to respectfully imitate his own inspirations. The production values make this a great live listen. ***

North Mississippi Allstars – Prayer for Peace – Legacy
Speaking of politics, the Dickinson brothers, along with some musical pals, rattle the cage of several different topics as this album gets rolling — an interesting choice of lyric considering that their sound is rooted in the blues, which typically focuses on closer-to-the-bone subject matter. The music itself, primarily covers of classics (“Miss Maybelle,” “You Got to Move”), careens directly out of the southern countryside, with big boogie beats and abbreviated arrangements to get in and out of the tunes fast, missing nary a hook. ** ½

Gov’t Mule – Revolution Come, Revolution Go – Fantasy

They’ve brought their same ol’ sound to a brand new label, and for fans of Gov’t Mule, that’s a bonus. The musical chemistry between singer Warren Haynes and his bandmates hasn’t waned with their change; instead, it seems to have energized them for these straightforward Southern-rock jams. The grit displayed here isn’t for everyone, but with that in mind, the highlights include the audibly disgruntled, possibly political “Stone Cold Rage,” complete with sneering, wailing guitar riffs; the expressive “Sarah, Surrender”; and the darkly soulful ballad “Easy Times.” **

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