Hall of Dreams (Wave GuideRecords)
Madison "Bands" Together (Independent)
Over the past few months I've received a library's worth of CDs to review. Space and time permit only a few of these to get a spin or two and some words written about them. Unfortunately, some good stuff inadvertently just falls into the cracks (or should I say gets lost in the stacks?). So here are a few that might be worth a few dollars from your pocket and few minutes' worth of listening from your ears.
Bye Bye Beautiful from The October. Remember Britpop? Not Brit Invasion stuff with lots of harmonies and catchy guitar hooks. The stuff you heard a lot during the 1980s: heart-hitting harmonies in a dreamy atmosphere of ambient electric guitar. You can return to those Spandau Ballet days with this second release from The October. That's not to say Beautiful is loaded with songs that make instant prom-dance themes for 1985, but its dozen tracks capture and update the sound from twenty years ago. It's all easy to digest, from "Through the Waves and Stars" to "Holy Ghost," with a short trip into the club scene with "On Fire." Slip the headphones on for this one. Find out more at www.theoctober.com.
Hall of Dreams from Tim Pitts. On his web site, he claims he's taught guitar to just about everyone in the city. He exaggerates, to be sure, but if that were the case, our town would be filled with probably the most technically proficient guitarists than anywhere. In this his fourth release, Hall of Dreams, guitar teacher Tim Pitts demonstrates that scalpel-precise proficiency in a set of music that includes a classical work ("Paganini's 5th Caprice") and a cover tune (his rendition of Blue Oyster Cult's "Burning for You."). In addition to the solo guitar work, Pitts also plays bass and keyboards. Helping him out are drummers Andy Grabe and Scotty Martin. Long and short: If you love music where the focus is on the range of styles and skill of what a guitarist is capable of, give it a try. Find out more at www.timpitts.com.
Madison "Bands" Together from Various Artists. We often sing high praises (or maybe just regular praises) to the amount of music talent in this city. But we sometimes forget that there's just about as much in a smaller city upriver from us in Madison, Ind. About 40 of them have contributed individual songs to a collection called Madison "Bands" Together. It's a two-CD benefit collection and proceeds from its sales will go to Jefferson County (Indiana) United Way and KDH Hospice. In it you'll find country, Bluegrass, singer-songwriter material, Dixieland, jazz and simple, straight-ahead rock from folks like Big John Adkins, Rusty Bladen, The Hair Farmers, Jazz for Jesus, Whalebone and a bunch of others. It's a generous collection of music brought together for some good causes. More information is at www.madisonbandstogether.com.