Category Archives: CD

EDDIE HEINZELMAN – Wherever You Go

Album: Wherever You Go

Artist: EDDIE HEINZELMAN

Label: One Louder Records

Release Date: November 08, 2019

www.eddieheinzelman.com

The Upshot: Crack Nashville session guitarist reveals multiple talents, moving far closer than 20 Feet From Stardom.

 BY ERIC THOM

 “Close, but no cigar”, is the sad takeaway for anyone who absorbed the endearing, Academy Award-winning documentary, 20 Feet From Stardom. However, Radney Foster’s backing guitarist revels in stepping well out from the shadows, revealing much more than his ability to play scorching guitar. His pedigree is pure. He’s not only met, if not exceeded, Foster’s legendary standards, but has also played alongside such country royalty as Lee Roy Parnell, Ricky Skaggs, Darden Smith, Vince Gill and Bill Lloyd (not to mention stretching into jazz, pop and opera territories as gun-for-hire). This display of depth may serve to explain the Indiana native’s inventive range but it’s interesting to note that the proverbial kick-to-the-head – the one that makes you decide on a career in music (at age 12) – came in the form of a revelation upon hearing Led Zeppelin IV for the first time. It explains a lot.

The overriding feel from these 10 self-penned originals (one, a co-write with Foster) opens a door to a genre that’s been left wanting since the untimely demise of the many of its progenitors: southern rock. And, as many a fan already knows, the blend of country, blues and rock are the key ingredients to this sacred genre. Heinzelman proves a shoe-in, despite hailing from north of the Macon-Dixon line. On Wherever You Go, his sophomore release, he launches with both barrels blazing on “Medicine”, combining the low grind of tough-edged guitar, his surprisingly solid vocals – tempered by Kendra Chantelle’s sweet, soulful backup – and the aggressive keyboards of John Henry Trinko. His slowed-down, honky-tonkin’ tribute to the great Mary Gauthier (“Dammit, Mary”) – one of Heinzelman’s songwriting idols – adds additional proof as to the strength, lustre and slight edge to his voice, as Trinko’s distinctive 88’s pound things home. The first sweet taste of the south comes in the form of “The Road” and Trinko’s (John Lancaster’s?) delicate piano accompaniment to Heinzelman’s surprisingly Allman-esque vocal, as B3 and weeping slide up the ante while adding rich colour to a song about the loneliness of the road. “Steal Away” is a palate cleanser and a gentle, too-short instrumental that leans heavily on acoustic guitar that alternates with two speeds as Heinzelman offsets his peaceful, easy feeling with lightning-fast, Al Di Meola runs that cascade in and around the main melody. It’s a lovely set-up to the disc’s key salvo, the 6 ½ minute “Dandelion” – a laidback yet riveting country blues composition that is all about scintillating B3 and sensual swathes of slide. As an added treat, “Dandelion” adds extra guitar muscle in the form of the Kentucky Headhunter’s Greg Martin as both artists pivot off each other like a pair of barn swallows on a day off. Vocally, Heinzelman could be a dead ringer for Glenn Frey (too soon?) and the wisdom of supporting the composition with the Bougainvillea-sweet ’n’ sultry backup vocals of Kendra Chantelle and (unidentified) lifts this piece skyward. If this song went on for another 10 minutes, it would still be way too short. Cue “The Heart Knows What It Needs“ – a more traditional country track that champions piano, country guitar and speaking one’s mind as it slags the state of current-day Nashville. The heartbreaking “Lonely Outweighs Regret” chronicles another twist of life on the road, as soul-stirring B3 (Trinko?) and stand-out piano (Lancaster?) join Heinzelman’s searing, snarling slide guitar, substantial enough to almost cut through the guilt of the next morning. “Shufflin’” is the second instrumental and one that again reveals a more jazzlike approach to Heinzelman’s guitar technique, relying on the equally gifted skills of piano/B3 players John Henry Trinko and John Lancaster. Bassist Tommy MacDonald goes to town with a funky touch while Casey Wood’s drums resound with a fatness that he carries throughout the album.

Following this, “Miss TLC” proves a surprise as the band exorcises a few demons with a down ’n’ dirty rock approach featuring a pounding beat as Heinzelman and (Trinko/Lancaster) spar over a straightforward vocal about a local tease, tossing in thick slabs of B3 and enough sensuous guitar solos to require a shower afterwards. Even “Miss TLC” gets in on this lowdown bump’n’grinder. Heinzelman’s duo with Foster on “Wherever You Go” is pure pop bliss – a sizzling single if there still was such a thing. Two sensational singing voices meld on an upbeat pop song, replete with bubbly chorus as Chantelle adds some melted butter into the background. Plenty of guitar bookends the piece, somewhat muted so as to not compete with the voices. This track sets its hook deeply and, before long, you’re singing it to yourself every time you hear it.

This album remains a pleasant surprise. Heinzelman is a phenomenal songwriter, a superb, range-friendly vocalist and searing-yet-sensitive guitarist, deserving serious praise for his ability to paint a complete picture. He may be a respected guitar-slinger-for-hire but he’s clearly got the talent to take this anywhere he’d like to go.

DAN ISRAEL – Social Media Anxiety Disorder

Album: Social Media Anxiety Disorder

Artist: Dan Israel

Label: One Louder Records

Release Date: October 11, 2019

 

www.DanIsraelMusic.com

The Upshot: Long-running singer-songwriter has released fifteen albums exploring his various musical passions but has finally found his comfort zone.

BY ERIC THOM

Dan Israel has had a long, impressive career – chipping away at everything from introspective singer-songwriter fare to alt-country before there was such a thing. He’s relentlessly sought respect for his craft and has smashed his head against the wall more times than he’s ever deserved to. A crack songwriter, Dan has had his Dylan phase but, without maybe knowing it, always wanted to be a Beatle. Along the way, he’s honed his wordsmithing skills and, despite his patented, world-weary sound, he knows his way around solid pop fare. On this – his fifteenth album – it all comes together. Surrounded with skilled, simpatico players who have built him the ultimate sound bed to feel comfortable in, this oddly K-Tel–looking package contains a dozen legitimate jewels. And while we’ll never have the Beatles back, Social Media Anxiety Disorder goes a long way towards rekindling that sparkle of smart pop recalling Lennon-McCartney, Nick Lowe – even Beck (Bek), at times. Through all of it, Dan is still Dan….strumming his acoustic guitar and singing his slightly nasal-toned, Dylan-hued,  “shout and fall” vocals. However, with ‘Anxiety’, he is entirely reborn, if not completely rejuvenated. Credit the quality of the songs and the caliber of the accompaniment, but this has the energy and innocence of a debut, give or take 22 years.

With one of the brightest intro tracks ever, “Be My Girl” is the epitome of bright, sunny pop songs built on a beaming bed of exuberant horns (Paul Odegaard, overdubbed) as Dan is hustled along, hurtling headlong to keep pace with this energetic barn-burner. Clearly the front man, Israel’s having the time of his life. Cue the Beatle-esque “125” – the album’s best track, from the choice of many – driven along by Steve Price’s serpentine bass plus scorching lead guitar and effects from Steve Brantseg, his Harrison-imbued, psychedelic overtone lending a mystical feel. Blend in Janey Winterbauer’s ethereal backup vocal and Israel’s own processed vox and one wonders – has Israel finally exposed his inner Bangle? Despite the child-like intro of “Just Can’t Take It”, this is great Nick Lowe-grade pop – all acoustic guitar and David Russ’ fat drum sound. The song gets a bit busy with itself and momentarily loses its way, yet the band displays an experimental edge that has nothing to do with taking it the easy way. The lush contrast supplied by the comparably intimate “Still I’m Lost”, featuring more acoustic guitar, B3 and electric keyboards, serves up multiple hooks and, again, assumes a slightly cosmic trajectory as Jeremy Yivisaker’s lead guitar and Steve Price’s keyboards mimic Israel’s vocal with an elaborate, somewhat mournful – if not entirely hypnotic – call and answer. Another standout track. “Might as Well be Me” lightens up to reveal a face-forward Israel vocal, perked up by David Russ’ bouncy drumbeat, as Jon Herchert’s sinewy slide eventually drives the tune into a pleasing overdrive. “Another Day” provides another exceptional pop song – Israel’s voice is in top form as chiming guitars meet Jeremy Yivisaker’s slide guitar which, itself, lends even more of a definitive Harrison flavor. Israel’s lyrics, too, ignite a strong rhythm of their own, underlining the song’s strong pop edge. “Just Can’t Take It Revisited” has a somewhat sleepy start with its dreamy vocals and what sounds like a child’s xylophone, as mix of spoken word and something bordering on rant-meets-rap erupts as the band falls into place. If this was simply a case of a late night in the studio for Israel, his bandmates fly in with inventive, toe-to-toe experimentation as lively bass and piano, distortion effects and searing guitar turn what might have started as a joke into an infectious surprise of a track. Another highlight, “Tired”, returns Dan to where he started, emulating Dylan but leaning heavily on the majesty of Peter Anderson’s drums, Jon Duncan’s meaty B3, Steve Price’s bass and banjo to transform this potentially sad, introspective study into a bona fide toe-tapper. Cue “Alright” for some lighter pop fare with its military drum intro, cheerful electric keyboards and simple chording, yet its amped up, rigorous chorus treatment heavies things up as Herchert’s bass and harder-edged guitar moves this ditty into hearty XTC territory at times. Mark “Here for Today” down as their reliable rocker and veritable palate-cleansing sorbet as dynamic, ringing guitars and distinctive slide land a bulletproof hook as Dan reverts to rock singer with a purpose. The band is in full acceleration, the production complex and stirring in its dynamic energy. “Out of my Hands”/”Out of my Hands” (Reprise) is a two-part exploration. The first rendition of “Out of my Hands” is a slower, Traveling Wilbury-inspired creeper that features more Harrison-styled guitar from Herchert, dovetailed together with acoustic guitars, slightly heavy-handed percussion and church bells until it Magical Mystery Tours itself into fresh turf at the halfway point, featuring baritone guitars, mechanical-sounding backup vocals, a strings effect and some delicious Harrison slide against acoustic guitar and telltale bells. Part Two replays elements of the first version but introduces the full lung power of guest vocalist Tonia Hughes Kendrick, who lifts the familiar theme into full testifying territory. The song plays itself out with a church-like choir of angels as Kendrick turns on her more sultry side. Together, this is one hell of an epic composition that threatens to fall off the edge of the earth, yet scores big points for simply being something incredibly unexpected.

Influences aside, this is Dan Israel’s strongest effort to date – a rich and varied playbook of the music he loves most, driven home by an eclectic and imaginative host of cohorts dedicated to seeing through his vision. It works really well and will revitalize any playlist instantly. No wonder Dan’s laughing so heartily on “Just Can’t Take It, Revisited”. He deserves to.

 

THE ROOTS – Things Fall Apart

Album: Things Fall Apart

Artist: Roots

Label: Universal

Release Date: September 27, 2019

The Roots’ ‘Things Fall Apart’ Celebrates 20th Anniversary With Deluxe Reissue

BY JONATHAN LEVITT

The finest Roots album in this reviewer’s opinion has been given a loving, deluxe reissue by Universal Music. Instead of spending an inordinate amount of time reviewing an album that’s been reviewed to death, I want to talk about the total package that’s on offer. First my review is based on the 3 LP black vinyl edition and when I got this in the mail my jaw dropped, because it’s a heavy package chock full of important extra tracks as well as some incredible track by track commentary by Questlove and Black Thought, presented in a beautiful LP sized booklet that’s chock full of some amazing period photos. Spanning 3 LP’s this “Ultimate Edition” brings it hard but if there’s one thing I find a bit of head scratcher, is why not give 180g editions of the LP’s instead of their 150g thinner counterparts? You spend this amount of money these days and you deserve 180g or 200g. That aside in terms of fidelity I played the LP’s back on my Denon turntable with my Ortofon stylus and the sound was warm and expansive, filling the room with a good mix of bass and midrange sound. Thankfully unlike some labels where fresh vinyl is filled with poor pressing skips, this vinyl plays solid from start to runoff groove with zero audible sound in between the tracks. “What You Want” just blew me away and “thumps hard” just like Black Thought’s lyric.  This track was actually my intro to this album back when I was living in Beijing. I caught the video on Channel V and made a note to myself that the next time I visited HK to go to HMV and pick it up, which I eventually did. This reissue is a must for fans of the band and people who want to hear a true artwork with the vision and tunes to back it up. With a front cover of black youth being chased in Bed-Stuy by white cops, the album which is 20 years old this year sadly finds an America still mired in racism. But the message that comes ringing loud and clear from the record is that there’s hope amongst the cracks in the sidewalk. Amen to that.

TRACKS TO TRACK DOWN:  “The Next Movement” “100% Dundee” “What You Want” “Adrenaline” “You Got Me” (Drum & Bass Mix)

 

AVETT BROTHERS – Closer Than Together

Album: Closer Than Together

Artist: Avett Brothers

Label: Republic

Release Date: October 04, 2019

Republic Records

BY LEE ZIMMERMAN

It’s apparent that the Avett Brothers’ musical momentum remains undiminished. That’s obviously affirmed by the big label mechanism gifted them by their record company, American Records, and the recruitment of mercurial maestro Rick Rubin to sit behind the boards. With Closer Than Ever, the shift in their MO at first seems to be indicated courtesy of the heightened production values that define opening track “Bleeding White” in particular.

Fortunately though, the Avetts haven’t forsaken the fragile charm and tenuous underpinnings that  made their homegrown sound such an indelible part of their seminal sounds. On “We Americans” for example, they revert to the softer, more subdued delivery once so essential to their modest intents. The song is a sly deflation of the American mantra, but the unassuming approach belies any bitterness or recrimination.

While the band may seem more aware of emphatic expression overall, many of the melodies maintain the anthemic perspective that ‘s always been so inherent and inspired. “Long Story Short” offers the album’s best example; with little more than acoustic guitar, cello and high, harmony, they share the story of everyday individuals bound by dysfunction and desire. Like the best of the Avetts’ material, it’s touching and poignant all by the same measure. The same could be said of the simple sing-alongs that follow, the light and lilting “C Sections and Railway Trestles” and the decidedly delicate “Bang Bang with its strings and sweetening,” as well as the tender and touching “Who Will I Hold.”

Aside from the obvious flourishes, the brothers’ facility for supple storytelling in pointed, poignant fashion remains the surest sign of the band’s continuing maturity. As a result, Closer Than Ever finds the Avett Brothers not only close, but fully arrived.

TRACKS TO TRACK DOWN: “We Americans,” “C Sections and Railway Trestles,” “Who Will I Hold”

BEN LEE – Quarter Century Classix

Album: Quarter Century Classix

Artist: Ben Lee

Label: New West

Release Date: November 22, 2019

www.newwestrecords.com

BY LEE ZIMMERMAN

Given his unruly beginnings in an early ‘90s Aussie outfit that called itself Noise Addict, Ben Lee’s decision to retrace some seminal favorites from those  early ‘90s ought to come as little surprise.  So while Quarter Century Classix may be first and foremost a covers record, Lee’s inherent flair for sharing memorable melodies with an infectious energy serves him well here. The choice of material may not seem pop friendly initially, but even so, Lee demonstrates an ability to turn the work of some post punk provocateurs into something that’s not only intriguing, but surprisingly inventive as well.

Indeed, in many of the cases here, Lee takes an offhanded approach to the music that belies the darker designs of the originals. Archer of Loaf’s “Web in Front,” Fugazi’s “Blue Print” and Guided By Voice’s “Goldheart Mountain Top Queen Directory” all  take on an amiable, ambling presence that’s not only outwardly engaging, but practically transformative as well. Still, that’s nothing compared to the sweet pastiche he gives Built To Spill’s “Car” and the effusive energy endowed in Daniel Johnston’s “Speeding Motorcycle,” the latter now sounding like a classic incarnate. The psychedelic sheen of “Get Me” (Dinosaur) and “In the Mouth of a Desert” (Pavement) add further illumination to the overall effort, while further confirming Lee’s  own inventive instincts.

Though it started out as an inconsequential attempt to revisit Lee’s early influences through  some impromptu hotel room recordings, Quarter Century Classix was later spurred on by the assistance of various artists who can also claim credence as far as that essential era — among them, Mike Watt, William Tyler, Petra Haden, Maria Taylor of Azure Ray, harpist Mary Lattimore, drummer Joey Waronker, and electronic artist Julianna Barwick. It’s a formidable crew, but Lee’s obvious infatuation with the material is the thing that gives the album its unmistakable allure. Even a quarter century on, Lee instills these so-called classix with a renewed credence and conviction of his own.

TRACKS TO TRACK DOWN: Speeding Motorcycle,” “Get Me,” “Web in Front”

To read a brief – and fun – essay that Lee himself penned about this delightful album’s originals, go here.

 

HEADLIGHT RIVALS – “Mattson”

Album: Mattson

Artist: Headlights

Label: Black Site

Release Date: November 01, 2019

www.blacksite.org

BY DANNY R. PHILLIPS

Driving down the road on a cool Midwestern day, I flip through the stations on my car’s radio. I scan the dial, hoping with each growing failure to find something concrete, something to move me past boredom, it dawns on me that, rock and roll as an art-form, is a wounded animal alone in the forest looking for a quiet, beautiful place to die.  In its place is the rise of easy to digest, autotuned, sanitized and ultimately, boring music, a white-washed version of what use to be considered cool and ultimately, worthwhile.

Unless you dig deep past metal and the abomination that is buttrock and the Five Finger Death Punches of an exceedingly awful rock horizon, good bar rock can be hard to find. Where are the bands that embody what it means to embrace what came before, forging ahead toward a new day rising? Something to foster, love and support when you find it, one that celebrates the idea that making good, thought provoking music, partying hard while pulling rock from it drudgery.

I found just such a band in “The Little Apple” Manhattan, Kansas.  They are Headlight Rivals.

The band’s debut full-length “Mattson” for Kansas City, Missouri based Blacksite Records is a tour de force; blending influences such as The Replacements, The Who, Son Volt, Sugar, the drunken brilliance of Guided by Voices, a fair helping of early days Soul Asylum mixed with a hefty dose of Memphis, Tennessee forgotten giants Big Star.

Headlight Rivals have put all their cards on the table here, releasing an album that is truly a work of passion, persistence and straight ahead rock n roll.  “Mattson” (named for Rich Mattson,the owner of Sparta Sound in Evelth, Minnesota where it was recorded) mixes melody with aggression, sound and fury;  killer guitars from Eric Kleiner, a fat low end courtesy of Seven Black and phenomenal drumming brought by Eric’s cousin Kris Kleiner, the trio’s killer playing is augmented here by masterful mixing and engineering from Rich Mattson, all pieces coming together to create an album that will not be soon forgotten, a great first shot in a catalog that will certainly be stacked to the rafters by the time they lay down their instruments and charge towards the horizon, leaving their mark on Midwest music history and bars everywhere.

Opening with “All The Same to Me,” a rocker that elicits memories in me of listening to The ‘Mats and later period Husker Du while smoking a joint and hating my life in a rundown apartment in the middle of nowhere Missouri, the tones full, the playing unrivaled here in the heart of America..  “Some Ghosts” is a song about past loves and the pain that comes along with the exit, how the memories come flooding back to haunt you in the quiet times of the day, jamming like a track from “Still Gone” era Uncle Tupelo.  “So Well” blasts  from the speakers like a lost Matthew Sweet track, aching to the bone with pain and lose, exploding with guitars and lyrics drenched in melancholy.

While the ruckus that Headlight Rivals create may at times seem familiar, “Mattson” is by no means a re-hash of what came before; Seven, Eric and Kris clearly love rock and all that comes with it, molding something raw, wild and moving with “Mattson.” This is an album full of triumph and loss, blistering venom and soft melody.  What they have created is something that should be heard, absorbed and reflected on.  What the three piece from Kansas have given us isn’t just any album, “Mattson” is one of the best to see the light of day in 2019.

 

 

 

 

THE MUFFS – No Holiday

Album: No Holiday

Artist: Muffs

Label: Omnivore Recordings

Release Date: October 18, 2019

ars

www.omnivorerecordings.com

By John B. Moore

Kim Shattuck, singer/guitarist for the shockingly underrated band The Muffs, died unexpectedly just a couple of months ago, after a two-year battle with ALS that many outside of her close circle were unaware of. She left a brilliant legacy, with half a dozen near-perfect pop punk records to her name, a dedicated fanbase and a slew of heartbroken, normally jaded music journalists who were charmed by their interactions with her over the years (myself included).

It hardly surprising then that No Holiday, a record that she and the band were in the process of promoting when she unexpectedly passed away, lives up to their already impressive output. At 18 songs (18!), their first LP in five years comes out on Omnivore Recordings, fittingly the same label that recently reissued the group’s first three records and helped remind the world just how brilliant The Muffs were. No Holiday manages to be both remarkably nostalgic, capturing the vibe of those earlier efforts, while also building on their trademark sound, adding in several new musical directions. The taut pop punk rhythms are still there as are Shattuck’s glorious fuzzy power chords and her tough as a slap to the face vocals (probably one of the most undervalued in the punk rock world), but the trio manages to expand on that sound, with some of their slower tempo jams, like “Earth Below Me” with it’s plunked out clean guitar lines and “Lovely Day Boo Hoo,” with its melancholy vibe and acoustic guitars. This diverse collection actually manages to bolster the band’s reputation. They’re a little less sloppy than that solid 1993 debut, but Shattuck’s exasperated scream in the middle of “Late And Sorry” shows they are still very much that band many fell in love with so many decades ago.

Eighteen tracks, usually a sign of a group that could use a little outside help cutting some of the fat, proves that the band was just hitting it’s stride. Eighteen songs and No Holiday still leaves you craving more. Long live Kim Shattuck.

TRACKS TO TRACK DOWN: “No Holiday,” “Late And Sorry,” and “Pollyanna”

VARIOUS ARTISTS: Come On Up To The House: Women Sing Waits

Album: Come On Up To The House: Women Sing Waits

Artist: Various Artists

Label: Dualtone

Release Date: November 22, 2019

www.dualtone.com

BY JOHN B. MOORE

It’s sometimes taken for granted just how brilliant a songwriter Tom Waits is. The sky is blue, water is wet, and Waits can write a truly heartbreaking song. Maybe it’s the fact that he’s been making music for more than four decades; Maybe it’s that some just can’t get past his graveled vocals, but sometime all it takes is listening to a fresh take on his songs to realize just how exceptional Waits is as a songwriter.

 Come On Up To The House is hardly the first Waits tribute record, but it is easily one of the best. Boasting an all-female cast that includes Aimee Mann, Patty Griffin, sisters Shelby Lynn and Allison Moorer and Rosanne Cash, among others, the lyrics are given a fresh perspective in this mostly stripped-down affair. More often than not, the result is stunning. The opening track, Mann’s take on “Hold On,” and  the stark “Come On Up To The House,” flawlessly covered by Josephine are simply sublime. While not ever song hits its mark, (Iris Dement’s “House Where Nobody Lives” is a pretty uninspired effort), there are more than enough brilliant covers here to keep you coming back to this record for years to come.

TRACKS TO TRACK DOWN: Aimee Mann “Hold On,” Josephine “Come On Up To The House,” Rosanne Cash “Time”

 

SPEEDEALER – Blue Days Black Nights

Album: Blue Days Black Nights

Artist: Speedealer

Label: self-released

Release Date: May 05, 2019

https://shop.bandwear.com/collections/speedealer-shop

BY JONATHAN LEVITT

Never bring a knife to a gun fight! With all chambers loaded this Texas band is coming to clean your clock, so prepare to say hello to the big adios by the end of it. Punishing and completely bitchin’ this album is filled with molten tunes that provide the cathartic release many of us need to deal with the onslaught unleased by the Cheeto Overlord. If Randy the Ram had survived and his musical taste had evolved away from 80’s metal he most certainly would’ve had Speedealer on constant repeat.  From punk to speed metal this album has it all. Produced for maximum torque-age the music on this record will have you dusting off your air guitar/drums. The playing here is out of sight and not for the faint of heart so best to check with your doctor prior to administering this to your cranium. Welcome back gents!

TRACKS TO TRACK DOWN:  Never New, Rheumatism, War Nicht Genug, Sold Out

NRBQ – Turn On, Tune In

Album: Turn On, Tune In

Artist: NRBQ

Label: Omnivore

Release Date: September 06, 2019

www.omnivorerecordings.com

BY LEE ZIMMERMAN

To put it simply, NRBQ are the Everyman band… and the everybody band as well. Over the course of more than five decades and countless continuing releases, they’ve proven their ability to transcend musical genres while reflecting certain essential tenants of popular music, be it rock or blues, soul or swing. Their dexterity is far greater than most any other outfit one might ever imagine, and that includes combos both past and present. Indeed, their essential greatness lies in the fact that they simply defy definition but yet, at the same time, transcend any signature style, making any attempt to confine them to a category silly and superfluous.

These days, only multi-instrumentalist Terry Adams remains of the original ensemble, but those that share his efforts and enthusiasm continue to make NRBQ as effusive and enthusiastic as they were back in the day. There could be no greater evidence of that fact than this new expansive 21 song double disc consisting of two concerts recorded live on both CD and DVD. Their astonishing skill and spontaneity are evidenced throughout, and even when the band make an unlikely segue way from an earnest take on the Beach Boys’ “Don’t Worry Baby” — the upper register vocals intact —  to a giddy instrumental cover of “Red River Valley” — renamed here, “Red River Rock” — their verve and versatility are delivered hand in hand. Likewise, it’s no small wonder that they can start the set with a reprise of the Goffin-King classic “Don’t Ever Change” while coming across like Merseyside merrymakers, and then end things on an equally upbeat note in the form of Adams’ “RC Cola and a Moon Pie.”

Needless to say, long-time admirers may be amazed that the band continue to ply their collective craft in such effective yet irreverent ways. Yet at the same time, there’s no better point of entrance for newcomers as well. Consequently, Turn On, Tune In is as convincing an entreaty as anyone might ever imagine.

TRACKS TO TRACK DOWN: “Don’t Ever Change,” “Don’t Worry Baby,” “Red River Rock”