Here are your latest record reviews, courtesy of Kevin Bryan
Van Morrison - Keep Me Singing (Caroline Records). The newly knighted Sir George Ivan Morrison has never made any secret of his disdain for the tawdry machinations of the music industry, but the former Them frontman can always be relied upon to remain true to his creative muse and the great man’s 36th studio album is certainly an elegantly crafted gem of the highest order. Van’s profoundly spiritual approach to music-making has always made him a genuinely unique creative figure, and some sublime examples of the classic Morrison sound are showcased here, including Memory Lane, Every Time I See A River and the instrumental
closer, Caledonia Swing.
Emma Johnson: Clarinet Goes To Town (Nimbus Alliance). This eclectic new offering from clarinettist Emma Johnson ranges far and wide in its choice of subject matter, drawing on some prime examples of ragtime, blues and jazz alongside a generous helping of the evocative classical fare which she’s normally associated with. John Lenehan, Paul Clarvis and the members of the Carducci String Quartet supply the sympathetic instrumental backdrop as Emma breathes new life into everything from Sidney Bechet’s Petite Fleur to Brahms’s Wiegenlied and Aaron Copland’s Simple Gifts.
Luigi Attademo - 19th Century Guitar Music (Brilliant Classics). Neapolitan guitarist Attademo occupies centre stage here as he tackles some sparkling gems from the 19th century repertoire using an assortment of authentic period instruments. Works by Legnani, Giuliani and Fernando Sor are all given an airing in the process, and the latter’s perennially popular Introduction and Variations on a Theme by Mozart emerges as one of the highlights of the recital as it expands on a memorable theme from the composer’s 1791 opera, The Magic Flute.
John McEuen - Roots Music Made in Brooklyn (Chesky Records). California born John McEuen was a founder member of venerable roots music institution the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and this multi-talented musician also finds the time to perform and record as a solo artist from time to time
too. McEuen describes the contents of his fine new CD as “mature American Music,” joining forces with top notch players such as guitarist David Bromberg, Jay Ungar and his old friend Steve Martin on banjo to revamp enticing ditties such as Warren Zevon’s Excitable Boy and a golden oldie from The Dirt Band’s early days in the shape of Jerry Jeff Walker’s Mr.Bojangles.