The Carnivaleros

carnivaleros5Dreams Are Strange


The Tucson, Ariz.-based Carnivaleros have always possessed a knack for unusually interesting arrangements, often combining instruments not normally heard together.

On “Dreams Are Strange,” the band makes a swampy Appalachian acoustical foray into Americana, with an expansion of its sound due to the presence of Heather “Lil’ Mama” Hardy’s violin on most tracks.

Tying it together is the decidedly non-Tex Mex/non-polka accordion of singer-songwriter Mackender, who favors basic North American folk and, occasionally, Middle Eastern and klezmer idioms.

Six of the album’s tracks are instrumental, including “Chestnut Oak” (featuring banjo); “Tumacacori” (vibes and lap steel); and “High Speed Yard Sale” (tuba).

Highlights among the album’s eight vocal numbers are the country-and-Cajun “Hesitation Bridge”; the incredibly witty title track; the jump zydeco “Gonna Jump in a Hole”; the upbeat “Who’s to Say” (which would have been a perfect vehicle for the late Dan Hicks, with its Hot Licks-type chorus); and the hard-luck tale “Wore Out My Welcome.”gnm_end_bug

1. Hesitation Bridge
2. Dreams Are Strange
3. The Chestnut Oak
4. Gonna Jump in a Hole
5. Mamie Eisenhower
6. Tumacacori
7. Who’s to Say
8. Moving On
9. The Red Maple
10. Wore Out My Welcome
11. Donna’s Song
12. Psychic Mary
13. Time Traveling
14. High Speed Yard Sale

Total time: 48:49

External links
artist’s website
iTunes Store

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Sonny Landreth

Grant Street

Sugar Hill

Landreth has been busy of late, reviving John Hiatt’s backing band The Goners; joining Gov’t Mule for their most recent live album/DVD; guesting on Jimmy Buffett’s newest album, “License to Chill”; and playing Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Festival, the prestigious Festival International de Jazz de Montreal and The New Orleans Jazz Fest last summer.

So now’s the perfect time to issue his first live album, recorded over two nights at his stomping grounds, the converted Louisiana fruit factory known as Grant Street. It’s just him and his longtime partners David Ranson on bass and Kenneth Blevins on drums, kicking out the jams on eight career-spanning songs and three new ones.

There’s toe-tapping zydeco, to be sure (“Gone Pecan” and “U.S.S. Zydecoldsmobile,” which sounds just like a boat ride down the highway). But there’s also blues (“Broken Hearted Road,” “Blues Attack” and the new “Wind in Denver”); shuffle (“All About You”); and Mardi Gras-Bo Diddley backbeat (“Congo Square”).

The highlights are the instrumentals. “Native Stepson” sounds like Eric Johnson meets Ry Cooder, and “Z. Rider” is a tour de force, with fingerpicking woven between slide runs laid over a runaway freight train rhythm section. But the two new instrumentals, “Port of Calling” and “Pedal to Metal,” are the real treats. The former incorporates harmonics and Landreth’s own techniques, creating the illusion of several guitars playing at once, while the latter sounds like a collision of Canned Heat’s “On the Road Again” and Little Feat’s “Tripe Face Boogie.”

1 Native Stepson
2 Broken Hearted Road
3 Gone Pecan
4 Port Of Calling
5 Blues Attack
6 Z. Rider
7 U.S.S. Zydecoldsmobile
8 Wind In Denver
9 All About You
10 Pedal To Metal
11 Congo Square

Total time: 1 hour

External links
artist’s website
iTunes music store

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