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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    CD Reviews

    Norah Jones: Not Too Late

    Not Too Late, Norah Jones’ latest album, might just have been made too late. Other than being eloquent for elevators or department-store dressing rooms, the predictable album sounds like everything she’s released before.

    Jones’ voice does dazzle in most of the album, though. Some of the songs exhibit musical creativity, but overall, Not Too Late sounds like one big vinyl melting pot in which every song sounds the same.

    “”Wish I Could”” has a mellow guitar sound that Jones often sings with, but the guitar doesn’t complement her voice in any way. “”Until the End,”” another slow, dragging song, presents Jones with the same problem. Her voice has a beautiful timbre but not enough instrumental melody to support it.

    Let’s not forget to give credit where it is due, though. Jones, a former jazz student, makes the song “”Sinkin’ Soon”” her own. With its mandolin, drums and pans, the song provides a fresh take on pop music. It’s also ironic – although the instrumentation is fun and upbeat, the lyrics are sad and depressing.

    “”My Dear Country,”” a song about Election Day, is a political rebellion against our current government and president. “”Cause we believed in our candidate/but even more it’s the one we hate/I needed someone I could shake/on Election Day,”” sings Jones in a voice of disapproval.

    The rest of the songs on the album just aren’t enough. In “”Be My Somebody,”” Jones has lots of attitude, but the song still doesn’t compare to the feeling behind many of her efforts on previous albums. Jones should try to experiment more and take risks with her music. Hearing the same stuff over and over again might be great while you’re trying on a pair of new shoes, but Jones needs to deliver unique music. It might have been too late for this release, but there’s always time for a better, more intricate and personal album from Jones in the future.

    Score:10/10

    Ernesto Romero


    Kenny Wayne Shepard: 10 Days Out

    Blues and rock guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd has released a 15-track live album, 10 Days Out: Blues from the Backroads, with an accompanying DVD full of compilations with the best artists in blues.

    It is easy to fall back on praising “”The Thrill is Gone,”” featuring B.B. King, as the best track on the album, but it is true. The blaring horns and sweet, melodic guitar introduce B.B.’s recognizable voice that is writhing in pain as he sings, “”You know you done me wrong, baby/and you’ll be sorry someday.””

    Another highlight is “”Prison Blues,”” featuring Cootie Stark and Neal “”Big Daddy”” Pattman. It doesn’t matter if some of the words in “”Prison Blues”” are inaudible; it is just so damn cool. The use of the harmonica and the steady beat of the song make it a knee-slapping success.

    The documentary takes an in-depth look at the artists who perform on the album with Shepherd. Clarence “”Gatemouth”” Brown, a noted blues musician, performs with Shepherd and his band and tells Shepherd what it is to be a blues musician. Brown, who lost his home to Hurricane Katrina, died from lung cancer soon after his appearance.

    The documentary also shows the pandemonium that took place when B.B. returned home to Mississippi for a concert. This footage is an effective up-close look at what it’s like to be a blues musician in America and offers some great performances of the songs that grace the album.

    This album isn’t perfect. Many of the songs aren’t noteworthy, but they are all enjoyable and worth a listen.

    Score:10/10

    Jamie Ross

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