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Lee Armstrong RSS Feed (Winterville, NC United States)
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Tambourine
Tambourine
Price: $14.99
22 used & new from $6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Run Against the Sky, April 19, 2015
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This review is from: Tambourine (Audio CD)
Fred Eaglesmith's "Tambourine" is a great addition to this masterful singer's long catalog. The opening track "What It Takes" delivers a strong vocal performance with Fred's voice urgent to the point of desperation plus a lovely melody and lyric, "I'll face the wind; I'll fight the rain just to hold you in my arms again; I'll run against the sky until it breaks." "Can't Dance" has a retro feel with a bass line not too far off from "Secret Agent Man" and Fred's vocals celebrating the joy of performance, "I love my electric guitar; I love when I play it way too loud." "Nobody Gets Everything" rocks to a midtempo beat with Scott Merritt's keyboards deliciously framing the melody, "Nobody gets everything; and I guess I don't get you." "Sally Green" slowly burns about a guy in love with an unfaithful girl. "Tambourine" is a strong set by one of Canada's best. Enjoy!


Lesser Oceans (Explicit)
Lesser Oceans (Explicit)
Price: $9.94
57 used & new from $2.30

4.0 out of 5 stars Touch Me Angel, April 4, 2015
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"Lesser Oceans" by Fences is a strong set on the classic Elektra Records label. There are no weak tracks on the set, but there are a couple cuts with which I particularly connect after a half dozen spins. "Arrows" pops out of the speakers with driving energy and an internal rap segment. Listening in the car, I thought he was singing "Dead Roses Are Falling" instead of "Arrows"; "My old man, he kicked me out when I told him that I live this way; He doesn't own me; Just escape." The track sparkles. "Dusty Beds" is another track that I really like with a midtempo beat and lyrics that seem mundane like signing a check on the refrigerator, but Chris Mansfield's vocals give life to the lyric, "Roll over & touch me angel; Nothing ever happens on dusty beds." The opening track "Songs About Angels" and the title track are also incredibly strong. While this is my introduction to this band, it's strong enough to make me want to check out their past work and to hear more. Enjoy!


Then Came the Morning
Then Came the Morning
Price: $7.99
50 used & new from $3.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wild Melody, April 3, 2015
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This review is from: Then Came the Morning (Audio CD)
The Lone Bellow's first CD was excellent. I think "Then Came the Morning," their second, nudges it, and is even better. There are more strong songs and the set doesn't ever drop out, even on the slower tracks. The title track has an exquisite lyric and an inventive orchestral touch in the arrangement that gives the track depth. The "joy comes in the morning" lyric mirrors Psalm 30 from the Bible, "weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning," one of my favorite Bible quotes. "Marietta" is another superb track with a midtempo beat and a plodding melody that marches through a range of emotions, "The worry for what couldn't be, the love for the lust of your name, of losing, of winning, of striving, of leaving and stealing and breaking and shame." Its marriage of lyric and melody is exquisite. "Take My Love" sounds quite radio-friendly with its hook on the chorus and the full background vocals, "You're no broken record turning; you're a wild melody." "If You Don't Love Me" is another exceptional track with its pounding beat and lyric, "Leave me or let me go." "Cold As It Is" addicts the listener with its catchy hook and the Zach Williams' vocals that trail off into the upper register, "I wouldn't leave." There are so many great tracks on this disc that it is essential listening, one of the best of 2015. Enjoy!


I Believe in Loving You
I Believe in Loving You
Price: $9.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Forever True, April 3, 2015
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This review is from: I Believe in Loving You (Audio CD)
Carole King's 2014 single release is a sweet positive thinking anthem with Carole's midtempo slightly offbeat melody resonating well with her expressive vocals, "Come what may, this heart of mine will stay forever true." The CD release is bare bones with no record label, liner notes or musician credits listed. While I'm sure all of her fans would more than welcome a full-length CD, this one-track disc is a welcome addition to my song rotation. Enjoy!


Hung On You - More From The Gerry Goffin & Carole King Songbook
Hung On You - More From The Gerry Goffin & Carole King Songbook
Offered by Fulfillment Express US
Price: $16.16
36 used & new from $8.48

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Make Our Love Last, April 3, 2015
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This is another amazing disc by Ace Records that highlights the songwriting of Carole King and Gerry Goffin. The engineering & sound reproduction make this set sound fresh. The Righteous Brothers' title track is an epic recording arranged by Jack Nitzsche and produced by Phil Spector with his "wall of sound" trademark. Bill Medley's deep voice throbs, "Though I'm not free to fall in love with you, oh baby, why did I have to get so hung on you?" The Clovers' "The Sheik" has a vaguely Middle Eastern flavor, but is a lot of fun with the tabla percussion and the sassy sax, "If you got a date, you better not be late; If you make your baby wait, you'll find that the sheik is straight." Henry Alston's "So Many Lonely People" is an exquisite record that has a Drifters' sound and Alston's tenor voice soulful and expressive, "But baby don't you see we don't have to share their company, we've got this chance to make our love last." This set has great liner notes and many of the tracks wear well half a century later. Enjoy!


Coyote Sessions
Coyote Sessions
Price: $9.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Echoes Across the East, March 28, 2015
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This review is from: Coyote Sessions (Audio CD)
Glen Phillips' "Coyote Sessions" looks like a very indie release in appearance from this fine artist, kind of "Glen Phillips Unplugged." There are no lyrics, no record label mentioned, no copyright date, no songwriting credits, just the 10 song titles listed. "Everything Matters" is a classic Phillips track with him attacking the rhythm guitar with a vibrant strum on the lovely track, "Every word is a seed that you scatter." This is the first time that I'm aware that Glen has recorded "No Blue Sky," although it appeared on The Thorns' self-titled 2003 CD. I love the chorus where Glen's voice rises into the upper register on the chorus, "If you want me, you know where I will be; I don't get out much anymore." Glen turns in a fine rendition of Paul Simon's lovely "American Tune" that appeared on Simon's "There Goes Rhymin' Simon" 1973 album. "Green Zoller" was on Glen's "Live @ Largo" 2003 set, but everything else here is new, as far as I can tell. "The Song Is Still Here" is an addictive Phillips' hook-filled melody with a strong lyric, "He didn't want to be no one-hit wonder; Lightning strikes quick, you can hear the thunder for miles and miles, it echoes across the East, The fire is gone, but the spark is still here." "The Coyote Sessions" is a welcome addition to Phillips' music. He's grown into one of my very favorite artists for whom I race to get each release. This does not disappoint. Enjoy!


Medicine
Medicine
Price: $9.99
36 used & new from $3.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Where the Storms Roll, March 28, 2015
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This review is from: Medicine (Audio CD)
"Medicine" is my introduction to Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors. It's a strong set. "Tightrope" charms with its midtempo beat, its lovely melody and Drew's vocals embracing the longing in the lyric, "I want to go wherever you go, through the night where the storms roll, till the rising sun meets the morning; Want to go wherever you go." It's a beautiful love song. "Even when the rain pours down, even when the light seems like it's fading, even when your heart aches, feels like it's gonna break, that's when you sing out loud," Drew sings on "Shine Like Lightning," a midtempo rocker with a with a great bass guitar underpinning the verse until the song explodes on the chorus. "I've Got You" has a whistling chorus that makes it sound like a hiking song to me, "I've got a dream over my shoulder; I've got love tied around my waist; I've got a big imagination; I've got the world & I've got you." While these are my favorites on the set, there are no weak tracks. This is a very strong set that makes me want to hear more from this band. Enjoy!


The house of a thousand candles / by Meredith Nicholson ... with illustrations by Howard Chandler Christy
The house of a thousand candles / by Meredith Nicholson ... with illustrations by Howard Chandler Christy
by Meredith Nicholson
Edition: Hardcover
16 used & new from $4.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 110 Years Later, March 17, 2015
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Meredith Nicholson's story of "The House of a Thousand Candles" is a fast paced sweet tale that keeps you turning the pages. We follow John Glenarm, grandson of John Marshall Glenarm, who has spent his father's inheritance on safari in Africa and assorted shenanigans in Europe. He is set to inherit his grandfather's house in Indiana, but he must live in the house for a year without leaving in order for the inheritance to become permanent. Glenarm arrives in Indiana, feeling like he's been imprisoned in a rural no-man's-land. The butler Bates is hard to read, but is a good cook. From the first night, things start happening to Glenarm. John becomes convinced that the lawyer Pickering is trying to drive him off the estate so he can ransack a rumored hidden treasure. Marian Devereaux, also named in the will, lives at St. Agatha's girl school nearby. She captures John's eye and provides romantic stress for the 27-year-old Glenarm. There are secret passages in the house, mysterious intruders and a huge assortment of unanswered questions. Irishman Larry Donovan and the preacher Stoddard become allies as the novel crashes to its unexpected climax. My hardback looks like the one pictured here, copyrighted 1905. The book captured my attention 110 years later. Enjoy!


Still Within the Sound of My Voice
Still Within the Sound of My Voice
Price: $11.88
46 used & new from $4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars The River Brown, March 14, 2015
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Jimmy Webb's "Still Within the Sound of My Voice" is a companion CD to his 2010 set "Just Across the River." Both sets have black and white cover photos and consist of Jimmy singing his duets with musical stars. I got to see Webb in Thalian Hall in Wilmington NC in Feb. 2014 when he was promoting this CD. In concert, he was full of stories and anecdotes that gave the live performance depth from experience. This recording shines even brighter than JAtR for me. The opening track "Sleepin' in the Daytime" pairs Webb with Lyle Lovett and intros the song with a banjo before breaking into a searing electric track with an environmental lyric, "Sleeping in the daytime ever since they turned the river brown, it chokes the gulls with oil and it drags them down, I have seen them half alive." Keith Urban joins Jimmy for "Where's the Playground, Susie?" on a soft sentimental ballad perhaps written for Webb's sister Susan. The liner notes about Jimmy writing a song with Urban and then seeing Urban's vintage Chevy Impala are quite entertaining. The title track joins Jimmy with the lovely voice of Rumer that polishes this glorious melody as Jimmy hits the top of his register that has always made Webb the singer appeal to me with such vulnerability and emotion. Perhaps the highlight for me is the late great Joe Cocker joining Jimmy on the lovely dramatic melody "The Moon's A Harsh Mistress" that was a hit for Cocker. When Joe closes the track, "She's hard to call your own," his voice breaks and my heart is moved. "Still Within the Sound of My Voice" is a strong set that celebrates the career of this master songwriter. Enjoy!


Wildflower
Wildflower
DVD ~ Beau Bridges
21 used & new from $14.91

5.0 out of 5 stars Seek This Gem, March 12, 2015
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This review is from: Wildflower (DVD)
Patricia Arquette won the Best Supporting Oscar this year for Boyhood & is currently starring the CBS series "Cyber CSI." That triggered me to want to see some of her earlier work, which led to "Wildflower." Arquette is nothing short of amazing in this early role of hers. As Alice Guthrie, she convincingly portrays a deaf child compounded by social deprivations of backwoods misunderstanding. Her epileptic grand mal seizure was frightening. The arc in her character is breathtaking. Reese Witherspoon also is excellent as Ellie Perkins, a young girl whose mother is deceased, raised by her illiterate father played by Beau Bridges. William McNamera plays Ellie's brother Sammy who develops a crush on Alice and longs to go to college. The dynamic between the three teen leads is excellent, directed with a steady hand by Diane Keaton. Norman Max Maxwell who has not done a lot of work this century plays Ormand Guthrie, the often drunk and violent step-father of Alice. He is indeed scary in the role. The film is a made-for-television film and has a PG13 feel to it. It has many excellent themes like the value of friendship, choosing your friends on their personal qualities rather than social status and family loyalty. Well worth seeking this gem out. Enjoy!


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