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CD Reviews:
The Listening Room: Wynonna Judd, Kanye West, the Cult, Dion and more...

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Friday, February 12, 2016

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Wynonna & the Big Noise

"Wynonna & the Big Noise"


Grade: A

When the Judds sang "Mama He's Crazy" more than 30 years ago, it could have just as easily been about Wynonna Judd, the daughter end of the duo. The once demure second fiddle has grown into an irreverent, sassy down-home diva -- all for the better, and never better than on "Wynonna & the Big Noise," the eye-opening debut from the latest configuration she leads with husband, co-producer and drummer Cactus Moser. Wynonna has never sounded looser or more confident than on this 12-song set that rocks as much as, if not more than, it twangs and positions her firmly as a heavyweight in the Americana ranks. Virtually everything clicks here, from song selection to collaborations (with the likes of the Eagles' Timothy B.Schmit, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi and Jason Isbell) to Wynonna's high-bar vocal performances, which range from aggressive ("Ain't No Thing," "You Make My Heart Beat Too Fast," "Cool Ya") to soulful ("You Are So Beautiful," "Jesus and a Jukebox"). The group`s rendition of Raphael Saadiq's "Staying in Love" is a show-stopper, and tracks such as "Every Ending (Is a New Beginning)," "Choose To Believe" and the Isbell duet "Things I Lean On" show there's plenty of heart alongside the bluster. It's a big, and beautiful, noise for sure.

New & Noteworthy:

The Cult, "Hidden City" (Cooking Vinyl): The British hard rockers' 10th studio release reunites the group with producer Bob Rock and features Jane's Addiction bassist Chris Chaney in fill-in duty.

Dion, "New York is My Home" (The Orchard): Mr. DiMucci returns in fine form, dueting with Paul Simon on the title track salute to their shared home town.

Vince Gill, "Down To My Last Bad Habit" (MCA Nashville): The latest outing from the country music quadruple-threat artist features a duet with Little Big Down on the single "Take Me Down."

The Record Company, "Give It Back To You" (Concord): The debut album from the buzzed-about Los Angeles trio that sounds like it come straight out of a swampy Mississippi juke joint.

Lacey Sturm, "Life Screams" (Followspot): the solo debut from the former Flyleaf singer comes three years after her amicable departure from the band.

Kanye West, "T.L.O.P." (GOOD Music/Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam): We just hope that's still the title of this ever-changing seventh studio set, which he initially called the best album ever but subsequently dialed it back to ONE of the best ever. Oh 'ye, oh 'ye oh 'ye oh 'ye...

Also Out: Audrey Assad, "Inheritance" (+180); Aunt Mary, "New Dawn" (Wind-Up); Black Queen, "Fever Daydream" (self-released); Basia Bulat, "Good Advice" (Secret City); Gentri, "Rise" (Shadow Mountain); Holy Peril, "Times of Pride and Peril" (Prosthetic); The Jezabels, "Synthia" (MGM); Jimkata, "In Motion" (self-released); Joey + Rory, "Hymns" (Gaither Music Group); Ute Lemper, "The 9 Secrets" (Steinway & Sons); Lissie, "My Wild West" (Lionboy); Lorrie Morgan, "Letting Go...Slow" (Shanachie); Myrath, "Legacy" (Nightmare); Rotting Christ, "Rituals" (Season of Mist); Snarky Puppy, "Family Dinner Vol. 2" (Ground Up); Eliot Sumner, "Information" (Cherrytree); Rokia Traore, "Ne So" (Nonesuch); Wheeler Walker Jr., "Redneck S***" (Pepper Hill)

From The Vaults: America, "Sigma Sound Studios 1972" (All Access); Johnny Cash, "Koncert v Praze (In Prague-Live) (Columbia/Legacy); Robert Cray, "Old Jam, New Blood" (All Access); Crosby, Stills & Nash, "Survival Sunday" (Go Faster); Daughtry, "It's Not Over...The Hits So Far" (RCA); John Hiatt & the Nashville Queens, "Sigma Studios 1996" (Gossip); Joni Mitchell and Herbie Hancock, "Bread & Roses Festival 1978" (Iconography); J.D. Souther, "Black Rose," Home By Dawn" (Omnivore); Steely Dan, "Doing It in California" (Sutra)

Soundtracks: Person of Interest 3 & 4" (Varese Sarabande); "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" (Varese Sarabande)

New Music Videos: Elvis Costello, "Detour LIve at LIverpool Philharmonic Hall" (Eagle Rock()

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