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CD Reviews:
The Listening Room: Andre Williams, Paul Simon, Tegan & Sara, Train and more

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Friday, June 3, 2016

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Andre Williams

"I Wanna Go Back To Detroit City"


Grade: B+

You could accuse Andre Williams of trying to glom on to Detroit's renaissance on his latest album, but the truth is that even though the artist-writer-producer calls Chicago home he made his musical name in his native Detroit, working for Motown and Fortune Records. His "return" is a chest-thumping celebration that not only proclaims his roots -- in the title track and the noir ambience of "Detroit (I'm So Glad I'm Stayed)" -- but shows that at 79 (80 in November) the co-writer of "Shake a Tail Feather" remains vigorous and entertainingly cantankerous, perfectly suited to the raw garage soul crafted by co-producer Matthew Smith (Outrageous Cherry, ??) and a corps of Motor City rockers who deftly capture the vibe and texture for a sonic personality to match Williams' grit and grizzle. The country-western flavored "Mississippi Sue," an apology of sorts about missing a girlfriend's execution, and the cheatin' ode "Meet Me in the Graveyard" offer subtle, dark comedy, while Williams is as convincing with acoustic blues ("I Don't LIke You No More") as he is with the heavy electric grooves of "Times" and "Morning After Blues." It's all about feel rather than virtuosity, murk rather than melody -- and it's as genuine as the reassuring aftertaste of a good Detroit Coney Island dog.

New & Noteworthy:

Dan + Shay, "Obsessed" (Warner Music Nashville): The sophomore studio album from the country duo that took "Nothin' Like You" to No.1.

Paul Simon, "Stranger To Stranger" (Concord): Simon's 13th solo studio album is characteristically ambitious and original, this time adding Italy EDM act Clap! Clap! to the mix for new textures on three tracks.

Tegan & Sara, "Love You to Death" (Vapor/Warner Bros.): The Canadian twin sister act continues to refine and polish its sound to a rich pop sheen, picking up where 2013's "Heartthrob" left off.

Train, "Train Does Led Zeppelin II" (Crush Music): Talk about going off the rails for a second; the melodic rockers take a personal "holiday" remaking all nine tracks from Led Zep's second album.

Volbeat, "Seal The Deal & Let's Boogie" (Republic): The Danish hard rockers turn in their first album without bassist Anders Kjolholm and covers songs by the Georgia Satellites ("Battleship Chains") and Teenage Bottlerocket ("Rebound").

Whitford/St. Holmes, "Reunion" (Mailboat). Aerosmith guitarist Brad Whitford and Ted Nugent singer Derek St. Holmes are back together after 35 years, and sounding like they haven't been apart for 35 minutes.

Also Out: Band of Skulls, "By Default" (Vagrant); Beartooth, "Aggressive" (Red Bull); The Claypool Lennon Delirium, "Monolith of Phobos" (ATO); Caleb Collins, "Re-Introducing the Standards" (self-released); Cornflower Blue, "Invincible" (self-released); Fantastic Negrito, "The Last Days of Oakland" (Blackball Universe); Michael Franti & Spearhead, "Soulrocker" (Fantasy); Hellyeah, "Undeniable" (Eleven Seven); Ivas John, "Good Days A Comin'" (Right Side Up); Jorn, "Heavy Rock Radio" (Frontiers); The Kills, "Ash & Ice" (Domino); Craig Morgan, "A Whole Lot More To Me" (Black River); Maren Morris, "Hero" (Columbia Nashville); Mason Porter, "Heart of the Mountains" (self-released); The Melvins, "Basses Loaded" (Ipecac); MOURN - Ha, Ha, Ha (Captured Tracks); Psychic Ills - Inner Journey Out (Sacred Bones); Rebelution, "Falling Into Place" (Easy Star); Xenia Rubinos, "Black Terry Cat" (Anti-); Andy Shauf, "The Party" (Anti-); C.W. Stoneking, "Gon' Boogaloo" (King Hokum); Kenny "Blues Boss" Wayne, "Jumpin' & Boppin'" (Stony Plain); Joshua Winstead, "MMXX" (Royal Cut)

From The VaultsL Paul Butterfield Blues Band," "Got a Mind to Give Up Living: Live 1966" (Real Gone); The Kinks, "Everybody's In Show-Biz" (Legacy Edition); Red, "End of Silence: 10th Anniversary Edition" (Provident); Rolling Stones, "Totally Stripped" (Eagle Rock); Traveling Wilburys, "Traveling Wilburys Collection" (Concord); Various Artists, "Stony Plain: 40 Years" (Stony Plain).

New Music DVDs: Imagine Dragons, "Smoke + Mirrors Live" (KIDinaKORNER/Interscope/Eagle Rock); Yanni, "The Dream Concert: Live From the Great Pyramids of Egypt" (Sony Masterworks)

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