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ESOEBO – IV  (Knot Reel Records)

ALBUM OF THE MONTH 

www.esoebo.com

Chuck McDowell (acoustic guitar, vocals) & Gail Burnett (vocals, cello) are Esoebo. With them supported by an amazing set of Nashville sessionmen in the form of producer Phil Madeira (acoustic, electric, lap steel guitar, piano, B3 Organ), Will Kimbrough (electric, acoustic guitar, mandolin), Chris Donohue (upright, electric bass), Bryan Owings and Dennis Holt, drums, and on one track, “For The Money” Bill Kitchen plays electric guitar you have a real team. Esoebo’s style of music is certainly eclectic as country, swing, jazz and rock are mixed together. From the sound of it McDowell is a big lover of the country story-ballad. This is no better illustrated than on “Some Things Said”, a co-write with Jonathan Richardson the feel of the melody isn’t that distant from (though quicker paced) “Long Black Veil”. It’s a good ‘un! With it sweetly warmed in harmony vocals and a relentless rhythm section everything slots together nicely.  

McDowell is the major vocalist, and with his bouncy style the music is never less than creative, and with Burnett and pickers with him ever step of the way a feel good factor is never far away; and, on top of the spirited playing there is also the humour of McDowell’s lyrics. As found on “For The Money”, and with a snappy beat with drums, lap steel, mandolin etc thrown into the pot to simmer, “A Little Bit Like Saint Paul” (sublime) is loaded in energy, and is arguably the best recording on the record. Now there is a common thread, energy the album has bushels of it! It continues right to the last as “The River” rocks in and out of the shadows; if ever a record sounded like everyone was having fun making it this is it. On this particular track Burnett enjoys more exposure than at any other time, and she doesn't waste the opportunity. 

Four of the tracks are co-writes with Madeira. Reflective closing track loaded in B3 Organ “Suffer No More” and southern steeped jaunty tale “Jubilee” among them. McDowell’s trio of solo creations are most interesting, and as expected diverse. “Hardwired For Trouble” is a funky soul warmed little number while “Hot Stuff” is a swing jazz affair, and there is the cello, electric guitar percussion driven “Scary”. With its hooky chorus and general warmth the listener has little choice but be drawn to the song! Producer Phil Madeira has a great track record, both as a producer and musician (he was with Emmylou Harris for a number of years), and has a couple of wonderful projects of his own available. Go check him and, Esoebo out. Don't linger, just do it. 

Maurice Hope  

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April 2018

1
Courtney Marie Andrews
100 pts.
May Your Kindness Remain
Loose Music
PK,CVL,DHO,JB,LK
2
Mary Gauthier
59 pts.
Rifles And Rosary Beads
In the Black Records
 
3
Caleb Caudle
49 pts.
Crushed Coins
Cornelius Chapel Records
TJ,TK,MP
4
Western Centuries
48 pts.
Songs From The Deluge
Free Dirt Records
DD,GS,FS,HM
5
Vivian Leva
44 pts.
Time is Everything
Free Dirt Records
 
6
Ed Romanoff
42 pts.
The Orphan King
Pinerock Records
 
7
Grant Peeples
41 pts.
Settling Scores vol. 2
Continental
AN
8
Joan Baez
32 pts.
Whistle Down The Wind
Proper Records
 
9
Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints
29 pts.
Texas, etc...
DollyRocker
MF,HDB
 
Sam Morrow
29 pts.
Concrete and Mud
Forty Below Records
JV
11
Chris Smither
27 pts.
Call Me Lucky
Signature Sounds
JSM,JD
12
Michael McDermott
26 pts.
Out From Under
Continental Song City
CRS
13
John Prine
24 pts.
The Tree of Forgiveness
Oh Boy Records
SP
14
Mary Chapin Carpenter
23 pts.
Sometimes Just The Sky
Lambent Light Records
 
15
Dean Owens
22 pts.
Southern Wind
At The Helm
PJ
16
6 String Drag
21 pts.
Top of The World
Schoolkids Records
FCE,JS
 
Haley Heynderickx
21 pts.
I Need To Start A Garden
Mama Bird Recordings
 
 
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
21 pts.
Tearing At The Seams
Stax Records
RM
19
Abe Partridge
20 pts.
Cotton Fields And Blood For Days
Skate Mountain
MVP,RK
 
Adam James Sorensen
20 pts.
Dust Cloud Refrain
Continental Song City
BM
 
Ben Reel
20 pts.
Land Of Escape
B REEL Records
 
 
Chip Taylor
20 pts.
Fix Your Words
Train Wreck Records
LM
 
Kesia Nagata
20 pts.
Looking For Horses
Caramal Productions
GC,EZ
 
Sheesham & Lotus & 'Son
20 pts.
Clear The Table
SepiaPhone Records
SZ,PG
25
3hattrio
18 pts.
Lord of the Desert
Okehdokee Records
 
 
Marlon Williams
18 pts.
Make Way for Love
Dead Oceans

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