Ric Hickey

Shooter Jennings: The Other Life

Shooter fearlessly confronts the duality of man’s nature. Can Saturday night and Sunday morning learn to live side by side? Directly quoting one of his father’s songs, he asks, “Don’t y’all think this ‘outlaw’ bit done got outta hand?” As a lens through which to view and contemplate the finer points of man’s perplexing nature, The Other Life is not just Shooter’s birthright but a surprisingly fertile platform for hard-won philosophical insights.

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Robyn Hitchcock : Love From London

Like a pirate winking behind his eye patch, it’s hard to tell when Robyn Hitchcock is pulling your leg. Over the course of a career spanning nearly four decades, this visionary Brit wit has carved out a musical path that is purely unique. His work exists in a realm all its own, largely defying comparison to any other songwriter’s work.

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Black Country Communion: Afterglow

Black Country Communion is a hard rock super group whose sound is far more than the sum of its collective chops and they put the “eyebrows” on every track on Afterglow, their fantastic third album. Whoever it was that said “they don’t make ‘em like they used to” hasn’t heard Black Country Communion. Their pedigree alone qualifies them for some kind of exalted status.

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New York Dolls: Lookin’ Fine On Television

Lookin' Fine On Television opens with an endearing interview excerpt from so early in the Dolls’ storied career that they seem like a fresh-faced band of brothers doing their best imitation of Rock Stars.

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Joe Henry: Reverie

Joe Henry is the perfect storm of singer/songwriter/producer. Right out of the box, the singular sound of his production is always striking. Not unlike Lanois’ Wall Of Murk, Henry’s work invariably consists of stark layers of gentle noise, undulating blocks of sound, instruments alternately lurching into and jutting out of the arrangements, and elusive lyrical abstractions representing the darkest reaches of the emotional spectrum. These multiple layers of organic sound are sparse and simple, quietly going about their business holding up Henry’s soulful songs of Reverie.

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Yes: Yesspeak

There are certainly some excellent concert performances included here but thanks to some ill-advised and overlong interview segments, the overall presentation comes across as pompous and self-important.

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Tom Waits on Tom Waits: by Paul Maher Jr.

Tom Waits On Tom Waits brings together a large number of interviews conducted throughout the great man’s storied career. Covering a remarkable 35-year span from 1973 to 2008, this collection employs Waits’ own words to paint a vivid self portrait of a highly original American artist and iconoclast. The book makes for a very intriguing chronology of Waits’ development as a songwriter, recording artist and performer. Fiercely protective of his private life and notoriously reclusive, Waits nonetheless has always been a lively and unpredictable interview subject.

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Jeff Bridges: Jeff Bridges

Two years after Crazy Heart’s release, one gets the impression that Bridges got a taste of the Bad Blake character and liked it too much to let it go. That said, it’s also easy to picture Bridges standing outside the recording studio like a painter in front of a blank canvas, determined to create something that’s never been done before. Likely to be embraced by the alt-Country ccmmunity and college radio, let’s hope this is the first of many records like this from Jeff Bridges.

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Dancing Barefoot: The Patti Smith Story: by Dave Thompson

Dancing Barefoot recalls many events that may already be familiar to fans of Smith’s career and readers of NYC music history. But the author does bring a deeper insight to the artist’s motivations and a great deal of much-needed perspective on the era in which she blossomed.

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Nikka Costa: Pro*Whoa! EP

The first in a series of EP releases, Pro*Whoa! finds Nikka Costa cooing and screeching over six freaky funk tracks reminiscent of Prince and Stevie Wonder.

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