Fitz and The Tantrums : More Than Just a Dream

After two years of exhaustive touring supporting their debut LP, Pickin' Up the Pieces, Fitz & the Tantrums faced the daunting task of recording a follow-up album that would live up to the newly heightened expectations without simply releasing a carbon copy of the music that made them famous. Perhaps as a way of delegating that problem, front-man Michael Fitzpatrick this time opted against producing the album himself, instead handing the reigns to Tony Hoffer (Beck, The Kooks).

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Aloe Blacc: Good Things

Aloe Blacc's ability to re-interpret and reinvigorate the beloved soul sound with remarkable song arrangements makes this debut stand out from the oftentimes cookie cutter format of two chord vamps and throaty vocals.  Good Things is a grower, gazing toward the classics for inspiration and standing tall next to the modern champions. Let its charm slowly burn.    

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John Legend & The Roots: Wake Up

For every “All Along the Watchtower” moments of perfection, the flip side, such as Zac Brown covering “Oh My Sweet Carolina” leaves you looking for the nearest pair of earplugs and questioning why more stringent copyright laws don’t exist.  Fortunately for listeners, John Legend and The Roots have hooked up and fall into the former category by collaborating on a series of 12 funk-soul covers that pack a punch and take you back to 1972, both musically and thematically. 

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Myra Flynn

Myra Flynn is a singer/songwriter based in Burlington, Vermont.  Flynn has been performing throughout New England and New York, riding a surge of interest generated by the release of her debut CD, Crooked Measures. Her disc includes all original material and reflects a mature songwriter blending emotional lyrics with soulful vocals and homespun arrangements. Melissa Brodeur put her in the hot spot for a round of quick questions…

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Sharon Jones: I Learned The Hard Way

When you listen to old-school soul singer Sharon Jones and her brassy Dap Kings, you get the sense that if you dropped your iPod the recording might begin skipping like a vinyl release. Such is the case with I Learned The Hard Way, her latest collection of retro R&B which hits all the right notes Jones nailed on her prior release 100 Days, 100 Nights.

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Review: JJ Grey & Mofro @ The Variety

Atlanta’s Matt and Kelly Andrews, of Musical Stew Daily fame, eat, drink and breathe live music. Please welcome them to the Hidden Track posse to represent the ATL with reviews and news from the Big Peach.

In Atlanta’s Little 5 Points, the heart and soul of live music is located squarely at The Variety Playhouse. Showcasing an eclectic mix of musical talent nightly, The Variety has hosted an impressive roster of talents through the years. Phish, Widespread Panic, Lee “Scratch” Perry and others have graced the stage of The Variety in the past. On Saturday the 11th, they hosted yet another favorite of mine, Jacksonville, Florida’s JJ Grey & Mofro.

Sweet tea, blackberry cobbler, ox-tail soup, hominy grits, mosquitoes, fried catfish and hush puppies are all synonymous with Jacksonville’s culinary life and culture, the birthplace and home of Mofro. Molasses sweet and thick, Otis Redding inspired “front porch soul.” The music is gritty and tough while remaining sweet and inspired. Music with a cause, to preserve the land and life that JJ Grey so obviously holds sacred. An urgent message delivered with a steady groove and southern manners. The simplicity of yesteryear is sadly fading before his eyes as he implores us to see Florida through those same eyes– likening it to “watching someone you love die slow.”

READ ON for more of Matt and Kelly’s JJ Grey and Mofro review…

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Lettuce: Rage!

Like their left coast cousins The Greyboy Allstars, Lettuce is something of a modern urban musical myth. Formed in the 90's out of common experience and taste, members of the band went out on individual projects—Soulive, Scofield and solo—before coalescing once again into a powerful funk collective.

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Papa Grows Funk: Mr. Patterson’s Hat

On their third studio album, Mr. Patterson’s Hat (the title is a tribute to a local auto mechanic who haunts the local bars and music venues), Papa Grows Funk mostly does it right, displaying great respect for the musical traditions of the Crescent City, from funk to blues to R&B to jazz and beyond.

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