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Leftover Salmón "Euphoria" Hollywood Records Every now and than a recording comes across my deskthatjumpsfrom the CD player, simply grabbing me by the ear and leading me around the room. Leftover Salmon's latest recording, "Euphoria," s such a record. This five-piece outfit from Boulder, Colorado plays reggae-tinged, New Orleansstyle second-line rhythms over bluesy, electric slide guitar licks and bluegrass mandolinbanjo crosstalk (not to mention the dynamite vocal harmonies). The musicianship, catchy eclectic tunes and good clean production makes this CD a listening treat. Featuring Vince Herman on vocals and guitar; Drew Emmrtt, vocals, mandolín and fiddle; Mark Vann on electric banjo; Michael Wooten, drums; and Tye North on the five-string bass, this group has caught the eye of some pretty powerful musicians. They've enlisted bluegrass veterans Sam Bush and Pete Sears to play fiddle and piano and Drew Emmitt's wonderful tune "Muddy Water Home" has been covered by Alison Krauss and the Cox Family. This is nota bluesgrass album. Their work is too diverse. Opening with "Better," a rollicking up-tempo reggaetune featuring Vince Herman's Duane Allmanesque slide guitar work, the record never Iets up. Although the tempo slows on Drew Emmttt's "Highway Song," the country drive of the drums and Sam Bush's eerie fiddling carry the same energy of the opener into the next southern rock-groove tune "Baby Hold On." Three tunes stand out on this exceptional recording. "Mama Boulet" is straight from the Caribbean side of New Orleans. Replete with a hint of kettle drums, this tune pulses and pushes one on to the dance floor. "Cash on the Barrelhead" is a mid-'50s Louvin Brother bluegrass tune. Instead of covering it straight, Leftover Salmón mixes a few things together such as a James Burton (Ricky Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Elvis) guitar lick with a Duane Allman feedback-laced line. The results is a guitar lover's dream - good picking and great sounds. "Euphoria" isathrowback to the jug-bands of the early '60s. Although there is no actual jug being played, the energy and sentiment of those early folkies is apparent, which seems to fit in just fine with this entire recording. The last time Leftover Salmón was in town was a couple of years ago, around Hash Bash time. Until they get here again, piek this up today. Blue Mountain "Dog Days" Roadrunner Records You gotta love a group who writes a toe-tapping square dance song called "Jimmie Carter," sends a CD and an invite to a performance of the song to Carter who responds saying he and Rosalynn couldn't attend but he cially enjoyed "the song about the peanut farmer." This s what Blue Mountain, the Oxford, Mississippi-based roots-rock trio has the chutzpah to do. Based on this alone, they'll probably go far. But besides bravura, this is one of the strongest lyrical recordings l've heard in quite some time. One can hear in this excellent recording strains of the late great band Únele Túpelo (and current ncarnate Wilco), early Jayhawks, and an occasional tinge of Neil Young. Their authentic sound is loose, fun, tender and boisterous, more rock than country but more country than grunge. Consisting of Cary Hudson, vocals and guitars; Laurie Stirratt, bass and vocals; and Frank Coutch, drums, their point of view is very Southern, in sound and sentiment. Their repertoire ranges f rom the rocker cal led "ZZQ" dedicated to a late-'70s, now defunct Jackson, Mississippi punk and hard rock radio station; the slow delicate popish "Blue Canoe," and the stunning electric version of blues legend, Skip James' "Special Rider Blues." Lyrically one of their strongest songs isthe beauWul acousticfolk-gospel, somber yet creepy, mythic bailad "Epitaph." About the early days of Elvis, its allusions to the dead brother Jessie, the days in Túpelo, and the life in a "shot-gun shack" brilliantly convey a reverence only someone who intimatety understands the region could capture. This recording is worth repeated playing. ,


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