Song Saves the Day: Dori Freeman’s “I Want To See the Bright Lights Tonight”

I was driving along, enjoying Freeman’s new Letters Never Read when her cover of this tune jumped out and spun my head around. Immediately brought back the moment when, the third or fourth time I had listened to the song, I realized it was not merely an excellent hooray-for-the-weekend number, but a more profound reflection on the human condition and the need for release and freedom. And Linda Thompson flat incarnated the number. (Linda and Richard’s son Teddy Thompson plays guitar on this “Bright Lights,” produced the album, too). The Dori Freeman debut slipped past me last year. Now I will have to check it out.

Couple Quick Music Points …

… as I struggle to find something I like today.

I am a tough sell for pure voices-and-percussion albums. And I don’t think it’s a “just me” kinda taste quirk. I know voice-and-percussion can be captivating, gripping, on stage, but the format is too hard to follow all the way though a whole album.

Next, it’s hard, lotta work, to redeem corny tunes though improvisation. If you roll out one lame-o, half-gimmick tune after another, I come to suspect you may like corny tunes. Because, I mean, there’s no question there’s an audience for them.

Expert Witness Comment of the Week

Trio da Kali & Kronos Quartet

I’ve been kicking myself for weeks since I’ve been too tangled up in non-writerly matters to get a review done for this standout. It’s the second classical-strings-fusion miracle this year, following Carl Craig’s Versus. The secret in both cases, I would say, is tweak and practice tweak and practice. Ten years to perfect the Craig. And Trio de Kali and Kronos have been working out the kinks in live performances since 2014.

Expert Witness Comment for the Week

Sounds in the air today: Umphrey’s McGee, Zonkey

Initial brilliant stroke: the title.

Very clever again and again. First three tracks in particular. Those insanely in love with their record collections will be most appreciative. For ages I hoped there would be one more grand mashup album, and this is a performance, not studio sorcery.

Most pointed “joke”: Mutual strangulation of Ted Nugent and the Beastie Boys (at least someplace I can enjoy the guitar structures without guilt/fury).

Sad reminder: the weakest numbers by far are the originals.