This page is used for reviewing commercially released Albums and CDs. Antietam Music Review will abide by the “Four-Song Keeper” formula. We feel that an album must have at least four good tunes to
be considered worthy of purchasing. There once was a time when a 10-song album had 10 great songs!
We are actually quite generous here at Antietam Music Review.
AMR Favorites for 2016
For some odd reason (probably political), many great American music projects from 2016 came and went with very little fanfare. The staff at AMR siphoned through dozens of albums from last year and came up with our top three favorites for 2016.
The first “AMR FAV” to be swept under the rug will eventually be yet another John Prine classic. FOR BETTER OR WORSE is a fascinating mix of duets featuring Prine, an American music legend, with a host of adept female vocalists. If you are a John Prine fan, this album is a must have. If you enjoy traditional country music, FOR BETTER OR WORSE is a must hear! Special props go to, “Look At Us” with Morgane Stapleton (yes, Chris’s wife) and “I’m Telling You” with Holly Williams (yes, Hank’s granddaughter). The real door prize on this album however, turns out to be the Joe Maphis honky-tonk classic, “Dim Lights, Thick Smoke (And Loud, Loud Music)” with Amanda Shires. While Maphis is not around to enjoy this gem in 21st century studio quality, his wife and kids must be thrilled with the charming sequel.
Another fantastic keeper from last year is a bit out of the usual realm for the AMR staff. REVERIE is 56 minutes of classical guitar music by Marylander, Candice Mowbray. If you are a metal freak or thrash head, REVERIE will most likely not be for you. Having said that, if you are a guitarist or one who appreciates acoustic music, this collection of alluring compositions will blow your mind. Mowbray is elegant when appropriate and stylishly aggressive when necessary. She has mastered tonal quality and is in total control of her dynamics. REVERIE has multiple moods. You can enjoy this album while cruising in your BMW, cleaning around the house or hanging with that special someone.
Finally, the top studio release for 2016 according to our staff at AMR is ON SAFARI from The Kentucky Headhunters. The guys from the practice house have done it again. ON SAFARI is an eclectic compilation, with a heavy emphasis on southern, rockin’ blues. Greg Martin proves once more why he is one of today’s most tasteful and soulful slide guitarists as his guidance appears salient and effective on every cut.
There are multiple treasures to be discovered in this batch of tunes with clever lyrical hooks, addictive melodic transitions and good old shit-kickin’ rhythm. “Lowdown Memphis Town Blues” is probably the most commercial friendly selection with Doug Phelps presenting an enticing demonstration on lead vocals. Yes, you just read “commercial friendly” in a Kentucky Headhunters album review. Richard Young has decided to assert his uniquely raspy vocal talents more frequently on this album. “Crazy Jim” is an emotional ballad, reminiscing about that one unique character recognizable in every small town USA. This particular story ends with a sincere, positive and poignant message encouraging kindness to others.
Additional can’t miss excerpts include an energetic “Jukebox Full Of Blues” and a drunken sing along, “God Loves A Rolling Stone”. ON SAFARI closes with a delightfully charming two-minute instrumental titled, “Governors Cup”. Just like that, this musical expedition ends the way it began… with Greg Martin leading the journey.
John Prine: www.JohnPrine.com
Candice Mowbray: www.CandiceMowbray.com
The Kentucky Headhunters: www.KentuckyHeadhunters.com