CD Shorts

Benjamin Carr
Sums
(RasB Music)

Vermont-based musician Benjamin Carr knows his way around a drum kit. And as it turns out, he knows his way around the recording studio, too. After providing percussion for several New England acts (including Mo Ambesa and Soul Design), Carr recorded, mixed and mastered his second solo album himself. Sums sounds like it might have been made in a kitchen, with beats and bangs knocked out on pots and pans and polished surfaces. Carr invited a host of southern Vermont musicians to add their sounds to the mix. Whistles, trumpets, piano, and soaring guitar solos bleed into the eclectic, electric rhythm. Carr's unpredictable blend defies categorization. Suffice it to say it sounds like he had more fun than a two-year-old with a spoon and a saucepan. —Amy Littlefield

Mambo Sons
Heavy Days
(Omnicide)

With their fourth release in 10 years, Tom Guerra and Scott Lawson, along with frequent contributor Joe Lemieux, tackle one of the more ambitious moves from the annals of classic rock: the double album. It's a lofty goal, but it's apparent that all three are up to the task. Their attempt plays like a talent-filled homage to the best aspects of classic rock, with echoes of other artists constantly cropping up. Disc one features rockers like the Skynyrd-tinged "Single City" that showcase Guerra's scintillating lead guitar lines. Disc two indulges some experimental tendencies. The too-short gem "Song for a Rugger" sounds like a stadium sing-along, complete with Beatles sample. Somehow it works, as does the absurdly infectious funk romp "I Love My Family." Catch the Sons live at their CD release party on Nov. 28 at the Black Moon in Belchertown.  —Michael Cimaomo

Tim Eriksen
Northern Roots Live in Namest
(Indies Scope)

Tim Eriksen is backed by an impressive musical resum? (including placing songs on the Cold Mountain soundtrack and fronting Cordelia's Dad). Wielding nothing but guitar, fiddle, and banjo to accompany himself, Eriksen offers a crystal-clear live recording of traditional New England folk songs with Northern Roots. Stylized and focused, his banjo playing, as can be heard on the track "Omie Wise," is a sharp example of his emulation of the roots of traditional folk music. The rich imagery in songs such as "Castle by the Sea" and "Bonny Bay of Biscay" brings back the familiar aesthetic of longstanding oral traditions. Eriksen's rich voice makes it easy to get caught up in the vivid storytelling of his Anglo-American balladry. —Jillian Fink

Author: Advocate Staff

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