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Go 'Beyond Genres' with Robert Diack, Tony Tyrell, 'Drumology 2,' 'The Elvis Connection' and more

Drummer Diack demolishes genre. Clarinetist Tyrell puts classical in his rear-view mirror for folk. "Drumology 2" gathers an elite army of percussionists. The Brother Brothers are the Everlys on steroids. Atomicat Records shuns immoral behavior with pre-'63 classics. And finally, find out what Patti Page has to do with Elvis in 'The Elvis Connection.'
Robert Diack

     There is no describing the self-released Small Bridges. There is no identifiable genre. There is nothing to compare to the music of drummer/producer/composer/synth-master visionary Robert Diack. The 14 original tracks—some co-written with bassist Brandon Davis, guitarist Patrick O’Reilly and pianist Jacob Thompson—are an hour-long flight into the outer limits. Prog rock? Jazz fusion? Avant-Garde? Outlaw North Americana? This Canadian has set his sights for the heart of the sun and there’s no looking back. Guitars atop guitars with rests of sweet piano amid complex charts of layered meters is only the beginning.

Robert Diack courtesy Ernesto Cervini

Robert Diack courtesy Ernesto Cervini

Tony Tyrrell

     Backed by keyboards, two guitars, drums, bass and fiddle, singer/songwriter Tony Tyrrell’s self-released Conviction lands the former classical clarinetist away from the symphony and on to the international progressive folk-rock scene. Based in Dublin, Ireland, and having tasted the wine of larger audiences opening for Donovan, Tyrell sings of betrayal and regret, longing and romance. His lyrics are tear-stained odes to the human experience. He sings every note with warmth and compassion. 

Tony Tyrrell courtesy Jon Bleicher

Tony Tyrrell courtesy Jon Bleicher


Drumology 2

     The various drummers rounded up by Rob Silverman for Drumology Volume II (Autumn Hill Records) is a who’s who of bashing. (All proceeds benefit the Neil Peart Fund for brain cancer research at Cedars-Sinai Med Center.) Billy Cobham (Mahavishnu Orchestra), Mike Mangini (Dream Theater), Todd Sucherman (Styyx), Casey Grillo (Queensryche), Glen Sobel (Alice Cooper) and others engage in drum duels and add bombast to compositions by Silverman played by guitarist Dweezil Zappa, bassist John Patitucci, violinist Jerry Goodman and other A-Listers.
“Victory” is pure prog. “Sea Spray” is jazz-rock fusion. “Avalanche,” with three drummers, is neo-classical. The whole thing is a master class in the art of sound: constantly evolving, entertaining, outrageous and vital. Sure hope there’s a third installment.

The Brother Brothers

     The Brother Brothers from Peoria, Illinois are The Everly Brothers on steroids. Their close-knit family harmonies are compelling, skin-tight, magnificent and soulful. Cover To Cover (Compass Records) is a keeper. The implicit genres are stunning: bluegrass, country, pop, rock’n’roll, jazz and folk. They’re musicologists, plumbing the depths of pop culture from Jackson Browne, Tom T. Hall, Hoagy Carmichael, Richard Thompson and Robert Earl Keen to Tom Waits, Judee Sill, Dolly/Linda/Emmylou and Lafayette, Louisiana dance band The Revelers. They both hold music degrees. David plays cello (since third grade) and guitar. Adam plays fiddle, keyboards and banjo. Beautiful! Bravo! 

The Brother Brothers by Kaitlin Raitz

The Brother Brothers by Kaitlin Raitz

Brad Absher Tulsa Tea Hi-Res Cover

     Don Williams took “Tulsa Time” to the top of the country charts in 1978. Now guitarist/singer/songwriter Brad Absher has come out with Tulsa Tea, recorded at the studio of one of Oklahoma’s brightest lights, Leon Russell. With an all-star OK lineup, this warm groove-laden roots music goes down smooth yet funky, rockin’ and swampy with nods to Louisiana and Houston. It’ll make you move.

Shun Immoral Behaviour

     In the Atomicat Records series “10 Commandments of Rock’n’Roll,” Commandment #10 is Shun Immoral Behaviour: We’ll Raise A Ruckus Tonight and there’s Big Joe Turner’s head on the cover with a cartoon body drinking and dancing. Leading off with “The Devil Is Mad” by Dorothea Fleming and the Danny Small Orchestra on through that rockabilly female Elvis Wanda Jackson doing Don Covay and Berry Gordy’s “There’s A Party Goin’ On” and Connie Jordan’s “I’m Gonna Rock (Till My Rocker Breaks Down),” you’ll find a treasure trove of hot-rockin’ daddies and smooth sailin’ mamas all gettin’ down like The Treniers doing “Poon Tang!” Admittedly, most tracks aren’t as lascivious as that one but when it comes to Spookum Russell lusting after that “Juke Box Boogie Woogie Chick” or Paula Watson admitting “I Love To Ride,” there’s no doubting the message.


     The third volume of The Elvis Presley Connection (Bear Family Records) is out, 35 roots and covers from his film catalog and beyond with nifty little notes on each song and artist. You’d be surprised at the connection artists like The Coasters, Lavern Baker, The Clovers, Marty Robbins, Clyde McPhatter, The Drifters and Patti Page had with The King, recording the songs he sang both before and after he did. Then there’s the usual suspects like France’s Johnny Holiday, Otis Blackwell, Mort Shuman, Jerry Lee Lewis and Ral Donner, all more closely identified with Presley. It’s an Elvis-Fest! 


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