whats onopinion

What Kevin Heard: A 'wealth of richly rewarding obscurities on offer'

Music reviewer Kevin Bryan looks at records from time gone by, including Aoife O'Donovan's In The Magic Hour and Sassy Sugar - The Pure Essence of Nashville rock n roll

Kevin Bryan reviews another set of records, including Aoife O'Donovan's In The Magic Hour

Fancy picking up a new album to enjoy this January, but not sure what to go for?

Here's music reviewer Kevin Bryan's low-down on another selection of albums from years gone by:

Aoife O'Donovan, "In The Magic Hour" (Yep Roc)

If you've been fortunate enough to witness Aoife O'Donovan's contributions to the long running BBC series, "Transatlantic Sessions," you should have a good idea of what to expect from the beguiling Bostonian's second solo album.

"In The Magic Hour" finds Aoife applying her fragile vocal talents to some of the most subtly memorable folk-rock creations that you could ever wish to hear, with Americana stalwarts such as Chris Thile and Sarah Jarosz lending a hand to create the graceful musical backdrop as she unveils captivating ditties such as "Magpie" and the mournful "Donal Og."

"Sassy Sugar - The Pure Essence of Nashville Rock & Roll " (Fantastic Voyage)

The latest addition to Fantastic Voyage's excellent "Sugar" series of three-CD sets focuses attention on some of the country performers whose careers flourished in the home of the genre during the late fifties.

The likes of Gene Vincent, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley all make an appearance but the real strength of this anthology lies in the wealth of richly rewarding obscurities on offer, including Ray Melton's "Boppin' Guitar" and the infectious teenage rockabilly of Jimmy Isle's "Billy Boy."

Tanja Becker-Bender / Peter Nagy, "Bela Bartok : The Works for Violin and Piano" (SWR Music)

This absorbing vehicle for the talents of German violinist Tanja-Becker Bender explores some of the distinctive musical landscapes created by the ever challenging Bela Bartok.

This innovative composer's expressionistic creations drew inspiration from the folk music traditions of his native Hungary and some some fine examples of his work are given an airing here, most notably the two "Rhapsodies" and Bartok's "Violin Sonata No.1 in C sharp minor."

Ricky Nelson,"Hello Mary Lou -The Collection" (Music Club Deluxe)

Ricky Nelson was one of America's most popular teen idols during the pre-Beatles era, skilfully capitalising on the fame which had come his way via his appearances on his parents' long running TV sitcom, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.

This two-CD set brings together all the gifted teenager's US chart hits from the late fifties, with legendary guitarist James Burton leading Nelson's famously tight backing band on clean cut pop classics such as "Hello Mary Lou," "It's Late" and "Poor Little Fool."

Want to listen to more new music? Why not check out our weekly Unsigned Friday columns for new talent?

View full mobile page