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CD Reviews 

TRIBE HILL: Kindred Folk, Volume 1
TRIBES HILL/KINDRED FOLK, 2002

Tribes Hill is a nonprofit organization of Hudson Valley musicians who share similar concepts, values, and goals with the love of good music as the common denominator. Kindly, they offer up their fruits on Kindred Folk, Volume 1 for all to enjoy. The 17 tracks on this compilation reflect the myriad personalities and styles of the collective, and hold at least one something for everyone.

From straightforward bluesy folk to acoustic instrumentals (and many points in between), these tunes will no doubt find their way to their respective and adoring listeners. Highlights include The Kennedys’ “Didn’t It Rain,” which pushes the folk envelope to its outermost limits; Marc Von Em’s quietly urgent “Time Bomb,” which, believe it or not, is even more passion-filled in his live performance; Karen Novy’s melodic pop offering “Tell Me”; and—get this—Gandalf Murphy & the Slambovian Circus of Dreams with “Already Broken.” The contributions of Steve Kirkman, Ina May Wool, and Rhonda Schuster are also fairly easy on the ear and deserving of a spin.

The quantity and quality of these musicians certainly suggest that Tribes Hill has set itself on a worthy mission, bringing some part of the masses, we hope, along for the ride.

—Kelly McCartney


VARIOUS ARTISTS: A Taste of Woodstock

HUDSON VALLEY TECHNOLOGY & COMMERCE, INC., 2004

Last spring, Hudson Valley Technology & Commerce held a conference on new technologies in the recording industry, out of which emerged the goal of increasing local and national exposure of musical artists hailing from Woodstock. The resulting CD, A Taste of Woodstock, features 52 cuts from individuals and groups who collectively are shining yet another spotlight on the Colony of the Arts. With these two volumes of song, the folks at HVTC have admirably achieved their goals.

The collection features signature works by the well known (Tom Pacheco, Ras T., Dave Mason, Valen Swensen, Marc Black, John Herald, Tom Desisto, Bar Scott), the pretty well known (Anna Cheek, The Bernstein Bros., Princes of Serendip), some these ears haven't heard before (Trickbaby, Diana Jones), and a few familiar figures (New World Home Cooking's Chef Ric) displaying their hitherto unknown musical prowess. Taste contains something for everyone, from folk to soul, punk to funk, bluegrass to jazz.

With such an ambitious project, there inevitably is, of course, one small problem—that for every artist who responded to HVTC's call for performers, there must be at least two other up-and-coming song stars. But that’s something only HVTC can address. To order, or for streamed DVD, visit www.woodstocklive.com.

—Susan Piperato

BERNSTEIN & THE KID: Stoney Clove Lane
STONEY CLOVE, 2003

There’s something particular and peculiar about Upstate New York musicians. Perhaps they’re drawing from the ineffable essence of the nature that surrounds us, perhaps they’re simply afforded a fertile creative haven by our fortress of forests and mountains. A certain aural aesthetic often emerges; something couched in pop sensibilities but with strong folk underpinnings and a hint of melodic rock.

Going deeper into the woods, we find Stoney Clove Lane, titled after the quaint Chichester road on which singer/songwriter Jeremy Bernstein home-recorded this humble opus. There is an exciting amount of variety here, from odd plodding ballads to up-tempo foot-stompers. “Cloudless Sky” has a strong Pink Floyd vibe, while “Got it Made” is all breezy guitar and subtle swagger. Upbeat cuts stomp along to solid grooves, such as the wah-inflected clap-along “That’s For Sure” or the banjo-kissed, mouth harp heavy “One Horse Town.”

An expansive sound needn’t translate into expanding boundaries, and while there’s nothing groundbreaking here, there is something particularly affecting about this collection of compositions, especially for an Upstater. Through a dozen tracks, Bernstein glimpses the timeless beauty of our locale and effectively conveys his personal vision of a life carefully contemplated and energetically expressed.

—Zac Shaw

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