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Welcome to the music review archive. Please enjoy the new monthly music reviews and visit the older write-ups through the links below. We are now reviewing hundreds of CDs per year on the Kweevak's Tracks website. Find out how to get listed on – today! Do you have a recently released CD that you would like to have considered for review on The Galaxy's Guide to Web Music?
• [Monthly Reviews] [Reviews A - Z]

BOB HILLMAN – WELCOME TO MY CENTURY: Welcome to My Century is the second release from singer/songwriter Bob Hillman. Hillman has been touring with Suzanne Vega and is also performing solo in support of his own music. Bob's interests and influences vary from alternative rock, books, punk rock to Bob Dylan. Hillman is an award-winning writer who pens funny, ironic songs that are honest and humorous. His latest thirteen track CD is a delicate blend of upbeat pop and folk rock sounds. Bob's lyrics are insightful short stories that are skillfully produced by Tommy West. Hillman is joined by other talented musicians to complement his expressive raspy vocals. Bob and the band create texture tones and songs that are both thought provoking yet comic. Hillman writes about relationships, politics and literature. Of particular interest is 'Greenland' an intelligent song that incorporates geography facts with a girl's wrongdoing. The hook line "you're twice as cold as Greenland" is accented with clever guitar rifts. The song is cutting edge cool. 'Tolstoy' is a deep dark trip complete with astute lyrics and intriguing instrumentation. 'Bolted Down' has an upbeat tempo, in your face guitars and witty lyrics about neuroses in New York City. Welcome to My Century is a storytelling melting pot of skilled musicianship and serious yet often comical compositions that are sure to please.
• Recommended Tracks: (4,11,12) [USA/NJ 2001 - web] (Review by Laura Turner Lynch for

CHRISIE SANTONI – GOING HOME: Going Home is the debut CD from singer/songwriter and guitarist Chrisie Santoni. Chrisie has been performing since age seven. Santoni is currently working with producer and Jethro Tull keyboardist Andrew Giddings on an album that should be out early 2003. She has played the coffeehouse circuit in New York and has graced the stage at the legendary Stone Pony. Chrisie has a tattoo on her left ring finger as a constant reminder that she is married to her music. Santoni's craftsmanship is apparent in her songs, which are a blend of rock, soul and funky pop. She has been compared to Janis Joplin and Jewel but has her own unique style. Her vocals are crisp, clear wild and passionate. 'Fall For Me' has a catchy beat, textured guitars and versatile vocals. 'Who I Am' has groovy guitars, an energizing beat, reflective lyrics and varied vocals. Going Home is roots rock that combines empathy, energy and talent into a diverse collection of tracks with a good vibe.
• Recommended Tracks: (2,4) [USA/NJ 2000 - web] (Review by Laura Turner Lynch for Kweevak

CRAIG BICKHARDT – EASY FIRES: Easy Fires is the latest release from singer/songwriter Craig Bickhardt. Craig has sewn an interesting music tapestry. Heavily influenced by the California music scene of the 1970's, he absorbed ideas from The Eagles, Jackson Browne and CS&N. He played the east coast club circuit and in time was opening for the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Stephen Stills. Later he moved to LA to perfect his writing skills and eventually moved to Nashville. Over the years he has penned songs and hits for a variety of artists including Art Garfunkle, Anne Murray and Martina McBride. Craig creates beautiful soundscapes through his articulate, visual lyrics. His vocals are clear, smooth and soulful. Bickhardt writes about love, loss, spirit and everyday events that are conveyed in timeless images and haunting melodies. Craig weaves rock, folk, country and Celtic into amazing arrangements. Craig is supported by talented musicians and expert production on this twelve-track compilation. The title track 'Easy Fires' has a Celtic flare, haunting vocals, powerful lyrics and soft subtle instrumentation. 'Sugarcane Street' is an idyllic place with crisp imagery and eloquent lyrics "time seems to flow slow as molasses, past row upon row of white weathered fences, where kind neighbors meet". The mandolin and fiddle adds to the dreamy peaceful flow of this scene. 'I Can't Turn the Tide' ebbs and flows on the sweet sound of flutes, birds and the Autoharp. Beautiful backing vocals, by Wendy Waldman drifts effortlessly into Craig's silky sound. Poetic lyrics explain the reality that we can't always change things. Easy Fires is a blaze of poetry, expert instrumentation and passionate vocals!
• Recommended Tracks: (1,3,9) [TN/USA 2001 - web] (Review by Laura Turner Lynch for

GEOFF ACHISON – CHASING MY TAIL: Chasing My Tail is the latest CD from award winning blues man Geoff Achison. Geoff has a deep sexy husky voice so well suited to the blues and his magic fingers fly and caress the fret with raw energy and emotion. Geoff has been touring extensively for the past few years, in which two highly acclaimed live collections were gleaned. Achison returned to Australia in 2002 to work on this studio release. Chasing My Tail is a versatile recording featuring diverse styles of tradition blues, rock, jazz, funk, soul and string instruments. This CD demonstrates Geoff's growth and experimentation as an artist. Yet, it is still true to the commanding guitar based music that he has become so well known and respected for. This twelve-track collection features ten originals and two remarkable covers. The songs vary from gentle love songs to power jam blues. The production and musicianship by Souldiggers, Horns From Hell and the orchestras are skilled and dynamic. The opening 'Chance' is laced with heavy horns, textured tones, a steady beat and subtle but superb guitars. 'Begging Bowl' is a soulful song with sultry guitars and fluid instrumentation. 'Chasing My Tail' and 'Whipping Post' are creative interpretations of other well-known songs. The title track has a solid blues tone with funky bass lines and precise percussion. The Allman's classic is an orchestrated version filled with passion and energy and accented by Geoff's guitar and gravely vocals. Chasing My Tail brilliantly blends a variety of styles to create a flavorful mix of music in which Geoff Achison, guitar great shines.
• Recommended Tracks: (1,4,6,11) [AUSTALIA/2002 - web] (Review by Laura Turner Lynch for

HACHA – HACHA: Hacha is the self-titled CD from Hacha - a southern "chant" rock band. Hacha is four longtime friends who have played hundreds of live shows perfecting their craft and establishing a solid following. This nine track collection is written and produced by the band and has a raw experimental flare that is just plain fun. Hacha builds on the foundation of great rock music from the 60's and 70's, including jam bands such as The Allman Brothers. Their sound is reminiscent of the Black Crowes since Hacha's lead singer Chris Bell who is also the rhythm guitar player, sometimes sounds like Chris Robinson. Charles Etienne provides upbeat percussions. Lead guitar and bass are expertly handled by Harold Papineau and Mike Murphy, respectively. Although Hacha's sound follows the road of classic rock music they take off on their own unique journey. A good example of this is track two entitled 'Borrowed Time' that has Led Zeppelin like riffs but soon drifts off into original solid rock guitar solos. 'Ladia-Mine' has a lot of interesting bridge changes, a blasting beat and explosive guitars. 'Take a Bow' starts off with some weird Hendrix like stuff and flows into a beat laden part that meanders into some cool spacey like guitars. Hacha, which is a combination of the names Harold and Charles, is alchemy of classic rock with a hard modern edge, a funky flare in an original formula.
• Recommended Tracks: (2,5,8) [USA/CA 2000 - web] (Review by Laura Turner Lynch for

INDIEGO MUSIC CENTER – NEW MUSIC SAMPLER VOLUME ONE: New Music Sampler Volume One is a compilation of indie releases. Indigo Music Center in connection with "promotes, markets and distributes independent music. They provide secure order processing for artist websites and sell music items for many tastes and interests." Volume One is a 15-track epic filled with solid rock material merging with a variety of genres such as alternative, jazz, and pop. I enjoyed all the diverse music on this CD. All the tracks are professionally produced and feature intriguing lyrics, solid instrumentation and a wide range of vocal styles. Volume One opens with established singer/songwriter and guitarist Nils Lofgren, who is well know for his work with Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen. 'Puttin Out Fires' is a smoking example of Nil's potent and prolific guitar style. This song rocks with a solid beat and souring guitar solos. Lofgren is book ended by the power trio known as RIFT. 'Party On The Autobahn' has fast paced guitars, a driving beat and moving vocals. Volume One also showcases a number of strong female singers fronting bands or working as solo artists. Lynn Frances Anderson sings soulfully on 'Beautiful Morning' that includes great guitar work and fine fiddles. It has a rocking beat with a touch of country and sultry vocals. Volume One is a viable venue to further indie music in a fun and diverse format. I hope that this will be one of many more collections put out by Indiego Music Center.
• Recommended Tracks: (1,5,15) [USA/2002 - web] (Review by Laura Turner Lynch for

JOHN MONTGOMERY – ONE STEP AWAY: One Step Away is the debut release from singer/songwriter John Montgomery. John also plays acoustic guitar on all of his original nine compositions and a Bob Dylan cover. Bob has been a major influence on John and his writing. Interestingly, Montgomery spent many years studying neurobiology and was planning on becoming a scientist when the call to play music became stronger and stronger. John's songs are a nice blend of alternative folk, a touch of pop and well-balanced melodies. He is supported by other talented musicians on a wide assortment of instruments including the dorbo, the lap steel, the organ, the cello, the xaphoon and the accordion. His songs are mulit-layered and textured because of the variety of sounds used. One Step Away is expertly produced. John has clear concise vocals and writes reflective, poetic lyrics that are intimate and well arranged. This CD has a mellow soft flow. The set opens with 'Not Now, Not Ever' with its upbeat rock tempo, intriguing lyrics and heartfelt vocals. 'One Step Away' has a smooth slightly spooky feel, a catchy hook line and enchanting instrumentation, which includes the lap steel and B3 organ. 'In the Mirror' reflects poignant words executed with expressive vocals and subtly accented with the cello. John writes musical montages that tell interesting stories in an honest and original forum. Hopefully, this CD is just the first step of many for this talented songwriter.
• Recommended Tracks: (1,2,5) [CA/USA 2002 - web] (Review by Laura Turner Lynch for

JULIA BROWN – JUBILANT NEWBORN ALIEN HAZE: Jubilant Newborn Alien Haze is the debut CD from singer/songwriter Julia Brown. Julia's music is an eclectic mix of rock, pop, urban and progressive complete with power-packed vocals. Brown was heavily influenced by the 80's British scene. She sites Elvis Costello, Roxy and Crowed House as some of the many bands that shaped her unique sound. Julia writes honest passionate lyrics that are sometimes angry but are filled with strength clarity and good grooves. Brown has a wide vocal range and sings with passion and might. She is supported by skilled musicians who provide great guitars, powerful percussion and clever keys. This ten-track collection is filled with well-written, expertly produced songs that each has synergy but a unique vibe. Each composition has a distinctive personality built on emotional foundations and culminating into musical montages. 'Afterglow' has a funky beat, grinding guitars, versatile vocals and energizing hook lines. This song just grabs you and keeps on glowing long after the closing lines. It is followed by 'Invisible' a passionate, soulful lament of losing someone when they are most needed. The band provides just the right subtle tones and textures to convey loneliness and sadness. 'Coffee In Your Teacup' is another prime example of Julia's writing skills combined with balanced arrangements and beautiful melodies. Jubilant Newborn Alien Haze is a celebration of intelligent lyrics, intense vocals and prime musicianship from rising star Julia Brown!
• Recommended Tracks: (3,4,10) [USA/NY 2001 - web] (Review by Laura Turner Lynch for

RICHARD MCGRAW – HER SACRED STATUS MY MILITNAT NEEDS: Her Sacred Status My Militant Needs is the latest release from New York state singer/songwriter Richard McGraw. Richard also plays acoustic guitar on this self produced CD. Richard has been influenced by many artists including Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan. This sixteen-track collection is divided into four sections addressing issues in a thematic order. Richard writes honest lyrics that are placed in stark musical arrangements. Many of the songs are simply McGraw singing softly while playing the acoustic guitar. Others have subtle instrumentation to create a restrained beat and subtle tones. Richard writes intelligent lyrics that are introspective but speaks honestly of the human condition. This CD has a dark reflective mood that is executed with sincerity, clarity and depth. 'Sidetrack' has a delicate flow pouring into lyrics that are pensive and candid. 'Newburgh' is a powerful analysis of a town and disenchantment but ends with the hopeful statement "It's a fine night to be." It has a faint raw energy that captures the imagination. This song also includes soft subtle bass lines provided by Rick McCurdy. Her Sacred Status My Militant Needs is a unique collection of sincere well-written songs executed in a simplified but distinctive musical format.
• Recommended Tracks: (4,9) [USA/2001 - web] (Review by Laura Turner Lynch for

RIPLEY CAINE – LOVER: Lover is the second full-length release from award winning singer songwriter Ripley Caine. She is based out of the Chicago area and has toured the United States and the world with her unique blend of power rock and poignant melodies. Ripley also plays acoustic guitar on this eleven track CD and is supported by skilled musicians on electric guitar, bass, percussions, keys and piano. Ripley writes provocative lyrics that are multi-layered and her songs are expertly produced. She successfully mixes alternative edginess with rock and folk. Caine has been compared with Joni Mitchell and Jim Morrison based on her sweet wide vocal range as well as her raw passionate style. The CD starts with 'Hey Mister' a deep reflective song about loneliness accented with a steady solid beat and dramatic guitars. 'Labor Day' has a catch groove, poetic lyrics dynamic vocal expressions and tight instrumentation. 'Monkey in the Middle' is haunting, anguished and complete with musical changes and textures. Ripley Caine is a versatile singer who effectively merges genres into intriguing storytelling. Lover is a passionate collection of stimulating songs that are honestly and soulfully executed.
• Recommended Tracks: (1,2,5) [USA, Chicago/2002 - web] (Review by Laura Turner Lynch for

THE POSSIBILITIES– WAY OUT: Way Out is the latest release from The Possibilities. This budding five-man band consists of two guitars, bass, drums and keys. Each member is credited with songwriting and all sing. Thus their sound varies based on layered multi-part harmonies, individual vocalists and wonderful triple lead vocals. Way Out incorporates many musical styles and eras. The Possibilities alternate their vintage guitars, amps and tube mikes to create a classic crisp sound. In addition to a 5 Vox the keyboardist plays Wurlitzer, Farfisa and Hammond organs to craft a range of moods. Thrown in for fun they use distortion, fuzz and echoes. Their music is a blend of rock, pop, retro and progressive mixed in with hooks, catchy choruses and a touch of southern twang. 'Invisible' the opening track starts off and flows on organ music that reminds me of a festive carnival. The song is layered and the multi-part vocals are a pageant. 'Invisible' has aptly been described as "Phil Spector meets the Beach Boys." 'Coming in Waves' hits you with a driving drum roll keeping time with funky keys and gyrating guitars. This is a great contemporary retro song that washes over you. 'What Makes You Run' has a harder more modern edgy sound surrounding dazzling vocals and solid instrumentation. The Possibilities have lots of potential and Way Out is a promising collection of musical genres and vocal blends.
• Recommended Tracks: (1,7,12) [USA/GA 2002 - web] (Review by Laura Turner Lynch for

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