The loss of a key member is always traumatic for a band, no matter how amicable, and so it was with the departure of Mostly Autumn keyboard player Iain Jennings at the beginning of 2006. Indeed, early live shows after his exit were tentative at best, with Chris Johnson coming in to supply back up keys while Angela Gordon gamely added more keyboards to her excellent flute work. At the time, Johnson looked like a temporary member, there to fill a gap at a time of need. However, bandleader Bryan Josh clearly had a master plan, and the group's excellent new album Heart Full of Sky (Mostly Autumn Records (UK) AUT0933, 2006), and the first on their all-new label, introduces Johnson as a new creative force in the invention of Mostly Autumn music. Not as a keyboard player, but as a writer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist. In doing so Josh and Johnson appear to have invigorated the band.
Released swiftly after Ghost Stories – just a year and a half, all things considered – A Head Full of Dreams plays like a riposte to that haunted 2014 album. Where Chris Martin spent Ghost Stories in a mournful mood – his sorrow perhaps derived from his divorce to Gwyneth Paltrow or perhaps not; it's best not to read too much into the tabloid headlines – the Coldplay leader sees nothing but sunshine and stars on A Head Full of Dreams. Martin gives away the game with his song titles. He's quite literally having "Fun" on an "Amazing Day," living for the weekend and viewing his impending middle age as nothing so much as the "Adventure of a Lifetime."
"The main problem associated with reviewing Tino Gonzales is that all of his recordings are so exceptional that it is difficult to decide just which one to review. His work is consistently excellent and he seems in fact to be incapable of making a poor recording. If you like blues/rock guitar, he is about as good as it gets. Tino Gonzales: A Heart Full of Blues." "A Heart full of Blues has a refreshing approach: inspired singing, sandpaper guitar work and the support of first rate musicians, such as the perennial Harvey Brooks on bass, honor a good piece of Blues-oriented Americana."
"Blues violinist Sugarcane Harris is on fire during this 1973 studio session for BASF, which features many of his regular collaborators of the period. Harris, who wrote all of the material heard on the date, mixes elements of jazz, country, and rock into his brand of blues. He is brilliant in the midtempo blues "Runnin' Away". "Hattie's Bathtub" is a catchy blues waltz. But it is the extended composition "Cup Full of Dreams" that showcases Harris' lyricism on his instrument." [email protected]
Street of Dreams was designed as a project for Patti Austin to sing her favorite songs, regardless of genre. True, there are a couple of later songs here, usually including two co-written by Vaneese Thomas, but the heart of the album is in interpretations of "The Look of Love," "Street of Dreams," "Someone to Watch Over Me," "'Till There Was You," "I Only Have Eyes for You," "For Once in My Life," and "IGY (What a Beautiful World)." Although the arrangements can get a little too clean and synthesized (much of the album sounds as if it was recorded with DX-7s), Austin is in terrific form throughout, breathing life into songs that have been recorded numerous times. It's a fine latter-day effort from a fine singer.