sound check

By Michael Swanger


Laura Meyer
“Miles From Nowhere”
Independent release


Inspired by a year of touring the country (and beyond) while logging in more than 40,000 miles, “Miles From Nowhere,” New York City folk-rock artist Laura Meyer’s latest independent album, is chock full of tough-minded vocals, insightful lyrics and gritty guitar that no doubt will keep her on the road for years to come. Meyer, who has been honored at songwriting competitions at the Telluride Bluegrass, Rocky Mountain Folks and Great Waters Music festivals (including 2008 song of the year for “Atlantis”) sets the bar high on the album’s first few tracks, taking listeners on a musical journey of Bob Dylan-like balladry (“Katrina, Katrina”), old-time blues (“Miles From Nowhere”), rebellious punk scorn (“Used To Be”) and the flight of the imagination (“In the Clouds”). Gutsy stuff. CV

(Laura Meyer performs Friday, Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. at Ritual Café. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted.)



Jason Ricci and
New Blood
“Done With the Devil”
Electro Groove Records


Young singer-harmonica player Jason Ricci has no interest in recreating blues music of the past. That much is clear on his latest progressive album, “Done With the Devil,” which combines rock, funk, punk and classical, and is a figurative and literal departure from blues tradition. OK, fine. But simply admitting that you’re gay, white, middle-class and from Maine, as Ricci does in his exhaustive liner notes that fall prey to the old debate of what is and what is not blues music, doesn’t excuse him from ignoring some of the time-honored qualities of blues music, even in the spirit of progressing them. Time will tell whether Ricci will progress the blues. Meanwhile, his quirky, hyper overplaying on “Done With the Devil” is disingenuous lip service to the blues community and falls short of being trailblazing. CV

(Jason Ricci and New Blood play Friday, Oct. 2 at Blues on Grand at 9 p.m. $10.)

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