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Sound Check

Sound Check

9/5/2018

‘High Water I’

The Magpie Salute
Eagle Rock Entertainment Group — released Aug. 10

The Magpie Salute, formed by former Black Crowes’ guitarist Rich Robinson in 2016, released its first album “High Water I” on Aug. 10. The group consists of two other Crowes members, Marc Ford and Sven Pipien, along with British vocalist John Hogg.

The 12-song set list includes an impressive sit-by-the campfire feel with a rockable edge. The title tract, “High Water,” begins with an acoustic guitar and an entrancing, psychedelic build.

“Send Me an Omen” offers Crowes-inspired guitar riffs. Hogg (formerly with Hookah Brown) provides a wide vocal range. Later in the song, the rich harmonizing, “buh, buh, bah” encourages listeners to hum along.

An impressive tune and message in “Color Blind” sings about “My skin is a beautiful canvas, all the colors of creation start on the inside.” It includes lead singer Hogg’s perspective on growing up as a mixed race man. He sings it candidly, “I am color blind; when will the world catch up with me?” It’s not a confrontational statement on race. Rather, it’s straight forward, which makes the song so powerful.

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The rest of the album is a mix of swaggering, soulful tunes. There’s not one tune I’d delete from an album download. It’s not a Black Crowes remix; it’s a fresh album from a dynamic, innovative band. I’m eagerly awaiting “High Water II.” ♦

‘My New Moon’

Amos Lee
Dualtone Records — released Aug. 31

On Amos Lee’s seventh studio album, “My New Moon,” the Philadelphia singer/songwriter wrote 10 expressive songs on the equally soulful album, released on Aug. 31.

Amos’ inspiration for the album transpired after several troubling events, including the Parkland school tragedy, his grandmother’s death and a 9-year-old fan’s cancer struggle. As a result, the deeply personal album gives strength and hope through dark times.

In “No More Darkness, No More Light,” the acoustic, stripped-down version is intensely raw when he sings, “Some days it feels so hopeless.” The title of the song was renamed after the Parkland tragedy.

In “Little Light,” he provides hope with the lyrics, “I’m going to keep looking for the stars to shine, I look at you standing strong and tall and against it all.”

In the most edgy song, “Don’t Give a Damn Anymore,” the chorus crescendos — almost punctuating the words when he says he doesn’t give a damn about being wrong.

On the other hand, Amos fans will give a damn. Buy this album, because he’s right about one thing — he knows how to sing and write. ♦

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