259: Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau: ‘Marcie’ (Joni Mitchell), ‘Don’t Think Twice’ (Dylan)

You don’t need Thile and Mehldau to justify the standing of Dylan or Mitchell. But their fresh new readings may still amplify and even enhance the originals.

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257: Alison Krauss/Brenda Lee: ‘All Alone Am I’

Guilty pleasures.
Could we keep this just between us?

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166: John Martyn, ‘Bless the Weather’

The most brilliant self-destructive Scottish acoustic folk-jazz guitarist-singer you’ve never heard of.
Watch John burn.

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131: Nickel Creek, ‘Somebody More Like You’

Children – anyone under thirty – should be seen, not heard. It’s unreasonable that Newgrass whippersnappers as young as Nickel Creek should absorb entire traditions, from bluegrass to country rock, and forge a mature, refined, sophisticated style all their own. And they’re just the tip of the ice cream cone.

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278: The Danish String Quartet, ‘Sønderho Bridal Trilogy – Part II’/Dreamers’ Circus, ‘Kitchen Stories’

A classical string quartet and a roots trio. Six (sic) shaggy, hunky young Danish musicians exploring their roots with such panache and skill and joy that you can’t not love it. I guarantee you.

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276: Leo Kottke, ‘Eggtooth’ (New Acoustic)

Remember Paul Simon’s ‘Anji’? Remember Pentangle?
Call it what you want–New Acoustic, Fingerpicking, American Primitive, Folk Baroque–there’s a whole world out there of intelligent and sophisticated. virtuosic guitar music fingerpicked on a steel string guitar, using old blues and country techniques, full of fascinating directions.

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275: Sandy Bull, ‘Blend’

Betcha you’ve never heard of Sandy Bull, the crossover fingerpicker bridging the Kingston Trio and Ornette Coleman via India and Arabia.
Don’t feel bad, almost no one has.
Betcha if you listen to him a bit you’ll really like him.

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092: Béla Fleck, Edgar Meyer, Zakir Hussain, ‘Babar’ (“The Melody of Rhythm”)

Alchemy 101:
Take a jazz banjoist, a classical double-bassist, and a percussionist of traditional Indian music, toss in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, mix vigorously. Waddaya get? A ménage a trois of a centaur, a mermaid, and a Toyota Prius? Nope! “The Melody of Rhythm” is as natural as the petal of a daisy — unforced, convincing and absolutely lovely.

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