Broadcasts Vol. 10 Reviewed
Broadcasts Vol. 10(107.1 KGSR Radio Austin) Radio stations all over the country have annual compilations similar to KGSR's institutional Broadcasts series, culled from live, in-studio recordings by local and national music acts. A few educated assumptions about the others: a) They're rarely 2-CD sets, like KGSR's have been since Vol. 2 (Vol. 8 was three discs); b) they don't get release rights to acts such as Patti Smith, Beth Orton, J.J. Cale, and a slew of others; and c) their local talent doesn't define the Southwestern soul that enriches Austin. Even if singer-songwriters aren't your daily bread, the indefinable glow of live performance electrifies these 41 shots. (Technically, 40, since Lucinda Williams' "Get Right With God" is an RSVP remix.) Irish Mike Scott tips back disc one with the dark ale brooding "Bring 'Em All In," but it's Rodney Crowell's deep-down "Rock of My Soul" -- besting the spare version on last year's The Houston Kid -- that leaves you aching for a beer garden at the Cactus Cafe. Beaver Nelson's "The Beauty in Store" reflects the poignancy its author inhabits, while precious young Rufus Wainwright's "Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk" is all the comfort food you'll ever need. Back-to-back hushers Shawn Colvin and Margot Timmons have only years of experience on Caroline Herring and "Whipporwill," which would hold its own at any Gillian Welch revival. Billy Bragg, meanwhile, busks his usual spark ("St. Monday"). Darden Smith should be represented by a track from 'is bloomin' Sunflower instead of "Loving Arms," but Will Taylor and Strings Attached do Ray Wylie Hubbard right on "Ballad of the Crimson Kings." The second half counts off with the irrepressible trio on the cover of Vol. 10, then Bruce Robison charms his easy-going way through "What Would Willie Do." Neil Finn and David Baerwald have Willie's back, but Norah Jones seduces 'em all on "Come Away With Me." J.J. Cale demonstrates why he's J.J. Cale on a red ember run through of "After Midnight," while Chip Taylor and Carrie Rodriguez cast their jaunty warmth on "Sweet Tequila Blues." Bob Schneider plugs in some much-needed hard-wiring on "Honey Bomb," a set highlight, and Ray Benson once again slays in solo mode on "If I Needed You." Patty Griffin, Suzanne Vega, and Linda Thompson bolster the back nine. Both discs push the 79-minute barrier of another limited run benefiting the SIMS Foundation. X marks the spot, alright -- Broadcasts Vol. 10. Get it now before eBay does.