The Austin Chronicle

Texas Platters

Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, November 21, 2003, Music

Broadcasts Vol. 11

(107.1 KGSR Radio Austin) A review of KGSR's annual fundraising 2-CD set seems almost superfluous, since it's sure to sell out before Christmas and then be available on eBay for at least twice the $15 purchase price not long afterward. Nevertheless, as the Broadcasts series moves into its second decade(!), Vol. 11 offers a typically expert weave of KGSR-friendly singer-songwriters, from old-timers like Jackson Browne, Richie Havens, Shawn Phillips, and Graham Nash to relative newcomers such as Kasey Chambers, Ron Sexsmith, David Gray, and Kathleen Edwards. Hometown faves including Lucinda Williams, cover girl Patty Griffin, Joe Ely, and Bob Schneider are well represented. Plus, it wouldn't be a KGSR production if there weren't some oddballs in there somewhere, too, so you get unexpected tracks from Steve Wynn, Peter Case, Greg Trooper, and Buddy Miller as well. Only a handful of bands are represented -- the Jayhawks, Cowboy Junkies, and the Wallflowers among them -- the series' acoustic format limiting those who might participate. Yet the songs that go beyond the simple voice-and-guitar format of most of what's here are the ones that stand out: Raul Malo's big band Latin sound recorded at last year's KGSR Christmas taping and the tribute to Woody Guthrie, Ribbon of Highway, which includes Jimmy LaFave, Slaid Cleaves, Eliza Gilkyson, and a bunch more, to pick two. While the breadth of talent on Broadcasts 11 is truly awe-inspiring, the repetitiveness of the performances makes the collection a trying listening experience. Stringing together almost 21/2 hours of contemporary folk music is a tough feat, no matter how many good songs there are. Still, this is a set perfect for Sunday morning with coffee and newspaper, or a late night when shadows are high. Anyone expecting something else is looking to make a killing on eBay.


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