KGSR Broadcasts Vol. 16
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., Nov. 28, 2008
KGSR Broadcasts Vol. 16(107.1 KGSR Radio Austin)
KGSR's 16th annual double-disc compilation of exclusive live tracks may be the local FM frequency's best in years, culling a number of its familiar playlisters along with top-shelf talent and newcomers that hold their own. As always, Texas turns up gold with Lyle Lovett's "All Downhill," Jimmy LaFave's "Hideaway Girl," and most exceptionally, Alejandro Escovedo's "Sister Lost Soul," live at the Continental Club. The rugged drawls of John Hiatt ("Love You Again"), Ray Wylie Hubbard ("Rabbit"), and cover boy Bob Schneider ("When the Sun Breaks Down on the Moon") are countered by the gentle desperation of Aimee Mann ("Freeway") and Shelby Lynne ("Pretend"), alongside the stripped pop of Ingrid Michaelson ("The Way I Am") and Feist ("I Feel It All"). Disc one also features immaculate instrumentals from Rodrigo y Gabriela, Kaki King, and Bobbie Nelson with her brother's "Crazy," as well as a virtuosic cut of Andrew Bird's "Imitosis" backstage at the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Iron & Wine's epic "Trapeze Swinger (for End Credit)" stands out with Daniel Lanois' "Here Is What Is" and Sara Bareilles' suave piano pop on "Love Song," while R.E.M. strikes a classically nostalgic note with the band's new "Supernatural Superserious," as does Big Head Todd & the Monsters, though much less convincingly, in drudging up "Bittersweet." Disc two rolls heavy on the acoustic, leading with the stellar trio of Buddy Miller ("Wide River to Cross"), James McMurtry ("Just Us Kids"), and Sam Baker & Gurf Morlix ("Slots"), though Landon Pigg's trilling sincerity grates. Cowboy Junkies get gritty on the moaning blues of "I Don't Get It," and James Hunter grooves on "Don't Do Me No Favours," though neither matches Carolyn Wonderland's scorching "Miss Understood." Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings smoke them all with the sultry, swaggering soul of "100 Days, 100 Nights." The Hold Steady appropriately makes the last call with the bitter bar crawl of "Sequestered in Memphis," closing out one helluva party.