Myrna Cabello, King Air, Cleve and Sweet Mary Hattersley, Albert & Gage, and Patty Finney
Letting Go, Pieces Fall to Pieces, Totally, The Songs of Tom Peterson, and Midnight Radio
Reviewed by Margaret Moser, Fri., May 29, 2009
If the topic has been Latino music – and it has – then Myrna Cabello's Letting Go comes at the right time. Her sultry vocals pepper her originals with salty blues rock ("Drunk"), spicy bilingual offerings ("Un Dia," "River"), and tasty balladry ("Answers"). Better yet is Cabello's all-star support, including Ponty Bone, Reese Wynans, and Sly & the Family Stone saxman Jerry Martini. The lilt of Joy Baldwin's voice suggests that King Air missed its melodic moment in the 1990s when Mazzy Star Sundays ruled, but there's much more going on here. In Pieces Fall to Pieces, King Air reconnects Baldwin with her partners from 1990s alt-rock band Splinter. The results are irresistible – "Angela," "(Come On) Little Melody" – and with only nine tracks, straight to the point. Totally brands the new album by Cleve and Sweet Mary Hattersley, two names stitched into the fabric of Austin music. As anchors for the estimable Greezy Wheels, the couple arced from country to jazz rock, but this is a Totally different game for them: guitar and fiddle layered with unadorned vox ("Comes the Wake," "I Holler up the Mountain") that sound like they drifted from a back porch in the Hill Country 50 years ago. Albert & Gage, another husband-and-wife team, chose Dakota Lullaby: The Songs of Tom Peterson as their latest project. A native of Sioux Falls, S.D., Peterson writes folk music from the lonesome northern prairie ("Dakota Lullaby," "If I Die Tomorrow"). In the hands of Albert & Gage, they're timeless songs of yearning, wide-open tunes of joy and peace. Patty Finney's honeyed alto gives Midnight Radio an unexpected strength. An Austin native, Finney never roams far from home for her songwriting ("Half a Moon," "Summertime in Texas," "The Midnight Train"), ably assisted by the likes of Warren Hood and Mike Jasper. Tune in to Midnight Radio's eclectic comfort.