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Chris MarshallEP Starting Out: Chris Marshall describes his music as “uniquely American.” Hailing from Portland, OR he his newest release was put out on August 11, 2009. He likens his influences to the sounds of Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash in the spirit of Elvis with poetic and literary influence such as Walt Whitman C.S. Lewis and Soren Kierkegaard which infuse throughout the songwriting on this EP. His two previous releases, 2008’s Oh My Soul and the June 2009 release Compelled (a six-song EP that contain three traditional gospel songs and three of his own), Starting out is a departure from his previous work. It’s a collection of pedal-and-fiddle-tinged acoustic ballads songs in his expressive baritone. There’s no overtly address to religion or gospel-driven tunes behind it but id does get a nod to more contemporary influences such as Ryan Adams, Bonnie “Prince” Billy and the legendary M. Ward.  Marshall says “My hope is that this new set of songs will communicate the freedom of spirit that I have approached them with, and that folks might somehow be able to share or connect in some way with the journey I’ve taken to get there.” www.myspace.com/chrismarshallmusic.com 4.5 McRiprock’s

Bruce James Soultet— Yours, Mine and the Truth: James a singer-songwriter from Austin celebrated the release of his new CD on August 15th at the Continental Club with T Bird & the Breaks. He has one foot deeply rooted in southern gospel and soul music and the other planted solidly in Tom Waits and the Flaming Lips. His music actually says something.  The album was recorded live in eight hours at the legendary Arlyn studios in Austin and mastered by Pete Dowell. The Soultet includes Berklee grad David Jamenez on guitar, Loyola alum Tim Spivey on bass Fumi Sagawara (Afrofreque) on guitar Chris Trafton (Zion, Java Tribe) on drums and Dan Kovaly. James’ deep from the heart and soul vocals echoes Charles, as well as, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye and a bit of Sam Cooke. It’s authentic R&B soul and jazz that comes from the best places and is then taken by James to his own new artistic heights.  www.myspace.com/brucejames 5.0 McRiprock’s

Hui WardThe Way: “Phoenix,” the opening track on the album asks the listener to, “set yourself aside. Go deep inside.” This simple instruction essentially captures the feeling of the entire album. The Way is a musical voyage through twelve different keys and scales each corresponding to a multitude of different physical, energetic and spiritual phenomena. The connection to the music is deep and overall the vibe of the record is based on a fusion modern western music and classical Indian influences.  Throughout, Hui’s voice sings over an instrumental bed that includes Indian vocalist and basnuri artist H.N. Bhaskar and Pravin Godkhinidi, as well as, various western instruments including guitar and synthesizers. The electronic sounding rhythms are the results of layering various acoustic Indian classical percussion instruments. Stylistically, the vocals draw influence from Hindu devotional chanting to create simple resonating melodies with ardent lyrics in English, French and Sanskrit. Each song brings the listener closer to the idea similar to the Indian musical concept of Ragas where they explore the many different permutation of a specific collection of notes with the interest of drawing the listener into a state of resonance with the music. Hui Ward’s influences for The Way and the entire Om Creation label is a result of her travels to India following a near death experiencing in New York. Here she discovered the healing powers of devotional music and yoga. www.myspace.com/huiward 4.5 McRiprock’s

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