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McRiprock’s Lonestar Shotgun SixPack Project

Nepotism is alive and well in this town, as the passing of the obligatory torch (read: column) represents. Although my cousin, Miss Riprock is a city slicker type that sips on exotic martinis, calls me and everyone else she knows “darling,” demands weekly manicures, wears heels that she terms “sky high” and dons tunes that are pressed and painted all fancy, I tend to be the exact opposite. Born and raised here in Texas I like my Lone Star, steer away from restaurants who’s names I cannot pronounce, and wear boots for most of the day and often times even while asleep. On a typical Saturday night, I slip on music that’s new to me and blare it from my porch consulting my pup, Dud.

I’m a no nonsense, laid-back type that will give your album a spin and give you my honest opinion (after consulting Dud) rated by how many beers I put back if I like your tracks enough to keep them playing loud enough to annoy my neighbors. My dad calls me boy, my cousin calls me darling , strangers call me Mr. McRiprock and my friends call me Hux or something derogatory that rhymes with it.

Let’s crack one open and see where we go from here. I’ll press play.

Jude JohnstoneMr. Sun— A well-known songwriter with credits for songs ranging from Emmylou Harris and Bonnie Raitt to Johnny Cash and Stevie Nicks, Johnson produces a second album that evokes a smooth jazziness much like a more mature Norah Jones vibe. The title track “Mr. Sun” is peppy and jazzy with piano backing and Johnson providing upbeat vocals. As the album progresses the tracks slow down grasping a poppier blues that seem to leave a vast hole in the depth of vocal range. “Echo Blues” is haunting and includes a sax track that spills out the loneliness that Johnson expresses. Overall, the album is better suited for an older crowd looking for poppier blues/jazz tracks to cook dinner and sip some wine while listening.  2 McRiprock’s.

Paul Mark and the Van DorensBlood and Treasure— Blues can be done all sorts of ways– scrambled, over-easy, poached, hard boiled, rock-hard-thrown-against-the-wall and runny. In this case, Blood and Treasure does it every which way and it’s a pleasing taste no matter how it’s prepared. Mixing elements of soul, R&B, blues, honky tonk and rock n’ roll, it’s a fun album to listen to with songs based on modern subjects in a style that’s super old-school. Worth picking up and putting on.  4.5 McRiprock’s

Freddie Steady’s Wild CountryTen Dollar Gun–A unique sound to Texas country music. Mixing rock and country together, Freddie Steady puts together an album that’s 1/3 hoky tonk, 1/3 country, 1/3 rock n’ roll. It’s a recipe that works well and is boot tappable on my well worn porch. Ten Dollar Gun tips its hat to a mix of influences including Sir Doug, the Beatles, and Hank.  4 McRiprock’s

Future Clouds and RadarPeoria–Austin-based Future Clouds and Radar released their sophomore album to great acclaim. The multi-instrumental art-pop ensemble immediately captures you with their evolution of depth in sound. It’s catchiness lies in its ability to explore all walks of sound and mesmerizes you with each that they travel. Robert Harrison creates an album that is precise and scruffy at the same time making it a treat to listen to over and over again. Richly melodic with a Beatles-like quality this is worth giving a spin. 5.5 McRipRock’s

The Liking StrikesSelf Titled--Think Gwen Stefani with a bit of a twangy twist. A fresh indie band hailing from the big city of Dallas hits us with their self-titled release. Headed up Lacey Wright and comoposer/instrumentalist Carter Stewart the group dives deeper than the average indie pop band with lyrics drawn from personal and observational experiences. They create a crisp pop sound that’s a little bit indie/punkish, but a little bit pop. Plans to release a full-length CD in 2009 are in the works. 4 McRipRock’s

25 Smokin’ FiguradosDivine Spirits, Holy Smoke— Hard rock meets well… harder rock. With a smattering of other sounds, the CD is power packed with punchy guitar– illuminating sounds from the dark rock, Beckish sounding “Jimmy Died Yesterday” to  the truly hard hitting “I Wash It Down” it’s a CD with a collection that seems disjointed, but works. From rock to heavier rock to light gospel to new wave it’s got a little bit of something if you wanna listen. 3.5 McRipRock’s

Sonya Kahn
New Beginning–Kahn’s New Beginning drips sweet pop all over the place. Lyrics lean on the sappy side crooned by a strong voice. She sinks a lot of Kelly Clarkson-like sound into her tracks, but with a more classical background. At 24, Kahn has a Doctorate of Musical Arts Degree in concert piano performing and music theory moving here from Russia in 2003. There’s a sound-track quality to her music and a heavy influence of the piano throughout each track.  3 McRiprock’s

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