MP3 Jim Dyar Band - Magical Land
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10 MP3 Songs in this album (37:16) !
Related styles: Rock: Acoustic, Country: Alt-Country, Featuring Guitar
People who are interested in Alejandro Escovedo Dave Alvin Neil Young should consider this download.
A News Cafe Dot Com (https://www.tradebit.com) review of âMagical Landâ by Phil Fountain:
This morning I strolled into my expansive suite of offices here at https://www.tradebit.com and, from the corner of my eye, caught a glimpse of a package nestled in my inbox. I moved aside the stepladder, mops and cans of bug spray so I could get to my mail and sure enough, there was whatâs known in the trade as a âpromotional packâ waiting for me. Itâs not uncommon for a group to send me their latest CD in hopes that I will deign to lend my ear, and so, being duly impressed, will write glowingly of it here on this website.
With a yawn, I opened the padded envelope and discovered a brightly packaged CD entitled âMagical Landâ by a local group calling themselves the Jim Dyar Band. According to the enclosed bio, âMagical Landâ is their maiden recording. My first impression is that the CD cover is nice. Very nice in fact. At least they hired a pretty good artist/photographer for the artwork, give âem props for that. Sometimes these local bands get one of their buddies to do the cover for them (cheap) and the results are usually pretty amateurish, so the Jim Dyar Band gets style points right out of the chute for the cover art.
So far, so good, but now for the real test. I pop the CD in the player and am greeted with the opening twang of some dirty guitar that leads into a slow, bluesy Dyar penned track called âHold On.â Iâm immediately struck by the overwhelming desire to put my feet up on the desk and lean back for a good listen. I keep time on the desktop with my pencil as an earnest-voice sings about our communal effort to just try and hold on in a crazed, and ever more dangerous world.
OK, I decide I like this guy. Donât ask me why.
I check the liner notes to find out who the hell is channeling Al Kooper on the organ (or is it Benmont Tench?). Says here a fella by the name of Grant Rudolph is responsible for the sonic tapestry that holds this track together, hmmm, and Eric Day is putting down those nasty guitar licks. Iâm impressed.
Next up, the title track jump starts my mood double-quick with a drum, guitar and fiddle bounce and, whatâs this? Dyar is joined by a sweet-voiced Torri Pratt on a bluegrass inflected travelogue of the songwriterâs magical land. The song drives doggedly with a tasty guitar break from the marvelous Marvin Allen. Our ride ends with that âsad little townâ fading on the horizon weâre leavinâ. I canât help but think that Magical Land must be a real crowd-pleaser when heard live.
Two tracks in and Iâve made up my mind. This is good stuff. Jim Dyar, the band leader, has surrounded himself with some of the regionâs best players (shit, thatâs Scott Joss on fiddle and mandolin!) and, unlike some guys whose name is in front of the word âband,â he has the sense to step aside and let âem play. But, it should be noted that Jim Dyar, the songwriter, has provided some solid vehicles on which this group of stellar musicians can shine.
Dyarâs songs draw on a variety of influences, he has studied well the Dylans, the Haggards and the Neil Youngs (throw in a dash of Gram Parsons as well) but manages to brand his music with his own stamp. Though he has one foot in a world of plastic culture gone bad and one foot in the pristine rivers and backwoods of a timeless land, he still exudes an optimism that is quite engaging. Heâs plugged in with the rest of us but he cheerfully shows that we can unplug if we want to, and kicking back in your chair with your feet on the desk and a smile on your face listening to the JDB is one way to do it. We may be heading to heck in a hand basket, but itâs sure a purty ride, ainât it?
âMagical Landâ is not just Jim Dyarâs rodeo. You canât have a band like this and not let them step out front once in awhile. Iâm especially taken with the singing of Torri Pratt. Her angelic tones, with a twist of whiskey in there, are featured throughout. But on the track âGone,â which she co-wrote with Dyar and guitarist Allen, she takes the spotlight and doesnât let it go until sheâs finished with it. She can sing on my jukebox any old time.
Every track is arranged and played with what I would call, âloose precision.â I mean that in a good way. All the way through the JDB sound like a band. Even when theyâre joined by guests like Rudolph and Joss they manage to scoot over and make a little room at the table and never sound strained. The drop-ins jump right into the mix and blend seamlessly with the core group.
The veteran sideman Joss, of course, is spectacular on the fiddle and electric mandolin. The fact Dyar schmoozed him into making an appearance is testament to the affability of the bandleader, and to his impeccable taste in players. I would be remiss if I didnât single out the picking of Day and Allen. Marvin is a real treasure and his playing is so soulful it hurts. The guitar lines through all ten tracks on Magical Land really punch the music up a couple of notches, and it certainly wouldnât be the pleasant trip it is without the expert string bending.
On a more technical note, I think the sound and overall mix of the album is damn good. You never know what youâre going to get in local studios but âMagical Landâ sounds first rate. Iâm listening to the MP3 version right now and it holds up pretty good. My compliments to the chefs.
Itâs come to my attention that the Jim Dyar Band will be opening for Dave Alvin & The Guilty Women at the Cascade Theatre Thursday night. If their CD is available for sale in the lobby at intermission, do yourself a solid and pick up a copy.
About the Jim Dyar Band:
The Jim Dyar Band has shared the stage with the likes of Dave Alvin, Cindy Cashdollar, Nina Gerber, Blue Turtle Seduction and Laurie Lewis. Jim's songs have been covered by Doug Colosio and Scott Joss of Merle Haggard's Strangers. Jim also has a songwriting credit on Haggard's "Christmas in Cabo San Lucas" on the album "I Wish I was Santa Claus."
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