Charlie Wood’s latest release Flutter and Wow is a rollicking, keyboardinfused prayer meeting. The Memphis-born and now London-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist comes into his own on this gutsy, grooving album, produced by Norah Jones alum Adam Levy. With a song list culled from the catalogues of some of today’s greatest songsmiths (Paul Simon, Elvis Costello, and Tom Waits, to name a few), Wood heaps a healthy dose of piano, B-3, and Wurlitzer alongside his soulful vocals. He even contributes more than a few impressive originals to the mix. On Simon’s “American Tune,” Wood works the Hammond organ like a church pew pro, pulling pulpit-like chords from its double manuals. And on his own “Doin’ the Blah Blah Blah,” his piano takes us to Mardi Gras for a rocking, rolling good time. Definitely worth the price of admission. (Archer Records, charliewood.us )
Justin Townes Earle Midnight at the Movies
“I am my father’s son. I’ve never known when to shut up,” Justin Townes Earle sings on “Mama’s Eyes,” one of 12 unforgettable tracks on his latest release Midnight at the Movies. The outspoken son of alt-country icon Steve Earle proves he is very much his own man here, stepping out of his famous father’s shadow with a near-perfect set of rocking, rolling, and riveting singer/songwriter fare. Kudos to producers R.S. Field and Steve Poulton, along with keyboard ringers Skylar Wilson and Cory Younts, for framing Earle in inspired musical light. Earle whispers on the title track, pleads for mercy alongside prancing piano and pedal steel on the country cooker “What I Mean to You,” and struts like a teenager on the rousing, boogiewoogie- fied “Poor Fool.” One of 2009’s true breakout recordings, Midnight at the Movies is worth the price of entry — and then some.