Grooves and Cuts Music Reviews

GROOVES & Cuts: FEB 2021 – Did You Know…Bobby Vee Employed Bob Dylan?

Columns Grooves & Cuts Reviews

GROOVES & CUTS – John Apice 

I’m surprised by how many interesting songs/LPs have slipped between the cracks over the years that may be of interest to the curious. The duo Aztec Two-Step (Rex Fowler & Neal Shulman) for example has been around since 1971. They released a song in 2004 on their “Days of Horses” LP. Willie Nelson would’ve had a hit with if he only knew “Tonight, I Wish I Was in Texas,” existed. It features a nice Seth Farber accordion & is a lovely homage to going home & reminiscing with an acoustic guitar mindful of Nelson’s style.  


The late 60s pop singer Bobby Vee (“Run to Him”) had a pianist briefly in his band named Bob Dylan (admitted by Dylan in concert when he was told Bobby Vee was in the audience. Dylan acknowledged Bobby from the stage & sang one of Vee’s hits to the delight of the audience).   

Bobby Vee, left, and Bob Dylan (Photo courtesy of the Vee family)

Vee passed away in 2016 but his last studio LP The Adobe Sessions was an Americana-Roots effort. “Tucson Girl” will surprise many & Vee (Robert Velline) was actually quite a good musician.   


A young lady with a silky voice, Heather Mullen’s entire 1991 sole major-label LP despite excellence, & poignancy, was one LP & gone. “Night by Night” is a dynamic cut on this memorable self-titled LP. 



Readers may not like everything — but if they find one. Good. Production on many is often exceptional, melodies memorable, musicians proficient. This is where singers fish. To find songs they couldn’t write.  

SPILLED MERCURY – Toronto singer-songwriter Isabel Fryszberg (rhythm guitar/vocal) returns with a sneak peek video & song that drops on Feb. 26. Available on a forthcoming CD.  

“It’s the End of an Era,” (about the possibility of losing live music) features Isabel in her own dwelling. Created in isolation with split-screen effects & tight band The Uncommons: Cleave Anderson (drums/Blue Rodeo), John Switzer (bass/Jane Siberry), Bob Cohen (lead guitar/Jesse Winchester) & Asher Ettinger (piano/song’s co-writer). 

Rebecca Campbell (vocals/co-writer — who in the video appears as a well-animated wacko wild-haired hippie with great facial expressions is absolutely charming). 

This could easily be construed as a novelty song but isn’t. In the skillful hands of Ms. Fryszberg & cohorts, they created a serious commentary with balanced humor. Considering the circumstances, this was produced quite well.  


Her last video was also a commentary as she walked through Toronto’s winter streets. The exemplary “Each Day a Little Less,” (on YouTube & Bandcamp). It won Best Music Video for the Moondance International Film Festival. Isabel never disappoints. 

Some engaging singles include a fine cover of Lloyd Cole’s classic “From the Hip,” by Baltimore vocalist Kurt Deemer. Having an equally deep & melodic voice as Cole, Kurt’s new LP “World Upside Down,” should be equally striking (due March 5).

March 12 finds a diversified vocalist who changes lanes musically. This time out Jean-Paul De Roover provides a poignant 2/song showcase with “The Letter,” & the classic Louis Armstrong hit “What a Wonderful World.” A singer-songwriter/guitarist Roover’s voice on these 2 songs are comforting & optimistic. It falls between lounge singers (Jack Jones – “Wives & Lovers”) & MOR jazz-like Harry Connick. Roover does it effectively & if not, he can always fall back on his more aggressive showcase.   



Another deep vocalist is Buffalo, NY’s Marc Scibilia who’s soulful “Seed of Joy” deluxe edition is being re-released April 9th with additional tracks. “Rivals” has a Cat Stevens/Marc Cohn feel but weaved together Marc emerges delightfully original.  


Coming March 5 — the soft satiny voice of Megan Lacy with her Judee Sill/Eva Cassidy quality. Her 5-cut debut EP recorded in Austin is personal: “Salvation,” includes songs like “Carolina,” with a beauty that continues in the tradition of early Carole King. She doesn’t have a powerful tonality but does hold notes with clarity.  



What attracted me to Sara Petite was her unique voice & well-recorded tunes. The producer leaned heavily on ambiance & presence. My Klipsch speakers just thundered with Sara’s wonderful band. Released Feb 26th “Rare Bird” her 6th LP rocks the way a roots LP should.  

“Feel Like an Angel” is an infectious cut & “Runnin’” is energetic. Sara has a more distinguished voice & showcase from mainstream female vocalists.  


Another unique female vocalist is Shannon McNally. She covers “Ain’t Livin’ Long Like This,” from her new LP “The Waylon Sessions” (due May 28). A hot country tune with modernized performances that never veer far from tradition. Clean, excellent playing. Guest vocalist Rodney Crowell adds to the intrigue. This is a craft, with Shannon’s expressive voice & proficient musicians.   



London-based singer Emily Moment has another wonderful unique feminine voice evident on “Santa Maria,” from her LP “The Party’s Over” (available March 26). Beautiful Spanish-flavored trumpet brings out the musical flavor. Produced with finesse & class there’s nothing primitive about it. 



LPs can be bought at the artists’’ respective websites.

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