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Sound Bites: Audio Reviews

May 10, 2000

Selected new releases:

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``Fair Weather″ (Compass) _ Alison Brown

Alison Brown is a major talent on the banjo who, like Bela Fleck, pushes the instrument into places it rarely goes. Brown has ventured into jazz and even world music on previous albums. Her excellent new disc, ``Fair Weather,″ represents a return to her bluegrass roots. It’s melodic and fluid, occasionally lovely and frequently surprising.

Brown has assembled a crack supporting cast for ``Fair Weather″ and it shows in the excellent playing, which ranges from straight-ahead, traditional bluegrass to a more modern ``newgrass″ style. She also harnessed guest vocalists for some interesting covers, including a wonderful bluegrass version of Elvis Costello’s ``Every Day I Write the Book.″

_ By Eric Fidler, Associated Press Writer

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``Tanto Tempo″ (Six Degrees) _ Bebel Gilberto

On ``Tanto Tempo,″ Bebel Gilberto gently updates the bossa nova sound her father, Joao Gilberto, helped make famous. It’s a lovely album, understated and sensuous, as romantic as a summer rainstorm enjoyed from a porch swing. Although she occasionally ventures into trip-hop grooves and orchestration, this is still very much a bossa nova album, hushed and restrained but simmering with passion underneath. Gilberto has a famous last name, but deserves to be judged _ and enjoyed _ in her own right.

_ By Eric Fidler, Associated Press Writer

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``Real Time″ (Howdy Skies) _ Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott

If you’ve ever sat around a living room or porch while a couple of excellent musicians had a blast playing together, you’ve got an idea of how much fun ``Real Time″ is. The album was recorded in Scott’s living room and the production has an almost live feel to it. What sets it apart from most living-room jam sessions is that these are two of the finest musicians on the acoustic scene, top-notch multi-instumentalists and songwriters. Through nine originals, two traditional songs and two Hank Williams covers, what comes through is this duo’s passion for American roots music and talent at playing it.

_ By Eric Fidler, Associated Press Writer

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