Texas troubadour Steve Earle always wears his convictions on his sleeve, but there’s a smoldering defiance to his latest outing that sets it apart from, say, the fiery revelations of 2002’s controversial Jerusalem. Produced by T-Bone Burnett with a stellar backing band of session heavies, Alive is notable for two songs that pay tribute to New Orleans, “The Gulf of Mexico” and “This City,” so it’s only fitting that Roland Guerin—a fixture on the NOLA scene and a regular with jazz pianist Marcus Roberts—gets a turn here on upright bass. He’s joined by Burnett’s go-to gut-puller Dennis Crouch, whose steady stroke anchors the barrelhouse opener “Waitin’ on the Sky” and the devilby- night “Meet Me in the Alleyway,” which seems destined for an episode of True Blood any day now.
CD Review: Adam Nitti "Not of This World"
The Nashville-based Adam Nitti, one of the first bassists to embrace the web, remains ahead of the curve on his fifth solo outing, reviving contempo fusion with strong writing, pocket-first grooves (with the help of stickmen Keith Carlock, Sonny Emory, Kirk Covington, and Derico Watson), and stratospheric solos on his new Ibanez signature 6-string.