Born Again Blues
The cover of Born Again Blues — two shadowy, blurry figures, one in a cowboy hat, the other in a white shirt and tie — gives a sense of how this strange little record sounds: mysterious, dream-like and anonymous ... though anonymity doesn't seem to be a goal of songwriters Jeff Betten and Joseph Ripple. It took two listens to find the buried vocals, three to hear any instrument besides bare-bones folk guitar and banjo. It may be a few more listens before song structures begin to rise from this aural landscape, but I feel confident they will.
— Margaret Welsh
WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA with POLAR SCOUT, ADAM LEVINE. 9 p.m. Sat., Jan. 12. Howlers Coyote Café, 4509 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. $5. 412-682-0320
The Red Western
There's a Fire
The local five-piece's second release is a six-song EP, anticipating the spring release of a split LP with Grand Piano. While 2011's debut was country-flavored, here we find The Red Western turning a bit more toward Sundays-style jangly pop; there are country moments (especially the record-closer, "Boatman's Lament"), but they're tempered. The result is a genuine feel that says The Red Western is settling into its identity as a band. Recommended.
— Andy Mulkerin
Lazy Ash Tree
Ten cute folk-y songs from the local duo of Corinne Bohjanen and Edward Horey. Nice songs, performed well and easy on the ears. A guitar-and-bass duo can be a shaky proposition, but these two pull it off well. On CD now, but they're also planning a vinyl version — with a name like that, how could they not?
— Andy Mulkerin