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  Listen Up! 4/19/02 Listen Up!

Friday, Apr. 19

Sheryl Crow, "C'mon, C'mon," A&M Records. I've never paid a lot of attention to Crow's albums before. Oh, I've liked the singles, enjoyed the guest appearances with other artists here and there, been pleased with TV performances, but I've never listened to her actual albums. This one, however, is sneaking up on me, thanks to repeated exposure down on the sales floor and occasionally when Scariano has played it in the office. Some of these songs are enthralling, full of luscious harmonies reminiscent of the Bangles or the Wilsons (Brian, Carney and Wendy, of course). The melodies are beautiful, and Crow has been a master of hooks from day one. Choruses on some of these songs - the bubbly "Soak Up the Sun," the uplifting "C'mon, "C 'mon," the melancholic "Over You," the Madonna-ish "Lucky Kid" - are as memorable and engaging as anything in pop music. Sure, she steals all over the place - a Steve Miller-ish "ooh ooh" here, a Rod Stewart classic guitar line there - but she steals from all good sources. And, her grooves, fueled by her thick, perfectly placed bass lines, are solid, too. Nothing gets played faster than mid-tempo, but that suits her personality.

Lonesome Pines, "After Sundown," no label. This is spirited bluegrass-inspired music from a group of veteran St. Louis musicians. The solos are solid, the vocals strong.

Larry Vuckovich, "Blue Balkan: Then and Now," Tetrachord Music. I think Lew played this before a few months ago. It's a very enjoyable album, half of which was recorded and previously released back in 1980, and the other half of which reunited most of the same musicians in 2001. Vuckovich is a jazz pianist with a nicely ringing approach to the piano, concentrating on the chords in support of the other musicians, and delighting us with some pretty melodic runs. The best cuts (from the olden days) feature the great Bovvy Hutcherson on vibes or marimba. He and Vuckovich form a very symbiotic attachment to each other's melodic soloing.

--Steve Pick



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