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  Listen Up! 7/30/03 Listen Up!

Wednesday, July 30

Blue Rodeo, “Palace of Gold,” Rounder Records. These guys have been hanging out on the periphery of my musical world view for fifteen years, I think, without ever making enough noise to get invited in. But, I like to check them out every once in a while just to make sure I’m really not missing anything. Nope, I’m not. This is fairly pleasant melodic pop/rock with all the right influences – 60s classics like Love, the Band, the Beach Boys, for the most part – that just never quite grabs me. I’ve got nothing against wearing influences on sleeves, but I don’t hear melodies strong enough to make me want to hear this rather than the real thing.

June Carter Cash, “Wildwood Flower,” Dualtone Records. The Carter Family gave us “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” so they’ve known a thing or three about life’s cycles. This album, recorded as June Carter Cash readied herself to die, either because she felt it was time or she’d been told it was going to happen, is a three-or-four-hankie celebration of a great life in a great legacy. Once upon a time, June was a much better vocalist, but what shines through on these songs you’ve heard a million times is her conviction that her role was important in carrying them on. I’m not sure what anybody who didn’t love her for that role already will think of this album, but I’d like to think they’d still want to get to know this amazing spirit.

--Steve Pick

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