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+ Donato Wharton - Body Isolations
+ Svalastog - Woodwork
+ Tim Hecker - Harmony In Ultraviolet
+ Rosy Parlane - Jessamine
+ Jarvis Cocker - The Jarvis Cocker Record
+ Múm - Peel Session
+ Deloris - Ten Lives
+ Minimum Chips - Lady Grey
+ Badly Drawn Boy - Born In The U.K.
+ The Hold Steady - Boys And Girls Together
+ The Blood Brothers - Young Machetes
+ The Places - Songs For Creeps
+ Camille - Le Fil
+ Wolf Eyes - Human Animal
+ Christina Carter - Electrice
+ The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
+ Junior Boys - So This Is Goodbye
+ Various Artists - Musics In The Margin
+ Rafael Toral - Space
+ Bob Dylan - Modern Times
+ Excepter - Alternation
+ Chris Thile - How To Grow A Woman From The Ground
+ Brad Mehldau - Live in Japan
+ M Ward - Post-War
+ Various Artists - Touch 25
+ The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely
+ The White Birch - Come Up For Air
+ Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
+ Coachwhips - Double Death
+ Various Artists - Tibetan And Bhutanese Instrumental And Folk Music, Volume 2
+ Giuseppe Ielasi - Giuseppe Ielasi
+ Cex - Actual Fucking
+ Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche
+ Leafcutter John - The Forest And The Sea
+ Carla Bozulich - Evangelista
+ Barbara Morgenstern - The Grass Is Always Greener
+ Robin Guthrie - Continental
+ Peaches - Impeach My Bush
+ Oakley Hall - Second Guessing
+ Klee - Honeysuckle
+ The Court & Spark - Hearts
+ TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
+ Awesome Color - Awesome Color
+ Jenny Wilson - Love And Youth
+ Asobi Seksu - Citrus
+ Marsen Jules - Les Fleurs
+ The Moore Brothers - Murdered By The Moore Brothers
+ Regina Spektor - Begin To Hope
+ The 1900s - Plume Delivery EP
+ Alejandro Escovedo - The Boxing Mirror
+ Function - The Secret Miracle Fountain
+ Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped
+ Loscil - Plume
+ Boris - Pink
+ Deadboy And The Elephantmen - We Are Night Sky
+ Glissandro 70 - Glissandro 70
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #2)
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #1)
+ The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics
+ The Glass Family - Sleep Inside This Wheel
+ Various Artists - Songs For Sixty Five Roses
+ The Fiery Furnaces - Bitter Tea
+ Motorpsycho - Black Hole/Blank Canvas
+ The Red Krayola - Introduction
+ Metal Hearts - Socialize
+ American Princes - Less And Less
+ Sondre Lerche And The Faces Down Quartet - Duper Sessions
+ Supersilent - 7
+ Band Of Horses - Everything All The Time
+ Dudley Perkins - Expressions
+ Growing - Color Wheel
+ Red Carpet - The Noise Of Red Carpet
+ The Essex Green - Cannibal Sea
+ Espers - II
+ Wilderness - Vessel States

44.1 kHz Archive

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Various Artists
Songs For Sixty Five Roses
The Splinter Group

The story behind this compilation CD is a sad one. Just after the birth of his second daughter in 2004, North Carolina producer and musician John Plymale learned that his older girl, then 2 1/2, had cystic fibrosis, a progressive respiratory disease with no known cure. Plymale decided to fight in the best way he could — by rallying fellow North Carolina musicians to contribute music to this benefit CD. The CD raises money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, an organization that sponsors the research that might, ultimately, help his daughter and other victims of this terrible illness.

Yet while Plymale's story is tragic, the music on Songs for Sixty Five Roses is triumphantly full of life. Its18 tracks are all covers, written and performed by North Carolina artists. North Carolina being what it is — a hub for indie and roots rock, home to labels like Merge and Yep Roc and artists ranging from James Taylor to Superchunk — many of the tunes and players are well known. Caitlin Cary turns in a moving, piano-flourishing rendition of Goner's "Battleground Park," while Portastatic's jangly, country-flavored take on Ryan Adams' "Oh My Sweet Carolina" is an album highlight. Tift Merritt's pedal steel-haunted version of Stillhouse's "It's a Shame" is quite lovely, too, and her sometime producer Chris Stamey's cover of his ex-band's "Everything Is Wrong" (it's a Holsapple song, so technically still a cover) is stunning and perfect.

Yet while the big players acquit themselves well, there are some wonderful surprises, too. Claire Holley's performance of "Lion Song" is simply gorgeous, her soft, pure voice embellished only by pristine guitar-picking and sounding a bit like Shawn Colvin. And John Plymale, who started the whole thing, ably reminds us of NC's jangle-rock legacy with a buoyantly strummed cover of "Mister Flavor" by the Metal Flake Mothers.

Not all the songs are equally compelling. I could happily live the rest of my life without hearing James Taylor's "Shower the People" again (here covered by Will MacFarlane), and Randy Travis' "Forever and Ever, Amen" is as hokey and sentimental in Athenaeum's hands as it was in the original. But for the most part, this is good roots-leaning pop and rock, performed with love and care for a very worthy cause. Let's hope the research turns out as well as the benefit album, and Plymale's daughter and others get some much-needed help.

by Jennifer Kelly

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