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Sara Foss's Thinking It Through
by Sara Foss

Thinking It Through

A Daily Gazette life blog
Her column and blog rolled into one

New CDs worth noting

The Capital Region is home to a vibrant music scene, and the sheer amount of bands and shows can make it a bit difficult to keep track of everything that’s going on.

But it’s often worth the effort.

Last week I swung by More Bread and Jam in Cohoes for the CD release party of the Arch Stanton Quartet, a local jazz band comprised of a guitarist, drummer, bassist and trumpeter. I saw these guys a couple years ago and thought they were fantastic, and I was eager to hear their new album, which they performed in its entirety. Titled “Along for the Ride,” the album showcases the band’s musical chops, which are considerable, as well as their creative approach to music. I wouldn’t describe Arch Stanton as avant-garde or boundary-breaking, but their music is consistently surprising, mixing a variety of styles, genres and influences, from free-form improvisation to Latin jazz to blues to post-bop.

The music also has a real warmth to it, particularly “Watching the Storm Go By” and “Della Royale.” At the CD release, trumpeter Terry Gordon explained that “Watching the Storm Go By” is about watching storms roll through the area from the front porch with his father, while guitarist Roger Noyes revealed that Della was his dog, who died a few years ago. I appreciated these personal insights, as it made it a little easier to understand the feelings and thoughts behind the music.

I’m a big fan of jazz trumpet, which helps explain why I like Arch Stanton so much: Gordon is a terrific trumpeter, and the band is a great showcase for him. But the band is a true quartet, and each member of the band got the chance to show what they can do: Noyes is a gifted guitarist (“That’s nasty!” someone yelled, during one of his solos), while drummer Steven Partyka and bassist Chris Macchia are also quite talented. Jazz sometimes has a lulling effect on me, but I found Arch Stanton pretty energizing, and the band’s CD, which I purchased, is definitely worth checking out.

For more on Arch Stanton, click here.

In late October I attended the CD release for the Lost Radio Rounders, the gospel/country/folk Americana project of local musicians Michael Eck and Tom Lindsay. Back in the spring, the band performed an interesting selection of Carter Family songs at McKownville United Methodist Church in Guilderland and a live recording of thos show is now available on a CD titled “Heaven’s Radio.” The CD features Eck and Lindsay, as well as a number of special guests, such as harmonica player Ryan Dunham (of the band Red Haired Strangers) and singer songwriters Kim Kilby and M.R. Poulopoulos.

As its name implies, “Heaven’s Radio” is a gospel CD, filled with the deeply spiritual music of the Carter Family, the traditional folk group that recorded between 1927 and 1956. It’s old-timey, vintage music, but it feels timeless, as songs such as “Honey in the Rock,” “No Depression” and “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” still resonate today. I attended the spring concert where the disc was recorded, and it’s great to have a recording of what was truly a special evening of music.

For more on the Lost Radio Rounders, click here.

Full disclosure: I’m friendly with people in both Arch Stanton and Lost Radio Rounders.

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