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By Bliss Bowen 06/05/2014

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JOE PURDY, Eagle Rock Fire (Mudtown Crier): 3.5 stars out of 5
Once again ensconced in greater LA, the ruggedly independent troubadour found inspiration for his 13th album in a forest fire — one that happily passed by without harming his property. Purdy’s poetic compositions are burnished by acoustic guitar, bass, harmonica and pedal steel; not unlike a house concert, only the intensity of his emotional delivery disturbs the hushed, often melancholy ambiance. Highlights: “Good Gal Away,” “This American,” “Meet Me in N.Y.” At Bootleg HiFi in LA Friday.

JOLIE HOLLAND, Wine Dark Sea (Anti): 4 stars out of 5
Jazz gives way to soul gives way to experimental rock, blues, gospel, folk and most everything in between throughout this unpredictable, consistently rewarding set. Holland’s singular, Tom Waits-meets-Billie Holiday warble is backed by a nimble crew and eclectic arrangements — energetically textured with electric and slide guitars, bass, drums, cello, clarinet, mandolin, piano, saxophone, tuba, violin — befitting her adventurous musicality. Highlights: “Route 30,” “Waiting for the Sun,” a sweet, swaying cover of Joe Tex’s “The Love You Save.” At the Echo in Echo Park Tuesday.

LUCKY PETERSON, Son of a Bluesman (Jazz Village/Harmonia Mundi): 3.5 stars out of 5
Peterson cuts loose with searing guitar and organ that shows the miles traveled and lessons absorbed throughout a career that began at age 6 with producer Willie Dixon. He’s in strong, expressive voice too throughout this varied, smartly produced album, but rare is the singer who can match the eloquence of his playing on “Nana Jarnell” and “I’m Still Here,” a rousingly soulful declaration of survival and intent. Other highlights: “Blues in My Blood,” a jaunty stroll through Bobby “Blue” Bland’s “I Pity the Fool” and a fun cover of Wilson Pickett’s “Funky Broadway.”

HUNDRED WATERS, The Moon Rang Like a Bell (OWSLA): 4 stars out of 5
The indie Floridians are tough to pigeonhole — a very good thing — resulting in compellingly diverse music. Radiohead and Bjork are obvious touchstones for their harmony-dressed electronic tunes, yet tracks like the pop prayer “Show Me Love,” the strangely haunting “Chambers (Passing Train)” and “No Sound” could fit in singer-songwriter playlists too. It’s clear a lot of thought was invested in the music’s conceptualization and execution, but happily it never comes off as nerd rock.


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