Welcome to Extended Play, a slightly more sporadic than originally intended feature here on the Music Mix where we review albums that didn’t fit into the magazine. It’s not that we want you to think less of these albums. We just want you to think more about vampires.
This week, David Nail, I’m About to Come Alive, and Robert Glasper, Double-Booked.
I’m About to Come Alive
Country (MCA Nashville)
David Nail’s real debut happened back in 2002, when he dropped a single called “Memphis” but not an album, then dropped out of town for a while. The talent involved in debut two—Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert, the drippingly Southern keys of the great Chuck Leavell—would seem to indicate he’s finally found a foothold, and why not? He’s got a pleasant voice, and though his material is almost entirely the byproduct of multiple co-writers, the thoughtful track he penned alone (“Missouri”) demonstrates he could safely be permitted to do that sort of thing more often. The sad part comes when you realize that even though lead single “Red Light” is a hold-on-what’s-that storytelling standout in the list-making morass of today’s country radio, it’s unlikely to set him apart from the logjam of pleasant-voiced male singers already lying in the swamp. People will remember the song — just not necessarily which dude was singing it. And because this will get blamed on Nail instead of whoever decided to make everybody in Nashville sound like everybody else these days, he’s getting an extra plus here to make up for it. B+ — Whitney Pastorek
Download This: “Red Light”
Jazz (Blue Note)
It’s clearly a sign of the times that many of the best young jazzers moonlight in pop music. As a teenager, Houston-bred pianist composer Robert Glasper attended jazz camp with Norah Jones; now they’re labelmates who flourish well beyond the jazz universe. As a result, Glasper leads two groups on Double-Booked, his aptly-titled third disc: a gorgeous piano trio for the first half and an often keyboard-driven funk band — a nod to his work backing up Mos Def, Meshell Ndegeocello, and the Roots — for the other. His attempt at merging the two identities is spunky, indeed, but it’s Glasper’s naturally groovy piano music that clearly outshines the rest. B — K. Leander Williams
Download This: “Downtime”
Photo Credit: Andrew Southam