Best new local album


Charlie Ballantine — Providence

Listening to an advance copy of Providence, I am struck by its interlacing of boldness and sensitivity. It is simultaneously atmospheric and personal, opening with “Old Hammer,” a tone poem taking you on a cityscape walk with a personality of immediate consequence. You meet the neighbors and strangers, all your senses engaged. Guitar doodling opens “Providence” with a hint of bossa nova sliding into a ballad with a pas de deus between guitar and alto sax, growing into a melding and blending of organ, drums and bass. “Eyes Closed” is dreaminess growing into ecstasy — it is shape-shifting, tempo change-driven. “Gentle Lena Clare” is pure poetry — a soundbite Ken Burns would snatch up for a documentary. — Rita Kohn

2nd: Shake Ups in Ponyville - Rock Candy
3rd: American Bombshell - No Regrets

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