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The Crossing - March 2005 Edition

Hello and welcome to March. Finally we’ve got a month that, on a good day, looks a lot like Spring. And Spring, as we all know, is good. It’s just inherently good, so let’s not get into that. Well, okay, very well then, let’s point out a few things. Snow and flurries turn to rain if you’re remotely lucky. Cloudy days occasionally break to reveal the sun. The sounds of birds chirping and cawing become noticeable again. Animals and humans alike, awaken from the slumber of a long, deep winter. Things start to get active and that includes a long new slate of artists releasing their latest endeavors on compact disc. See, I told you Spring is good! We’ve got two Artists of the Month for March along with a third recommendation. New York City’s “house band” Black 47 releases a new album at the beginning of the month entitled “Elvis Murphy’s Green Suede Shoes” to coincide with St. Patrick’s Day, while from the Queen City of Cincinnati, Ohio comes Over The Rhine’s latest crown jewel entitled “Drunkard’s Prayer” at the end of the month. 

First up, releasing March 1st, is the latest from the eclectic Black 47. They are a band comprised of an Irish born lead singer and principal writer named Larry Kirwan. He’s backed superbly by five New York City area musicians: a drummer, a bass player, a trombonist, a sax player and a uilleann pipe player. This is their seventh album, not including an EP, two live albums and two solo albums. The band dates back to 1990 and was borne out of a desire to express Larry’s vision of an Irish-American experience. Mixing subjects such as politics, religion, working class ethics, sexuality, history into a unique brew of music encompassing celtic rock, folk, rap, reggae all with
a gritty, earthy, street-wise raw sensibility and irreverant sense of humor...just not always in the same song! They are a hard band to describe and one of the best ways to really see what they are all about is to see them live. They play routinely in the northeast United States, especially at their homebase of Connolly’s in New York City, while venturing out to the midwest on occasion for festivals such as the Dublin, Ohio Irish fest. The new album, “Elvis Murphy’s Green Suede Shoes” is a companion CD to a book entitled “Green Suede Shoes - An Irish-American Odyssey” that comes out the same day. Some of these new songs Larry Kirwan touches on in the book. The
book is a memoir written by the singer and covers his growing up in Wexford County, Ireland, his immigration to the US and his forming of new bands including Black 47. It is available at all fine bookstores and at If you’re not familiar with the joyful and sorrowful strains of Black 47’s unique brand of music, prepare to have your minds expand to what all music can be. The sound truly encompasses the American dream and immigrant experience. A great way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with one of America’s very finest Irish bands!

Next up, a very different band from Black 47 that shares in a uniqueness is Cincinnati’s Over the Rhine. A Phantom Tollbooth favorite comprised of husband/wife team Linford Detweiler on piano and keyboards and Karin Bergquist on lead vocals and acoustic guitar. Backed by able musicians, Over The Rhine makes richly melodic music, moody and melancholy, strummed, tickled, and sung
to perfection. The new album, out March 29th, entitled “Drunkard’s Prayer” has already been described as spare in instrumentation, sparse, intimate and rootsy. Not as epic in scope as last year’s magnificent two CD opus “Ohio,” “Drunkard’s Prayer” brings the band’s music to a sharper focus. There’s already great things being posted about it around the net. Pre-order an autographed copy here at: and catch Over the Rhine live at the Cornerstone Festival or around the country in the coming months.

Lastly, Glen Phillips, formerly of alt-rock band Toad The Wet Sprocket, has a new album entitled “Winter Pays For Summer” that comes out on March 29th. While I was not a huge fan of his first solo effort “Abulum”, I’ve been reading sensational reviews about the new one such as the one Phantom Tollbooth’s very own Brian A. Smith wrote. A link to his review can be found below. It seems like this is Glen’s most personal album to date and it’s one I’ve gotten more and more excited about. Having been a long-time fan of Glen and Toad, I am eager to hear what he has come up with on this latest offering. The Phantom Tollbooth review can be found here

Now, without further ado, let’s get to the long slate of new releases...

     Recently released and not mentioned in last edition:

     Armor For Sleep - “What To Do When You Are Dead”
     Clem Snide - “The End Of Love”
     Careen - “Crash Couture” 
     Shane MacGowan and The Popes - “Live at Montreux 1995” (DVD.)
     Malcolm X - DVD

Bill Mallonee - “Friendly Fire” (Bill’s latest should be out this month for those who pre-ordered a copy. If you haven’t ordered a copy, go


    Black 47 - “Elvis Murphy’s Green Suede Shoes” (CD.) and “Green Suede Shoes - An Irish-American Odyssey” (Book.)
    R.E.M. - Reissues of everything from “Green” to “Around The Sun” including the recent Best-Of collection each including a DVD. 
    Kino - “Picture” (a prog-rock supergroup featuring members of Arena, It Bites, Marillion and ex-Porcupine Tree.)
    Altan - “Local Ground”
    Figurine - The Heartfelt” (reissue.)
    Le Concorde - “Universe And Villa”
    Amos Lee - “Amos Lee”
    Doves - “Some Cities”
    Ronan Tynan - “Ronan”
    Cindy Alexander - “Angels & Demons”
    Roky Erickson - “I Have Never Been Here Before” (2 CD anthology.)
    Regina Spektor - “Soviet Kitsch”
    Eric Matthews - “Six Kinds Of Passion Looking For An Exit”
    Lily Holbrook - “Everything Was Beautiful And Nothing Hurt”
    Bill Wyman - “Just For A Thrill”
    Julia Gold - “Girl I Found”
    Engine Down - “Demure”
    Ben Davis - “Aided & Abetted”
    Judas Priest - “Angel Of Retribution” (the reunion album w/ bonus DVD.)
    Al Green - “Everything's OK” 
    Black Eyed Peas - “Monkey Business”
    Kathleen Edwards - “Back To Me”
    Jack Johnson - “In Between Dreams”
    Colin Linden - “Southern Jumbo”
    Mars Volta - “Frances The Mute”
    Ivy - “In The Clear”
    Amanda Stott - “Chasing The Sky”
    Soloman Burke - “Make Do With What You Got”
    Exorcist: The Beginning - DVD
    Flight Of The Phoenix - DVD
    Incident At Loch Ness - DVD
    The Spongebob Squarepants Movie - DVD (Go ahead. Be a kid again.)
    Bambi - DVD (first time on DVD.)


    Mando Diao - “Hurricane Bar”
    Ronnie Earl & Duke Robillard - “Duke Meets The Earl”
    Clannad - “Live In Concert”
    Kasabian - “Kasabian”
    Marc Carroll - “World On A Wire”
    John Digweed - “Fabric 20”
    Rhonda Vincent - “Ragin’ Live”
    Jimmy Lafave - “Blue Nightfall”
    The Kills - “No Wow”
    Devil In A Woodpile - “In Your Lonesome Town”
    Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion - “Exploration”
    Ash - “Meltdown”
    Idlewild - “Warnings/Promises”
    Deana Carter - “The Story Of My Life”
    Johnny Cash - “Johnny Cash! The Man, His World, His Music” (DVD; Long out-of-print documentary.)
    Jim Lauderdale - “In Concert” (DVD.)
    JJ Cale - “Live In Session” (DVD.)
    Ladder 49 - DVD

    Better Than Ezra - “Greatest Hits”
    Kaiser Chiefs - “Employment”
    Dishwalla - “Dishwalla”
    Los Lobos - “Live At The Fillmore”
    Crosby, Stills & Nash - “Greatest Hits”
    Blind Boys Of Alabama - “Atom Bomb”
    James Labrie - “Elements Of Persuasion” (Dream Theater vocalist.)
    Various Artists - “Subdivisions: A Tribute To Rush”
    What The Bleep Do We Know? - DVD
    The Incredibles - DVD
    Finding Neverland - DVD
    Being Julia - DVD
    Alfie - DVD

    Nick Cave - “B Sides & Rarities” (3 CD boxset.)
    Ozzy Osbourne - “Prince Of Darkness” (4 CD boxset including a covers disc; it’s only March and someone thinks it’s       Halloween.) 
    Jars Of Clay - “Redemption Songs”
    Maia Sharp - “Fine Upstanding Citizen”
    Dinosaur Jr. - Various reissues
    Shipping News - “Flies The Fields”
    Sunday Runners - “Sunday Runners”
    Queens Of The Stone Age - “Lullabies To Paralyze”
    Brendon Benson - “Alternative To Love” (Good luck with that!)
    Ocean Colour Scene - “Hyperactive Workout For The Flying Squad”
    Decemberists - “Picaresque”
    The Fall - “A Past Gone Mad”
    The Chemistry - “The Chemistry”
    Moby - “Hotel”
    Santana - “TBA”
    Daft Punk - “Human After All”
    Vic Chesnutt - “Ghetto Bells”
    Terri Clark - “TBA”
    A Frames - “Black Forest”
    Agony Scene - “The Darkest Red”
    Brendan Benson - “The Alternative To Love”
    Billy Idol - “Devil’s Playground” (You read that right.)
    Charlie Daniels - “Songs From The Long Leaf Pine” 
    Drive By Truckers - “Live” (DVD.)
    Bridget Jones: Edge Of Reason - DVD (Wasn’t this just in theaters?)
    Fat Albert - DVD


    Over The Rhine - “Drunkard’s Prayer” 
    Beck - “Guero”
    Coldplay - “TBA”
    Joe Perry - “Joe Perry” (Aerosmith axeman.)
    American Hi Fi - “Hearts On Parade”
    New Order - “Waiting For The Siren’s Call”
    Jason Harrod - “Bright As You” (Should be out around this date.)
    Lifehouse - “Lifehouse”
    Stereophonics - “Language, Sex, Violence, Other?” 
    Theory Of A Deadman - “Gasoline”
    Thrice - “So Strange I Remember You”
    Longview - “Mercury”
    Story Of The Year - “Live In The Lou”
    Mae - “Everglow”
    Bravery - “Bravery”
    Aslyn - “Lemon Love”
    Genesis - “Platinum Collection” (Three CD set covers their whole career; new date.)
    Closer - DVD
    Vera Drake - DVD    


     Glen Phillips - “Winter Pays For Summer”  
     Stevie Wonder - “A Time 2 Love” 
     Broken Social Scene - “Windsurfing Nation”
     Jann Arden - “Jann Arden”
     Alicia Keys - “Unplugged”
     Natalie Imbruglia - “Counting Down The Days”
     Jason Mraz - “Mr. A-Z”
     Terri Clark - “Honky Tonk Songs”
     Will Smith - “Lost And Found”
     Elektra - DVD
     Spanglish - DVD
     The Corporation - DVD

     Better Than Ezra - “Before The Robots”
     Amy Ray - “Prom”
     Martha Wainwright - “Martha Wainwright”
     Adema - “Adema”
     Garbage - “Bleed Like Me”
     Mudvayne - “Lost And Found”
     Millencolin - “Kingwood” 
     Rob Thomas - “Something To Be” (Matchbox 20 frontman.)
     Bad Education - DVD
     Ocean’s Twelve - DVD
     Hotel Rwanda - DVD
     The Woodsman - DVD


     Ryan Adams - “Cold Roses”
     Maria McKee - “Peddlin’ Dreams”               
     White Stripes - “TBA”
     22-20’s - “22-20’s”

     Bruce Springsteen - “Devils & Dust” (can’t wait for this!)
     Eels - “Blinking Lights And Other Revelations” (33 track double album.)
     The Go-Betweens - “Oceans Apart” (w/bonus disc.)
     Ben Folds - “Songs For Silverman”
     System Of A Down - “Hypnotize” 
     Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events - DVD
     Blade: Trinity - DVD
     Aimee Mann - “The Forgotten Arm”
     Nine Inch Nails - “With Teeth”
     Jamiroquai - “Dynamite”
     Robert Plant - “Mighty Rearranger”
     Fall Out Boy - “From Underneath The Cork Tree”
     Seether - “TBA”
     Shelly Fairchild - “Ride”
     National Treasure - DVD
     Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom Of The Opera - DVD
     Lucinda Williams - “Live At The Fillmore” (2 CD set; this should be a real, actual date for this long awaited release.)
     Tracy Bonham - “Blink The Brightest”
     Thousand Foot Krutch - “Art Of Breaking” 
     Missy Elliott - “TBA”


      John Williams - “Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith” (Score.)
      Sawyer Brown - “Keep Your Hands To Yourself”
      Still Remains - “Of Love And Lunacy”
      Brian Jonestown Massacre - “We Are the Radio” (That remains to be seen.)
      Oasis - “TBA”
      Kinsey - DVD
      White Noise - DVD


      The Wallflowers - “Rebel, Sweetheart” (Fifth album from Jakob Dylan and company.)
      Jay Farrar - 2 CD retrospective.
      Shelby Lynne - “Suit Yourself” (New date.)
      Stephen Malkmus - “Face The Truth”
      Sleater-Kinney - “The Woods”
      Chip Taylor and Carrie Rodriguez - “Red Dog Tracks”


      Staind - “TBA”
      East Of Eden - DVD; 50th anniversary edition.


      Johnny Cash - “Johnny Cash - The Legend” (4 CD boxset; limited edition comes with DVD.)
      June Carter Cash - “Keep On The Sunny Side” (2 CD anthology.)
      Audioslave - “TBA”
      Taproot - “Blue Sky Research”

      The Strokes - “TBA”


      Switchfoot - “Nothing Is Sound”
      Ryan Adams - “Jacksonville”
      30 Seconds To Mars - “The Battle of One” (Does NASA know about this?) 


       311 - “TBA”

LYRIC(S) of the MONTH:

Now everywhere we go we cause a fuss. ‘Cause we play
what we like and our sound is us. It’s
got a whole lot of hell, a little bit of heaven.
That’s the story so far of Black 47.
Larry Kirwan (Black 47) from the song “Rockin’ The
Bronx” off the album Fire of Freedom.
Scream like a silent movie. Call off the curious
fingers. Feeling my heart spring on an Arctic
island. Pushing against my ribcage takes me apart.
Smiles on my Friday face call it amazing grace.
Are you leaving so soon? I’m mad as a March hare in
June in this melancholy room.
Over The Rhine from the song “Melancholy Room” off the album Eve.

Enjoy all of the new music. Things are heating up! See you in April...

Chris Barlow


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