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Artist: SMALDONE, MICAH BLUE
Title: The Red River
Format: LP
Label: Immune
Country: USA
Price: $15.00
"The Red River is the fourth solo offering from Portland, Maines Micah Blue Smaldone and the first to be released on Chicago label Immune. Heres what Micah has to say about it: Rather than construct a thick frame of reference for this new album, Id prefer to describe simply where Ive come from in the past few years, and then let this music speak for itself. My first solo effort, 2003s Some Sweet Day, was a collection of ragtime and country-blues, a fervently authentic homage to great influences -- John Jackson, Blind Blake, Robert Wilkins, etc., who all helped me through some tough times. 2005s Hither and Thither was much more internal, an urgent telling of germination in a harsh climate. This new one reaches a little further both into the past and the future. The title is borrowed from Red River Blues, an old chestnut that goes which way, which way do that blood red river run? From my back window home to the rising sun. I suppose this is the big theme of the album - Never fight evil as if it were something that arose totally outside of yourself. It is simple faith in the goodness of people, the depth of love, and the infinite wisdom of nature, which allows for this path to be cut with patience, humility, and an eagerness to share. So let this album be a little way-mark, and never a hitching post." -Immune.

Artist: SMALDONE, MICAH BLUE
Title: The Red River
Format: CD
Label: Immune
Country: USA
Price: $14.00
"The Red River is the fourth solo offering from Portland, Maines Micah Blue Smaldone and the first to be released on Chicago label Immune. Heres what Micah has to say about it: Rather than construct a thick frame of reference for this new album, Id prefer to describe simply where Ive come from in the past few years, and then let this music speak for itself. My first solo effort, 2003s Some Sweet Day, was a collection of ragtime and country-blues, a fervently authentic homage to great influences -- John Jackson, Blind Blake, Robert Wilkins, etc., who all helped me through some tough times. 2005s Hither and Thither was much more internal, an urgent telling of germination in a harsh climate. This new one reaches a little further both into the past and the future. The title is borrowed from Red River Blues, an old chestnut that goes which way, which way do that blood red river run? From my back window home to the rising sun. I suppose this is the big theme of the album - Never fight evil as if it were something that arose totally outside of yourself. It is simple faith in the goodness of people, the depth of love, and the infinite wisdom of nature, which allows for this path to be cut with patience, humility, and an eagerness to share. So let this album be a little way-mark, and never a hitching post." -Immune.

Artist: SMALDONE, MICAH BLUE
Title: The Ring of the Rise
Format: LP
Label: Immune
Country: USA
Price: $18.00
"Smaldones latest on Immune features much full band accompaniment, exploring sonic reaches of early 70s era Neil Young, or Richard and Linda Thompsons first albums, with electric guitars and homemade tube amplifiers, as well as Micahs familiar acoustic finger-stylings. The Ring of the Rise continues Micahs relentless efforts to mine future truths from the past, this time hauling out a slab of marble spanning the 1950s through the 1970s, veined with slapback echoes, plate reverbs, tube equipment, and hefty old American iron. The sounds are both new and familiar, tugging at a collective consciousness particular to our era, where the past clamours for reconciliation with the future. Includes download card." -Immune.

Artist: SMALDONE, MICAH BLUE
Title: Hither And Thither
Format: LP
Label: Tequila Sunrise
Country: USA
Price: $24.00
"deluxe 180 gram vinyl pressed at record technology, inc., with an 8 page booklet, housed in a beautiful full color "old style/tip-on" jacket printed at Stoughton printing. limited edition of 500. Micah Blue Smaldone. A distinctive name, no? Micah? A minor Hebrew prophet. Blue? A hippy-ish middle name. Red white and? Moon of Kentucky? Smaldone.could be Italian, or Old English. I understand his grandfather (on his mothers side) fought with the John Brown Battery in the Spanish Civil War and taught young Micah plenty of the old songs - but dont ask him to play Jarama Valley in Catalan. Its just too sad. His grandfather never got over it, and the whole Comintern business still sticks in his craw. His great grandfather (on his fathers side) was the local IWW guy who saw to it that a little bit of Joe Hill was scattered in the Pine Tree State. Well, I just want to say to the country that this is a real decent, fine boy. Micah Blues got an original voice, reedy and spare, and hes a virtuoso ragtime finger-picker, too. His songs are charming, antique ditties - austere Tin-Pan Alley tunes with lyrics by Soren Kierkegaard. Like a single bright light, his music illuminates much while also casting a lot of sharp shadows, lovely, dark and deep. When he plays live, he tenses up his whole body - tenser than youd expect for a folk musician, like he might snap the strings, or snap the neck of his guitar, or just snap. But theres not a trace of irony in his music or in his performance, and I guess thats the Yankee in him. See, it gets cold at night up there in Maine, where hes from, and when you got the blank eye of god bearing down on you, and you got the Jukes and the Kallikacks next door getting high on Freon or something, it just makes a man think seriously about where he fits in. Willem de Kooning, gazing up at the star-spangled sky over Black Mountain in the forties, remarked "the universe gives me the creeps," and I imagine Micah might agree. Human consciousness may be a makeshift contraption held together with bailing wire and duct tape, but it will have to suffice. And it may well be true that regret and loss are inescapable human conditions (if you marry you will regret it, and if you dont marry youll regret that too). But it is also true that music is a bulwark against such notions of human frailty, and Micah Blues music does more than suffice. It offers balm and succor to a weary soul. "Micah is so good," Jack Rose told me, "hell make you throw your dick in the dirt!" I certainly agree with the spirit, if not the letter, of Mr. Roses sentiments. Ill have to let you personally be the judge on that score, though you ladies will have to determine some sort of equivalent for yourselves, assuming you concur." - John Jacob Niles.

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