Thursday, October 2, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Life, Life, Love

New Recordings: Christina Perri, Luther Dickinson, The Baseball Project

Christina Perri: "Head or Heart" (From album cover)
Christina Perri: "Head or Heart" (From album cover)
Christina Perri: "Head or Heart" (From album cover) Gallery: New Recordings: Christina Perri, Luther Dickinson, The Baseball Project

Ratings: **** Excellent, *** Good, ** Fair, * Poor

Christina Perri

Head or Heart

(Atlantic ***)

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  • Perri, a Bensalem native, has had a charmed career, with TV and movie exposure giving extraordinary boosts to her early singles "Jar of Hearts" and "A Thousand Years." It's the honest, vulnerable timbre of her voice that makes Perri's songs so cinematically suited and turns her second album into a fetching tone poem. Whether on the simple, almost Celtic plaint of "Trust," the bouncy pop duet "Be My Forever" with Ed Sheeran, or the satisfyingly anthemic "I Don't Wanna Break," Perri sings with stirring emotional sincerity.

    - David Hiltbrand

    Luther Dickinson
    Rock 'n Roll Blues
    (New West ***1/2)

    Tennessee-born guitarist Luther Dickinson has a new album out, and he also is part of the all-star Southern Soul Assembly, which hits the Grand Opera House in Wilmington on Thursday. Son of Memphis studio legend Jim Dickinson (on recordings by such as Dylan, the Stones, and Aretha), Luther earned his own studio fame with R.L. Burnside and the Replacements before kicking out the jams with the Black Crowes, the North Mississippi Allstars, and his own blunt-force country-blues solo albums.

    Rock 'n Roll Blues is a slice of good-old-fashioned Americana soaked in spooky backwater harmonies ("Goin' Country") and Kentucky bluegrass openness ("Bar Band"). But, like those songs, the rest of Dickinson's latest has its wild variations on familiar, even stark themes (as on "Vandalize"). That's his thing. On acoustic tracks, Dickinson sounds as if he just happened onto a lawn party and stayed to boogie, soft and sweetly ("Mojo, Mojo"), hard (the country swing of "Yard Man"), and harder (his distorted acoustics on "Some Ol' Day"). Most impressive is Dickinson's storytelling: He fills this album with tall tales, silly asides, and seemingly personal moments, forlorn and loving, as on the record's fingerpicked, waltzing closer, "Karmic Debt," featuring winsome lyrics of deep romance and respect.

    - A.D. Amorosi


    The Southern Soul Assembly, featuring Luther Dickinson, JJ Grey, Marc Broussard, and Anders Osborne, play at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Grand Opera House, 818 N. Market St., Wilmington. Tickets: $31-$38. Information: 302-652-5577 or www.thegrandwilmington.org.


     

    The Baseball Project
    3RD
    (Yep Roc ***1/2)

    If there is a limit to how many terrific songs it can mine from the national pastime, the Baseball Project hasn't hit it yet. This band of well-established rockers and diamond fanatics (front men Steve Wynn and Scott McCaughey, Linda Pitmon, and R.E.M.'s Peter Buck and Mike Mills) continue to hit for a consistently high average. And while this third album is as infectiously tuneful as the first two, it also rocks harder in places.

    On 3RD, the Baseball Project revels in all kinds of stories, from "The Babe" to the tragically flawed Lenny Dykstra ("You gotta fly high to fall this far") and down to the obscure "Larry Yount," whose story is the album's most poignant. The rockers also celebrate scrappy underdogs ("They Are the Oakland A's"), the joy of reading "Box Scores," and the further adventures of a Pirate who infamously pitched a no-hitter on LSD ("The Day Dock Went Hunting Heads").

    As steeped as they are in the game's history, these musicians also excel at baseball as metaphor: "Extra Inning of Love" is a seductive, Philly-style soul ballad that's all about going well beyond first base.

    - Nick Cristiano

     

    Top Albums in the Region

    This Week Last Week

    Locally   Nationally   Locally   

    1   1    Various Artists Frozen   1    

    2   2    Shakira Shakira   -    

    3   3    Johnny Cash Out Among the Stars   -    

    4   8    Barry Manilow Night Songs   -    

    5   5    Pharrell Williams G I R L   3    

    6   6    Erica Campbell Help   -    

    7   4    Memphis May Fire Unconditional    -    

    8   11    Rick Ross Mastermind   5    

    9   9    My Chemical Romance   May Death Never Stop You -

    10   20    John Legend Love in the Future   12    

    SOURCE: SoundScan (based on purchase data from Philadelphia and Montgomery, Delaware, Bucks, Chester, Camden, Burlington and Gloucester Counties). Billboard Magazine 4/12/14 © 2014

     


    On Sale Tuesday

    Off!, Wasted Years;

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    Wilko Johnson & Roger Daltrey, Going Back Home;

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