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Published: 2007/03/21
by Matt Brockett

Stars In My Crown – Jorma Kaukonen

Red House Records

Summer comes early on Jorma Kaukonen's latest solo effort Stars In My Crown,
with its warm, down home old-time acoustic sound that absolutely begs to be
played while you watch the sun slowly sink down on a hot summer day (porch
and iced drink optional). In the liner notes we find a positive and thankful
Jorma reflecting on his musical past and noting the importance of spirituals
and gospel throughout his life, and the music keeps with that reflective and
spiritual theme. His take on the classic "By The Rivers Of Babylon,"
complete with children's choir backing vocals, will definitely grow on you,
don't even try to fight it. The sweet and lowdown jazz of "Fur Peace Rag," a
Kaukonen original, even has a clarinet.

"Late Breaking News" has a great jumpin' feel to it and sounds like it could
have just as easily been written by Lyle Lovett as by Jorma. Pedal steel
guitar gives a dreamy country western twang to "A Life Well Lived" and
"Mighty Hard Pleasure." Jorma and friends bring the delta blues heat on
Lighting Hopkins' "Come Back, Baby" with Barry Mitterhoff's playing probably
making you think "Blues and mandolin, who would have guessed it?" The
uplifting feel of "Will There Be Any Stars In My Crown?" is bolstered by a
solid choir of supporting vocals, and keeps with the overall "hope and
light" vibe of the album.

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