Marvin Etzioni 'Marvin Country!' Nine Mile

Etzioni has been a long time fixture of the California roots, rock and country scene having been a member of Lone Justice before following a solo career as go to sideman, producer and solo artist. This collection of songs goes back a long way as two of the players featured have passed away. The album is dedicated to them, Duane Jarvis and Donald "Clock" Lindley as well as to his grandfather Harry Teitelbaum, who introduced him to country music. This double album explores many aspects of that genre as well as, folk, rock and music without barriers. Marvin Country is a revealing place to explore and it's music sounds good to these ears, no matter when it was recorded. It is free of the gloss and excessive polish that many a album comes with these days. This is heartfelt music making that connects. Whether its the gospel textures of the Dixie Hummingbirds on You Are The Light, the country duet You Possess Me with Maria McKee, a track that uses not one but two pedal steel players! Lay It On The Table has the distinctive voice of Lucinda Williams. But lest you feel that he is relying on these guests he moves you as much on A Man Without A Country that is just Etzioni's voice and his guitar. Then there's rockers like Living Like A Hobo and The Grapes of Wrath which feature respectively vocals from Buddy Miller and John Doe. There is so much to enjoy over these two discs that if you don't like one direction the next track will send you on another but Etzioni's honesty and integrity hold the album together. That's not to mention his fine voice and instrumental skills that make this such an unadorned and vital collection of songs, all written or co-written by Etzioni. One song, Ain't No Work In Mississippi appears twice, once a stomping stripped down version with Steve Earle, the second under the guise of Buddy Holy is equally sparse but effective. Richard Thompson joins Etzioni on their co-write It Don't Cost Much and the two voices contrast and blend so well. Where's Your Analog Spirit uses a synth and propulsive beats. Gram Revisited has a voice sample of Gram Parsons while What's Patsy Cline Doing These Days? evokes another lost spirit. Marvin Country is a calling card for an exceptional musician, who has stayed true to his personal roots and vision and to all of those who join him here in celebrating that. Don't miss it.