Jerry Ashford, Beth McNamara, Joe Ross | Moonglow

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Jazz: Retro Swing Country: Western Swing Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Moonglow

by Jerry Ashford, Beth McNamara, Joe Ross

Heavenly swing and jazz favorites (with guitar, mandolin, fiddle, bass, steel guitar, vocals) that capture the romance of a bygone day. Guests include Tim Crouch and Todd Clinesmith.
Genre: Jazz: Retro Swing
Release Date: 

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1. Moonglow
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2:48 $0.99
2. Everybody Loves My Baby
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2:22 $0.99
3. Miles of Texas
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3:19 $0.99
4. They Can't Take That Away from Me
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2:47 $0.99
5. Tico Tico
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2:41 $0.99
6. Scotch and Soda
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3:51 $0.99
7. The Sheik of Araby
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2:30 $0.99
8. I Don't Want to Set the World On Fire
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3:15 $0.99
9. Wahoo
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3:05 $0.99
10. Embraceable You
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2:40 $0.99
11. I'm Confessin' That I Love You
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4:46 $0.99
12. There I Said It Again
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3:38 $0.99
13. It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)
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3:19 $0.99
14. Honeysuckle Rose
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2:17 $0.99
15. Time Changes Everything
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3:06 $0.99
16. Under Paris Skies
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
What a glorious musical era it was back in the 20s, 30s and 40s! Lyrics, melodies, feelings all perfectly fit together to both entertain and elicit emotional responses. Presenting a well-arranged set of swing and jazz favorites (with guitar, mandolin, fiddle, bass, steel guitar, vocals), these stellar musicians capture the romance of a bygone day. Life was much less encumbered and chaotic back then. Beth McNamara (acoustic bass guitar) and Jerry Ashford (guitar) have performed as a duo called “Moonglow” for over a decade. In 2004, they met mandolinist Joe Ross at an Oregon arts festival, and he was soon picking and singing right along with them. In 2006, well-known luthier Todd Clinesmith moved to Oregon and was recruited for certain gigs requiring a western swing flavor. Arkansas champion fiddler Tim Crouch was the perfect complement with his fine bow work and touch of tasty percussion.

A 1934 classic, the title cut sets the stage with imagination and thrill … way up in the blue, floating through the air, beautiful songs coming from everywhere. The effect of the moon and other celestial bodies on one’s affection for another is certainly a recurring theme from these musical lunarians of love. From a 1930ish version of Bill Boyd and His Cowboy Ramblers’ “Wahoo,” that song exclaims “give me a moon, a prairie moon, give me a heart that’s true.” “Miles of Texas” mentions “all the stars up in the skies,” it only seems appropriate that the full trio (McNamara, Ashford, & Ross) gives a rousing rendition of the 1921 hit, “The Sheik of Araby,” with its insight that “the stars that shine above will light our way to love.” When performing live, this fun and “lunar-tic” group often gets captivated crowds singing the phrase “with no clothes on” after each line in that tune. On one hand, this enthralling music is rather serious; on the other, it’s an entertaining hoot! Also from those grand twenties, “Everybody Loves My Baby” reinforces the theme –“She’s my Sheba, I’m her Sheik.”

Whether up-tempo or slower and reflective, charming love songs are this band’s forte, and the smiles beam. The bumpy road to love is well-documented in Ira & George Gershwin’s “They Can’t Take That Away From Me.” Beth McNamara’s silky smooth vocalizing on “I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire” will surely start a flame in your own heart despite her admission that she’s “lost all ambition for worldly acclaim.” Beth and Jerry sing about the spell of love (“Scotch and Soda”) and how to make even honeybees jealous (“Honeysuckle Rose”). Confection, goodness knows! Drawing inspiration from King of Western Swing Bob Wills, Joe sings about dreaming dreams in vain (“I’m Confessing That I Love You”), as well as love’s refrain and blue skies ahead in “Time Changes Everything.”

The band gives the rhythm everything they’ve got just like Duke Ellington used to (“It Don’t Mean A Thing”). The music’s also spiced up with some savory Latin and Gypsyjazz zest. “Tico Tico” is a tangy instrumental, and “Under Paris Skies” (Sous Le Ciel De Paris) brings out the Gypsy in a totally different way than “Embraceable You” does. From start to finish, this quintet keeps reinforcing an important message about these beautiful songs ... they’re simply heavenly!


Reviews


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Audey Ratliff

Moonglow
I had never heard these folks and really had no idea what to expect when I popped the CD into my CD player. Well, from the first tune I was hooked. I sat down on the couch in front of the speakers, cranked it up, closed my eyes and gave it a good listen. That was almost a month ago. I kind of judge how good an album is by how long I keep it in my CD player......"Moonglow" is still there. Good music by some really good musicians. What more could you want?

Scott Yanow

nostalgic, tasteful ... quite musical and pleasing
The CD features current-day musicians coming up with fresh statements (rather than merely copying the past) on vintage material from the 1910s, 1920s, ‘30s and ‘40s... Combine together a string quartet/quintet consisting of guitar, mandolin, violin, bass and occasional steel guitar with a vocal trio and one has Moonglow, a band that performs both country-oriented Western Swing, swinging versions of standards and warm ballads. Actually the singers (bassist Beth McNamara, guitarist Jerry Ashford and mandolinist Joe Ross) are also the musicians. Their repertoire is ballad-oriented with occasional medium-tempo material, going from the swing of “Everybody Loves My Baby” to the early country music of “Miles Of Texas,” from "Honeysuckle Rose” to “Time Changes Everything.” Most of the selections were commonly heard in the early 1940s and the style of that era was similar to what is heard here. The nostalgic, tasteful and often easy-listening treatments are quite musical and pleasing, making this CD easy to enjoy. Reviewed by Scott Yanow for Los Angeles Jazz Scene December 2008, 8721 Sunland Blvd, Sun Valley, CA 91352

Marie Asner

classic songs with a new, listenable twist
What a fun trip to the past with this group and their renditions of classics usually sung by cabaret or ballad singers. Here, we have a touch of Sons of the Pioneers style, including precise pronunciation, wonderfully blended harmonies and a beat that just keeps going on. Instrumental accompaniment includes bass, guitar, mandolin, fiddles, steel guitar and djembe.

Highlights of the CD include the instrumental “Tico Tico,” and the Kingston Trio popular song, “Scotch and Soda.” “The Sheik of Araby” (shades of Rudolph Valentino) is a delight, as is “Embraceable You.” The energetic ‘It Don’t Mean A Thing” got my fingers snapping. “Honeysuckle Rose” is done in rapid tempo, unlike recent versions that slowed the beat down. The last selection, “Under Paris Skies” with mandolin, is articulated instrumentally and takes one to an outside Parisian cafe, just sitting and people watching.

There is an old saying about not judging a book by its cover. True here, as the cover of the CD shows an old High Fidelity radio with three people and what one might call “western style” instruments. Don’t let that fool you. Inside the record jacket is professional musicianship that takes classic songs and gives them a new, listenable twist.

Joe Falletta

Brilliant collection of enduring classics for any fan of good music.
Playing Time: 49:44 - Joe Ross and friends are outstanding on this wonderful collection of old jazz and swing standards. Classics like the title cut, “Everybody Loves My Baby,” “Embraceable You,” “Tico Tico” and more are covered very charmingly with Joe on mandolin, Beth McNamara on bass, and Jerry Ashford on guitar. All trade off on lead vocal duties and the trio blends very well on solid harmony. Sitting in are Tim Crouch on fiddles and djembe and Todd Clinesmith on steel guitar.
This is a very appealing change of pace for Joe, who for the past few years now has garnered well-deserved attention for his outstanding collections of original bluegrass material. Moonglow shows off an entirely new and exciting side of him that fans and new listeners are sure to enjoy.
Fittingly, the title cut opens the collection, with Jerry showing off his talents as a crooner, as fiddle, mandolin, and guitar weave stunning musical lines. This one sets the stage for the good things coming; “Everybody Loves My Baby,” lots of fun with its tight jazz harmony and another standout lead vocal by Jerry. “I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire,” highlights Beth’s breathtaking lead vocal, with she and Jerry sharing the narration of two star-crossed lovers. Joe shows off a fine bent for Texas swing with “Miles Of Texas” and “Wahoo.” A standout piece in an album bursting with them is “There I Said It Again,” Beth’s vocal again gorgeous with another strong supporting effort on fiddle and guitar. From there, the band changes speeds very well and turns in another well-rounded three-part harmony on a swinging arrangement of “It Don’t Mean A Thing.” Beth and Jerry join marvelously on “Embraceable You,” vocals trading off and uniting on the chorus on some lovely two-part harmony. The collection closes out with a haunting instrumental arrangement of “Under Paris Skies.”
Moonglow is a wonderful trip back in time, harkening us back to those wonderful days of crooners and love songs. A brilliant collection of enduring classics for any fan of good music. (JF)

David West

Moonglow
What a cool CD! I expected nothing less with Jerry
Ashford!

Pete Goble

GREAT
I sure like the new 'Moonglow' CD I love those old Jazz and Swung songs, they took me back to an early time in my life when I was in different romances. It gives me some mood changes and all of them good ones. There are good distinguishable vocals, Joe Ross has a western sound to his voice, and the whole band sounds GREAT.

Johnny Pearce

Entertains & delights most any fan of swing & jazz
Some of the best music ever comes from a different time and place; when the big band sounds captured the imagination of America and jazz and swing music were at the top of the charts and was king for many years. Moonglow music is from that era and these musicians have captured the very essence of that age with this latest CD. “Moonglow,” the song, was first released in 1934 and the group’s arrangement on this one is what else - a flowing, dreamy love song from the big band era. The music takes a turn with the western swing sounds of the Asleep at the Wheel favorite “Miles of Texas” with Joe Ross singing the lead. Another highlight on the CD is the 1921 immensely popular and a bit whimsical hit song “The Sheik of Araby.” On this one the fiddle and guitar interplay add the energy to the great vocals and even featuring a bass solo. Beth McNamara’s lead vocal is captivating as she sings “I Don’t Want to Set The Word On Fire” with a smooth delivery sure to start a flame in your heart. I also enjoyed the spicy arrangement of the Duke Ellington hit “It Don’t Mean A Thing” with the arrangement pretty much the same way we’ve heard it for years but of course on acoustic string instruments. In all the CD contains a generous 16 songs ranging from what I call show biz songs to swing, western swing, jazz and what some call gypsy music with some melodies soft and flowing and others bright and brassy. Moonglow will entertain and delight most any fan of swing and jazz music and I expect this CD to do well for these fine musicians. (JP)

Richard Stewart

...& 1/2...a tapestry of nostalgia & down right stellar musicianship
Every once in a while I come across a collection of music that grabs my attention. "Moonglow" happens to be one of those collections. It is spearheaded by Joe Ross who has been entertaining fans for many years and I feel sure Joe will agree with me when I say that without the collaboration of Beth McNamara, Jerry Ashford, Tim Crouch and Todd Clinesmith, Moonglow would still be a good CD, just not as great.

Out of the sixteen cuts on the CD, I can't find one to call my favorite. They all are. Here is a collection of music from another era. The music my parents listened to when I was just a pup. Those of you in this younger generation will most likely be oblivious to this material. If so, pick up Moonglow and be prepared to enjoy some of the finest of pop music from the 1940s and 50s,

From the title track to Under Paris Skies this acoustic ensemble weaves a tapestry of nostalgia and down right stellar musicianship with songs such as The Sheik of Araby, Scotch and Soda, It Don't Mean a Thing (if it ain't got that swing.) Honeysuckle Rose, Miles of Texas and so many more to enjoy.

These artist are top notch both instrumentally and vocally. The only draw back to my ear was the harmony mix on a few of the vocals. Beth McNamara has such a beautiful singing voice which seems to be pushed to the background when blended with Jerry Ashford and Joe. It's not offensive but I would love to hear all three harmony voices at an equal level.

Please make Moonglow a must for your collection, you won't be sorry. Richard Stewart

J D Cannon

How refreshing!!
It is a refreshing change for Joe, whose previous CD's "Bluegrass Alphabet", "Festival Time Again", and "The Spirit of St Louis" I have reviewed in the past. What a pleasant surprise to sit back and listen to tunes such as "They Can't Take That Away From Me","I'm Confessing That I Love You", "It Don't Mean A Thing" (If It Ain't Got That Swing), "Under Paris Skies" I just sat back and reminisced about the old high school days in the 40's. And for the Bob Wills and Asleep at the Wheel fans "Time Changes Everything", and "Miles Of Rexas" are great old country standards. Beth McNamara, Jerry Ashford, and Joe Ross, a good combination of musicians and singers that do this CD justice. In this part of the country we are well aware of the great fiddler Tim Crouch, and along with Todd Clinesmith, a good project indeed

dorothy liles

Moonglow
If you want to kick back and enjoy a soothing CD, Moonglow is the one for you. It has great tunes from the 1040's, such as "It Don't Mean a Thing, If You Aint Got That Swing" and "I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire," mixed with some country bluegrass music. I loved this CD. Listen to it. You'll love it too.
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