News & Reviews - Archive

Hopper
Talking Leaves

Summer/Fall 2000

Hopper by the Joel Rafael Band (Inside Recordings, 2000) gave me the strong desire to see this Sandiego-based folk band in concert. Lyrically compelling, telling hte stories of real people, the songwriters' family and friends, these songs have a straightforward melodic pull to them, blending traditional "Americanna," Dylanesque bluesy influences, and some world beat. John Trudell makes a spoken-word appearance on "China Basin Digs," on which he collaborated; all other songs are written by Joel except "Beside You," co-written with his daughter Jamaica, and "Way Over Yonder In the Minor Key" by Woody Guthrie and Billy Bragg. Jamaica's harmony vocals provide the perfect coutnerpoint to her father's, and the band--its memebers also spanning two generations--play beautifully together.

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