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New Monsoon Live 

New Monsoon Live
Composer: New Monsoon
Conductor: New Monsoon
Label: New Monsoon Records
Release Date: 2009-05-13
Rated: NONE
Genre: Recording

This San Francisco-based jam band’s new double live album has a Texas twist, with all the tracks taken from a three-show swing through Austin, Dallas, and Houston last fall. The group’s sound is based in classic-rock influences like the Allman Brothers, Jimi Hendrix, Grateful Dead, and Santana while also adding some world-music accents. But there’s no wasted noodling here — the tight jams are based around sharp songwriting that emphasizes melodic hooks and rich vocal harmonies.

Lyrics range from socially conscious funk rocker “Greenhouse” to outlaws-on-the-run tale “Alaska” to the metaphysical foray of “Shapeshifter.” Lead guitarist Jeff Miller is way underrated, especially when paired with acoustic guitarist Bo Carper. The bluesy, Old-West rave-up “El Fuego” with Carper on banjo simply smokes. Keyboardist Phil Ferlino spices up the sound with rocking piano and psychedelic organ work. The band tore up the Old Settler’s Festival in Austin last month and returns to Texas for May 15-16 shows in Houston.

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