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Blues Americana: American Music--Raw, True & Blue was clearly a labor of love for harp player Dan Treanor, who assembled a squadron of Colorado blues musicians (including Washboard Chaz and David Booker) for a session that blends Treanor originals with covers of tunes by the likes of Mose Allison and Sonny Boy Williamson. There are no revelations here, but there weren't meant to be: Treanor's goal was to make music he loves in a relaxed environment, and at that he has succeeded. Modest, intermittently diverting (Plan-It Productions, c/o Dan Treanor, 5470 Saulsbury Court, Arvada 80002). Kevin Dooley, who checks in with the CD Everyday Dreams, is a reliable folk performer; he's unlikely to offer up off-pitch singing, painful rhymes or flat melodies. His vocals bring to mind a twangier Gordon Lightfoot, and his arrangements are spare and unfussy. "Decidin' Time" is a highway tune that rolls along nicely, "Over My Shoulder" should satisfy Greg Brown aficionados, and a friendly version of "Small Up Simple Down," from the pens of tunesmiths Harvey Campbell and David Kent, is a much-needed change of pace--a light ditty that contrasts with the sober-sided introspection all around it. If you're allergic to folk, Everyday Dreams is not the cure. But acoustic-music lovers may well eat it up (available in area record stores).

Swine is a combo that evolved from Swoon, which made its presence felt on the local club scene a few years back. Its self-titled demo has much in common with its earlier incarnation, meaning that it spotlights a band that specializes in the sort of aggressive guitar rock that's no longer considered in vogue. But if you're not hopelessly sick of the genre, you'll find much to recommend here. I especially enjoyed "Wasn't I" and "I-40," but each of the six sound nuggets on display are worth wallowing in (780-0699). Right Where I Wanna Be, by Boulder-based vocalist Mary Ann Moore, includes contributions from a slew of notable locals, Andy Weyn, Mark Diamond, Paul Romaine, Rich Chiaraluce and Ellyn Rucker among them. They provide a suitably slick backdrop over which Moore swings in a relaxed, confident manner. The material won't bowl you over with its adventurousness, but Moore makes "Wheelers & Dealers," "Living Room" and "Small Day Tomorrow" seem smooth and alluring. A solid effort (Synergy Music, P.O. Box 6213, Denver 80206-0213).

Over the Edge, the second CD by Frank Emsley, who goes by the name Mr. Zipp, is just as loopy as its predecessor, 1994's Unplugged. The offerings on hand that were created as gags for talk-radio shows have a somewhat dated feel, but many of them (like "Bob Dole: Sex Machine") are pretty funny anyhow, thanks to ultra-primitive recording methods, cheesy electronic instrumentation, tuneless vocals and Emsley's willingness to abandon good taste for long periods of time. I could have done without skits like "Axing Man's Brother" and "Zeke and the Ferrari," but the heavy dance beat behind "It's a Brothel" and the pop-based melody of "Over the Edge" actually induced me to tap my toes. Not that I'd admit that to just anyone (Rant Records, P.O. Box 39542, Denver 80239). The packaging on the self-titled demo by Freak Hungre isn't all that professional--unless you consider a TDK cassette with the songs written on its cover in ballpoint pen professional. The six tracks recorded on it are pretty primitive, too: Typical are "Strange," which mates a Captain Beefheart guitar line with atonal attempts at harmonies, the faux-reggae "Wear Your Coat" and the pale funk of "Old Candy." They don't exactly brim with listening pleasure, but I'll bet the bandmembers are awfully nice guys (388-7903).

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts