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Retrospective captures the best of Simon

| Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, 12:06 a.m.

‘Over the Bridge of Time: A Paul Simon Retrospective (1964-2011)'

Paul Simon (Legacy)

★★★★

Trying to distill almost a half century of material into a single CD compilation is a daunting task, yet the folks at Legacy have done a good job tackling the Paul Simon song book. “Over the Bridge of Time” is a 20-track disc that traces his career from Simon & Garfunkel clear through to 2011's masterful though underappreciated “So Beautiful So What.” You can't include every great Simon song on such an offering, but this set hits most of the essentials. You've got “The Sound of Silence,” “America,” “Cecilia” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water” from his early years, and the solo selections include “Me & Julio Down By the Schoolyard,” “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” “Still Crazy After All These Years,” “Diamonds on the Souls of Her Shoes,” “Spirit Voices,” and “Love and Hard Times.” A very nice career overview.

‘We're Not Lost'

The Show Ponies (self-released)

★★★★½

Mixing bluegrass and folk with some serious rock and old time country underpinnings, California collective the Show Ponies knock it out of the park on sophomore full-length “We're Not Lost.” Vocalists Clayton Chaney and Andi Carder anchor the 11-track platter, and they soar to great heights throughout. Rollicking opener “Baby, I'm in Love With You” is for bluegrass fans everywhere, and the Show Ponies score with the laugh-out-loud funny “Whiskey and Wine,” heartbreaking “Pieces of the Past,” “If I Die Tomorrow,” “Brother, Do You Love Her?” and “The River.” Enjoy, y'all.

‘Bright Lights'

The Blues and Greys (Wednesday)

★★★½

Propelled by the big, big voice of Lindsey Waldon, California indie outfit the Blues and Greys makes a rock-solid debut with “Bright Lights.” The five-track EP serves as a nice introduction to the band's pleasing pop/rock sound. The EP's strongest tunes (the title track, slow-burn closer “Lost Lines”) bookend “Bright Lights,” and the Blues and Greys score with “Secrets to Shadows” and “New Shores.” This is a band on the rise.

‘The California EP'

Jamestown Revival (self-released)

★★★★

If “The California EP” is any indication, the forthcoming full-length debut from Los Angeles-based duo Jamestown Revival could be special. This four-track gem whets the appetite as Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance serve up three originals and a pitch-perfect cover of John Prine's “Paradise.” There's a pleasant hint of twang in Jamestown Revival's brand of rock, honed in the indie hotbed of Austin, Texas, and all three originals — “California (Cast Iron Soul),” personal favorite “Golden Age” and “Fur Coat Blues” — benefit from it. Can't wait to hear more from these guys.

‘Monsters in the Closet'

Mayday Parade (Fearless)

★★★

If you like veteran alt/emo rocker Mayday Parade, I'm guessing you'll enjoy its fourth full-length release “Monsters in the Closet.” If you don't like the Florida-based outfit, these 12 tracks won't do anything to change your mind. While there aren't any real stinkers on the album, save for the annoying “Girls,” you won't find many tracks that will linger with you after the CD stops spinning. Opener “Ghosts” is decent. Same goes for “Repent and Repeat,” and down the stretch the guys deliver a couple winners in “Nothing You Can Live Without, Nothing You Can Do About” and “Angels.”

‘CBGB'

Various Artists (Omnivore)

★★★★

CBGB, the Manhattan club operated by Hilly Kristal, is credited as the birthplace of underground rock and punk. The story of the venerable institution is chronicled in the new biopic “CBGB” and the soundtrack captures the spirit of its heyday. Highlights abound, including tunes from Talking Heads (“Life During Wartime”), MC5 (“Kick Out the Jams”), Television (“Careful”), the Velvet Underground (“I Can't Stand It”), the Dictators (“California Sun”), Blondie (“Sunday Girl”), the Police (“Roxanne”) and the Stooges (“I Wanna Be Your Dog”). Rock on.

‘You Can't Make Old Friends'

Kenny Rogers (Warner Bros.)

★★★½

Kenny Rogers was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame last month and is still going strong at age 75. The enjoyable “You Can't Make Old Friends” marks his 22nd album to hit the Top 10 on the Billboard country charts and is a nice addition to his lengthy discography. The title track, featuring longtime friend/collaborator Dolly Parton, is the highlight of the 11-track release, and Rogers scores with “You Had to Be There,” “Merica,” “Neon Horses” and “It's Gonna Be Easy Now.” Even after 50 years in the business, the guy's still got it.

Jefrrey Sisk is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1952, or jsisk@tribweb.com.

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