Various Artists: Crystal Top Music Presents

The dreamy vocals of Aidan Hawken’s “Late Night with Christina” lead off the Brooklyn-based Crystal Top Music Presents sampler, an eclectic mix of artists that takes listeners through an Americana mix of tunes.

Christina Courtin’s Running Kicks follow with “Foreign Country” and humorous lyrics like “… if I was a foreign country would you vacation all up in my big city.”

The Dang-It Bobbys offer up a real alt-country number with “Say Goodbye.”  At times sounding a bit like Son Volt with a twist of Alice in Chains , they contribute one of the most entertaining tracks to the album. 

As this collection offers so many diverse tastes and sounds, it does seem to have a common theme in that none of the artists fit nicely into any format or sound.  Elizabeth and The Catapult 's “Momma’s Boy” offer angelic vocals with pop sensibilities.  Then, Los Electrics hit you with the ramped up energy of the Latin vibe “El Buena Gente.”  The distorted guitar tone riding over beautiful Latin percussion instantly demands you shuffle your feet around.

Crystal Top Music Presents is not just great original material; Pyeng Threadgill offers up a soulful take on Bill Whither’s “Can We Pretend.”  From afrobeat to bluegrass and at times some entertaining mix of genres, this disc goes way beyond genre tags. 

This sampler of artists does exactly what it should do:  it introduces the listener to artists they may not have heard otherwise, and does so with songs that will make you want to go out and hear more.

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