An occasional update of music releases
Sting - Mercury Falling
(A&M Records): Call him intellectual or call him pretentious, Sting still writes primo pop tunes. Ever the alchemist, Sting takes various influences - from blues to Celtic to soft country - and turns them into gold on this CD. Air-tight arrangements include sterling work from the Memphis Horns and the East London Gospel Choir. As for intelligent lyrics, does any songwriter read more classic literature than Sting? We think not. This disc is Sting at his moody, eclectic best.
- April Austin
Wynonna - Revelations
(MCA/Curb Music): Don't flip through this disc looking for traditional country music. Wynonna Judd's sound has never fit completely in the country category, and she uses "Revelations," her third solo album, to further demonstrate her range. The album opens with its strongest selection - the smooth, wistful ballad "To Be Loved by You." But before long she's doing more rocking than crooning. There's even a tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd with a cover of the rock classic "Free Bird." The album closes with a misfired attempt at rock-gospel. For Wynonna fans, the only revelation here is that the singer should stick to the old tried and true. Much of the new-fangled sound is a disappointment.
- Laurel Shaper Walters
The Rankin Family - Endless Seasons (Guardian Records): Just when you think the Celtic craze has gone as far as it can go, along comes this sibling quintet from Nova Scotia to give it new life. But while there is a wee bit of Eire throughout this CD, including one exquisite reel in Gaelic, the songwriting Rankins are at their best when they mix the old world with the new. Some standouts are the folk anthem "Natives," the Nashville rocker "Forty Days and Forty Nights," and the gospel-inspired "Eyes of Margaret."
- Scott Baldauf