10/21/2011 11:21 am ET | Updated Dec 21, 2011

Dog Ears Music: Volume 198


Air Review
Dallas-based art-folk quintette Air Review is the auditory splendor of lead vocalist Douglas Hale (piano, guitar), backing vocalists
 Dragan Jakovljevic (guitar, percussion), Richard Carpenter (guitar, percussion, keys), and Jeff Taylor (bass), with Justin Robinson on drums. Equally at home in rock clubs or at a church social, the ensemble has issued three releases since its 2009 debut. Shared stages/collaborations include Portugal The Man, The Burning Hotel, Doug Burr, The Boxer Rebellion, Bowling for Soup, One Eskimo, Blue October, Flyleaf, and Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights. Download "America's Son," from Air Review's 2011 single release. Dulcet, tender, hypnotic.

Genre: Folk/Rock

Artist: Air Review

Song: America's Son

Album: America's Son-Single

Gary Clark Jr.
The sonic footprints of Austin-bred bluesman Gary Clark Jr. began in his tweens. A club veteran by his late teens, he has impressively issued a handful of releases to date. Highlights include five Austin Music Awards, the score for indie film Lenexa, 1 Mile (2006), and a choice pick by Eric Clapton to perform at the Crossroads Guitar Festival in 2010. Collaborations/shared stages include Jimmie Vaughan, Etta James, Pinetop Perkins, Doyle Bramhall II, and Sheryl Crow. Definitely follow Gary Clark Jr.'s "Bright Lights," from his 2011 The Bright Lights-EP.

Genre: Rock/Blues

Artist: Gary Clark Jr.

Song: Bright Lights

Album: The Bright Lights-EP

Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba
Ngoni master Bassekou Kouyate was born in Garana, Mali, beside the Niger River. Raised in a musical home, Bassekou set off for the capital city of Bamanko in his late teens and soon after was playing with Toumani Diabaté. After various collaborations, Kouyate founded his Ngoni Ba ensemble. Among its members are Kouyate's wife Amy Sacko (vocals), Omar Barou Kouyate (ngoni), Fousseyni Kouyate (ngoni), Moussa Bah (bass ngoni). The group elegantly fuses its griot roots with American resonance. Collaborations include Kasse Mady Diabate, Kélétigui Diabaté, Bonnie Raitt, Bono, Ali Farka Touré, Taj Mahal, Béla Fleck, and Carlos Santana. Discover "Ladon," from Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba's 2009 project I Speak Fula (Bonus Track Version).

Genre: World

Artist: Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba

Song: Ladon

Album: I Speak Fula (Bonus Track Version)

The Stepkids
The Stepkids is the funkalicious rock trio comprised of bassist/keyboardist Dan Edinberg, guitarist Jeff Gitelman, and drummer Tim Walsh, with keyboardist Fred Dileone and visualist Jesse Mann rounding out the live stuff. Founded in 2009, the unit collectively did its finger-bleeding in support of 50 Cent, Alicia Keys, and Lauryn Hill. Discover the tasteful and sophisticated musicianship of The Stepkids with "Santos and Ken," from their freshman 2011 project The Stepkids. A new classic with the allure of that '70s fade-out.

Genre: Alternative

Artist: The Stepkids

Song: Santos and Ken

Album: The Stepkids

The Harmonizing Four
American Gospel quartet The Harmonizing Four was founded in Richmond, Virginia, at the close of the Roaring '20s by Thomas "Goat" Johnson and Levi Handly. In 1943, they cut their full-length debut and went on to record a heap of sides, as well as gracing recordings by Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Over their eight-decade tenure, the cast would include Joseph "Gospel Joe" Williams, Lonnie Smith, Tommy Ellison, James Walker, Thomas Johnson, Jimmy Jones, Vance Joyner, and Calvin Meekins. Revisit The Harmonizing Four with "Close to Thee," from their inspired 1959 Gospel Music Anthology (Remastered).

Genre: Gospel

Artist: The Harmonizing Four

Song: Close to Thee

Album: Gospel Music Anthology (Remastered)

Sonya Kitchell
Singer/songwriter Sonya Kitchell was born at the close of the '80s in Western Massachusetts. Raised in an artistic household, she started singing in early girlhood and soon after--on to songwriting. Sonya released her freshman set in 1996, just weeks after turning 17. Collaborations/shared stages include Angelique Kidjo, Ben Harper, Jamie Cullum, India.Arie, Los Lonely Boys, Madeleine Peyroux, Garth Stevenson, Wayne Shorter, Joni Mitchell, Herbie Hancock, Quincy Jones, Malcolm Burn, and The Slip. Credits include feature film Perfect Stranger, TV's Private Practice and The Unit, and a handful of releases to date. Download "Walk Away," from Sonya Kitchell's 2008 This Storm (Bonus Track Version). Achingly elegant.

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Artist: Sonya Kitchell

Song: Walk Away

Album: This Storm (Bonus Track Version)