Trey Anastasio and the Undectet/Mike Gordon

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Trey Anastasio and the Undectet/Mike Gordon
Original Boardwalk Style: Live in Atlantic City/The Green Sparrow

Rubber Jungle Records/Rounder Records
3.5 out of 5 stars

If you have two CD players and you play both of these albums simultaneously it will sound like Phish. I promise.

Actually, I don’t promise. As cool as that would be, we don’t want Phish fans all over the country struggling with getting the two discs in sync, because it doesn’t work. But it should.

All kidding aside, former Phish members Trey Anastasio and Mike Gordon are continuing on their self-proclaimed journeys of expanding their musical realms and delving into solo projects with the releases of Anastasio’s album Original Boardwalk Style: Live in Atlantic City and Gordon’s second solo album The Green Sparrow. Both should please fans of Phish and lovers of jam music alike.

Anastasio’s Original Boardwalk Style: Live in Atlantic City was recorded at the end of his 2006 holiday tour at the House of Blues in Atlantic City, N.J. on Dec. 30 and 31 and finds a very well polished eleven-piece band plowing through a setlist of familiar songs including “Drifting,” “Shine,” “Alive Again,” “Simple Twist Up Dave,” “Money, Love and Change,” and “Mr. Completely.” The nine-song set was remixed from the multi-track masters and sounds superb — easily the best sounding live solo release by Anastasio to date. Even though Anastasio fans have probably heard these songs a hundred times, the release is still worth adding to the collection based on the fact that the band is tight, the recording is excellent and proceeds from the sale will benefit the Seven Blow Arts Initiative, established by Anastasio in 2006 to foster artistic development and support arts education in Vermont.

Gordon’s The Green Sparrow took a year-and-a-half to write and finish and the result is a fun collection of songs with Gordon’s quirky flair and stellar playing by a slew of guest studio musicians including Anastasio, Phish keyboardist Page McConnell, drummer Bill Kreutzmann (Grateful Dead), keyboardist Chuck Leavell (Rolling Stones, Allman Brothers Band) and frequent Gordon collaborator Scott Murawski and percussionist Ken Lovelett. On this album, Gordon’s creative side shines as his non-traditional songwriting gives way for studio trickery, including experimenting with different programming and production techniques. Standouts include “Traveled to Far,” “Andelmans’ Yard” and “Radar Blip.”

Let’s just hope that the next thing from these two artists includes a Phish reunion.

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