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  Salt Lady Records: Extra Credit
Artist: Various Artists
Label: Salt Lady Records
Length: 22/79:11

I can’t stop listening to this disc.  Being the fan that I am of Jonathan and Bruce Rundman and Beki Hemingway, I was salivating when I heard about the release of _Extra Credit_.  And I was not disappointed.  The Rundman cousins, and the incredibly underrated Hemingway appear on 18 of the 22 tracks on this disc.

Lest you think this CD a Rundman vanity project, rest assured there is quality here.  “No More Walls” is a new recording featuring Beki Hemingway’s backup vocals.  Hemingway is also featured in “Mary Alice,” a song she wrote and sang for This Train, and on “Better Vision,” from her album Words for Loss for Words.   She and Jonathan Rundman also perform a new song called “Everything to Everyone,” which may be the highlight of the album.  When are these two going to record a full length disc together?

Other new tunes include “Omaha” (Bruce & Jonathan Rundman), “Packing Tape” (Bruce), “The Serious Kind” (Jonathan), and “Beige Slacks” (both).  Any of these live up to the albums they have released.  Jeff Krebs contributes “For the Birds,” and Todd Miller adds “I Am the Tide.”

The only real miss here for me is the inclusion of Echelon’s “Renegade” from Too Much Time on Our Hands, the label’s Styx tribute album.  With so much material to work with on that album, there were better choices than this particular song.  In all, though, Extra Credit lives up to its name ­ these artists deserve much more credit and recognition than they normally receive.

Brian A. Smith  3/7/2004


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