Likeable Lawyer

TV: Harry’s Law — This vehicle for the wonderfully talented actress Kathy Bates was created and is helmed by David E. Kelley, the man behind such series as Chicago Hope, The Practice, Ally McBeal and Boston Legal.

Bates plays a successful patent lawyer who hits a life crisis and gives up her big money career to become a lovably cranky storefront with a heart of gold in a poor urban neighborhood in a closed shop space packed with chic women’s shoes left behind by the previous tenant that become part of her new business.

Yeah, this show is one strange bird. It’s hardly surprising it has gotten a very mixed reception from critics, as the show can be silly, sappy, almost alarmingly disconnected from believable reality in a cartoon like fashion, and even a bit dumb.

Yet there’s something about it that is just plain likeable, and if the series finds its footing and an audience, it just might become a (highly) guilty pleasure.

CD: Demons by Cowboy Junkies — A band I admire and appreciate but have yet to be fully gripped by over the course of a three-decade run in large part due to their low-key vibe, the Cowboy Junkies break out of their mold on this set that pays tribute to the late wheelchair-bound singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt, who died in late 2009 as the result of an apparent suicide.

His often whimsical and offbeat songs give the group an opportunity to get experimental, stretch out, and bring some upbeat power and crackle to their sound, which also suits Chesnutt’s slower material. The result is one of their most compelling releases yet, at least to my ears.

CD: Edie Brickell — It may be a discredit to the singer who rocketed to fame leading the New Bohemians in 1988 to credit her charms on this self-titled release on her own label to being married to folk-pop master Paul Simon.

But she shows a similar knack for pop appeal with an anchor of depth on this delightful, catchy and smart album. Striking an adept balance between breeziness and musically imaginative arrangements, this disc beguiles and delights at first blush, and with successive listens reveals a lovely sophistication.

From The Progressive Populist, April 15, 2011


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