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Song For My Father'
UNIM-BLU-1751xHorace Silver Quintet
Song For My Father
Remastered And Reissued As Part Of The Blue Note 75th Anniversary Vinyl Reissue Campaign
Released in 1965, Song For My Father by jazz pianist, Horace Silver, features Carmell Jones on trumpet, Joe Henderson on tenor sax, Teddy Smith on
bass and Roger Humphries on drums on the tracks "Song For My Father," "The Natives Are Restless Tonight," "Que Pasa" and "The Kicker." "Calcutta
Cutie" and "Lonely Woman" feature Blue Mitchell on trumpet, Junior Cook on tenor sax, Gene Taylor on bass and Roy Brooks on drums. A hard-bop
masterpiece, Song For My Father will be reissued on vinyl as part of an overall Blue Note 75th anniversary vinyl reissue campaign spearheaded by
current Blue Note Records President, Don Was.1. Song For My Father
2. The Natives Are Restless Tonight
3. Calcutta Cutie
4. Que Pasa
5. The Kicker
6. Lonely Woman$19.99Vinyl LP Reissue - Sealed Buy Now
Fuchsia Swing SongDuring the Blue Note 75th anniversary celebration the label released 100 essential Blue Note LPs and asked New York Times readers what titles they'd like to see make the list. This album is one of five new reissues that were hand-selected by Blue Note President, Don Was, based on New York Times reader recommendations.
Recorded in 1964 immediately after leaving the Miles Davis Quintet, Sam Rivers' Fuchsia Swing Song is one of the more auspicious debuts the label released in the mid-'60s. Rivers was a seasoned session player (his excellent work on Larry Young's Into Somethin' is a case in point) and a former member of Herb Pomeroy's Big Band before he went out with Davis. By the time of his debut, Rivers had been deep under the influence of Coltrane and Coleman, but wasn't willing to give up the blues just yet. Hence the sound on Fuchsia Swing Song is one of an artist who is at once very self-assured, and in transition.
Using a rhythm section that included Tony Williams (whose Life Time he had guested on), pianist Jaki Byard, and bassist Ron Carter, Rivers took the hard bop and blues of his roots and poured them through the avant-garde colander. Today, players like Joshua Redman, Branford Marsalis, and James Carter do it all the time, but in 1964 it was unheard of. You either played hard bop or free; Davis' entire modal thing hadn't even completely blasted off yet. The title and opening track is a case in point.
Rivers opens with an angular figure that is quickly translated by the band into sweeping, bopping blues. Rivers legato is lightning quick and his phrasing touches upon Coleman Hawkins, Sonny Rollins, Coleman, and Coltrane, but his embouchure is all his. He strikes the balance and then takes off on both sides of the aisle. Byard's comping is actually far more than that, building in rhythmic figures in striated minors just behind the tenor. Downstairs Blues Upstairs sounds, initially anyway, like it might have come out of the Davis book so deep is its blue root. But courtesy of Byard and Williams, Rivers goes to the left after only four choruses, moving onto the ledge a bit at a time, running knotty arpeggios through the center of the melody and increasingly bending his notes into succeeding intervals while shifting keys and times signatures
He never goes completely over the edge as he would on his later Blue Note dates. The most difficult cut on the date is Luminous Monolith, with its swing-like figure introducing the melody. Eight bars in, the syncopation of the rhythm sections begins a stutter stem around the time and then the harmony with Byard building dense chords for Rivers to jump off of. On the Connoisseur Series CD (shame on Blue Note once again for making some of its best outside records limited editions; titles like this should be as readily available as Horace Silver's Song for My Father, but the label had been playing it ever so safe for a while and making fans buy the limited number of titles over and again) there are alternate takes of Luminous Monolith and three more of Downstairs Blues Upstairs, making it a very worthwhile look at the entire session.
This is a highly recommended date. Rivers never played quite like this again.
- Thom Jurek1. Fuchsia Swing Song
2. Downstairs Blues Upstairs
3. Cyclic Episode
4. Luminous Monolith
6. Ellipsis$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Too Dumb for Suicide: Tim Heidecker's Trump Songs (Pre-Order)Limited Edition Orange Vinyl Pressing - 1000 Copies
Vinyl Includes A Cover Of "Trump's Private Pilot" By Father John Misty
Well here it is. About one year in the making, all my Trump songs in one place. Most of these songs were written and recorded quickly, with the blood still boiling from whatever indignity or absurdity had popped up on my newsfeed that day. Certainly, Trump Tower was written in the rotten dawn, days after Trump's win. Let's hope I don't write any more of these, but I probably will. Thanks to Davin Wood for playing piano on Trump Tower, and thanks to Jonathan Rado, who produced and played on a good number of these (the ones you hear some of that beautiful tape hiss on mostly) - his tribute to Steve Nieve on Imperial Bedroom is particularly inspired. Thanks to Kane Ritchotte and Max Whipple for providing the best rhythm section a boy could ask for, and to Jordan Katz, Taylor Plenn and David Ralicke for laying down some sweet horns on Wilbur Ross. Thanks to Vic Berger for adding some backups to Sentencing Day and for usually being the first audience for these tunes. Thanks to Josh Tillman for surprising me with a tear-inducing cover of Trump's Private Pilot and for allowing us to include it here. Same goes to Andrew Bird for having me over, letting me use our live session and adding beautiful violin and harmony to Trump Talkin' Nukes.
Finally, NO thanks to Paul Simon who didn't let us include I Am A Cuck - you fucker.1. Trump Tower
2. Imperial Bathroom
3. Richard Spencer
4. For Chan
5. Mar A Lago
6. Trump's Private Pilot
8. Wilbur Ross
9. Cooked Chinese Chicken
10. Trump Talkin' Nukes
11. Sentencing Day
12. Trump's Private Pilot (Father John Misty version)
13. Trump Talkin' Nukes (Live with Andrew Bird) [Bonus Track]$19.99Colored Vinyl LP - Sealed PRE-ORDER Buy Now
A Light That Never DiesOn his second album A Light That Never Dies which will be released in North America via Forty Below Records, KaiL Baxley has returned with a hard hitting, lush and beautifully haunting collection of songs. Co-produced with Producer/Engineer Eric Corne whose recording credits include Lucinda Williams, Glen Campbell, Kim Deal and John Mayall, the album was recorded over the last year in three different cities.
"We used a lot of really old gear on this one to capture that warm analog sound and preserve its truth," says KaiL about the album. "I'm proud of what Eric and I got out of the studio and I'm eager to get out on the road and share it with people."
Hailing from the small backwater town of Willison-Elko - a town so small that most people in South Carolina don't even know where it is, much less the rest of the world. It's only claim to fame is soul legend James Brown, with whom Baxley shared an unlikely friendship as a child. Perhaps this was one of the leading influences in Baxley's soul-drenched music or perhaps it was the similar circumstances in which they were raised that fuels such deep emotion in an individual.
Abandoned by both his mother and father as a small child Baxley was raised by his grandfather Woody until age 12. When he passed away, KaiL bounced from one living situation to another, rarely living in one place for more than a year at a time. It was in this constant migration that he found escape in a pair of old RCA headphones.
"It wasn't all bad really," he recalls. "I got to know quite a bit of music from all different genres during that time period. I'd stay with my uncle for a while and pick up some Van Morrison; my auntie gave me the Stones;friends parents turned me on to gospel. Then I discovered hiphop and it was all over. I was hooked."
This is the very apparent source of inspiration in KaiL Baxley's genre-bending music that also blends blues, indie rock, soul, gospel, and syncopated hiphop-style beats into a most exquisite and easily drinkable cocktail of sound - a sound that he has dubbed "Soul Swagger".
KaiL's debut effort, Heatstroke/The Wind and the War, was presented as a double EP which displayed the yin and yang of his musical range. A surprise nominee for NPR's Album Of The Year, it received critical acclaim, including a debut at SXSW, where Baxley was tapped as, "One of NPR's top new artists" by All Songs Considered.
"His voice falls somewhere between Joe Cocker and Bill Withers with a husky authority. The guy is a whiz-bang folkie-turned-soul-rocker and has a voice which can make you dance or which melts butter, depending upon the tune."
- Frank Gutch Jr. / Segarini1. Light That Never Dies
2. Mr. Downtown
3. Tell the Falling Sun
4. The Ballad of Johnny Steel
5. Morning Light
6. Better FeelN' Better Days
8. Still Wonder (Interlude)
9. Troubled Souls
10. Chasing James Dean
11. Mirrors of Paradise$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
CHUCKChuck Berry, the father of rock & roll, is releasing his first album in nearly 40 years, which is comprised mostly of new, original songs written, recorded and produced by the legend himself. 'CHUCK' was recorded in various studios around St. Louis and features Berry's longtime hometown backing group - including his children Charles Berry Jr. (guitar) and Ingrid Berry (harmonica), plus Jimmy Marsala (Berry's bassist of forty years), Robert Lohr (piano), and Keith Robinson (drums) - which has supported him for over two decades on over two hundred residency shows at the famed Blueberry Hill club. This record is dedicated to my beloved Toddy, said Berry, referring to his wife of 68 years, Themetta Berry. My darlin' I'm growing old! I've worked on this record for a long time. Now I can hang up my shoes!1. Wonderful Woman
2. Big Boys
3. You Go To My Head
4. 3/4 Time (Enchiladas)
6. She Still Loves You
7. Lady B. Goode
8. Jamaica Moon
10. Eyes Of Man$24.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
ADAD-MER-7514xHiss Golden Messenger
Heart Like A LeveeThe writing of the songs that became Heart Like a Levee started in a
hotel room in Washington DC in January of 2015 during a powerful
storm that darkened the East Coast. At that time I was feeling-more
acutely than I had ever felt before-wrenched apart by my
responsibilities to my family and to my music. Forgetting,
momentarily, that for me, each exists only with the other. How could I
forget? Though maybe my lapse was reasonable: I had just quit my job,
the most recent and last, in a series of dead-end gigs stretching back
20 years, with the vow that my children would understand their father
as a man in love with his world and the inventor of his own days. They
would be rare in that regard. And then-driven by monthly bills and
pure fear- I left for another tour, carrying a load of guilt that I could
just barely lift. But in that snowy hotel room I found the refrain that
became my compass: I was a dreamer, babe, when I set out on the
road; but did I say I could find my way home?
Durham, NC1. Biloxi
2. Tell Her I'm Just Dancing
3. Heart Like a Levee
4. Like a Mirror Loves a Hammer
5. Smoky's Song
6. Cracked Windshield
7. As the Crow Flies
8. Happy Day (Sister My Sister)
9. Say It Like You Mean It
10. Ace of Cups
11. Highland Grace$19.99Vinyl LP 45 RPM - Sealed Buy Now
SONM-PRO-7962xTenth Avenue North
FollowersKnown for their heart-stirring lyrics and chart-topping hit songs, Tenth Avenue North delivers once again with their brand new album, Followers. Lead singer, Mike Donehey, explains the album title saying, "When I search the gospels, I cannot find one place where Jesus asks anyone to be a leader. In fact, He doesn't even consider Himself a leader. He says, 'I don't do anything of my own accord. I just do what I see my Father in Heaven doing.' So if that's the case, there's one leader, and we're all followers." Songs from Followers include themes about finding hope in moments of confusion and chaos, overcoming fear, giving God control and pursuing what He wants. It's a timely record with a message destined to impact listeners in a profound way.1. Afraid
2. What You Want
4. I Have This Hope
5. One Thing
6. Sparrow (Under Heaven's Eyes)
7. No One Can Steal Our Joy
8. Control (Somehow You Want Me)
9. Fighting For You
10. I Confess$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Don't Lose ThisIn 1998, Roebuck "Pops" Staples recorded a final session, capping an
illustrious career as leader and patriarch of the Staples Singers. Unfinished
at the time of his passing in 2000, the tapes went to his daughter,
Mavis, who then waited for the right opportunity to finish the recording
in the spirit Pops intended. When she began her series of remarkable
collaborations with Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, starting with 2010's You Are Not
Alone and continuing with 2013's One True Vine, Mavis knew she had
found the person to work on her father's record. Mavis Staples: "I
chose this title because these were the words my father said to me as
he gave me the tape of his final recordings. He was sick and lying in
bed and asked me to play the record for him in his room. After listening
to it, he called me to his room again. He was weak, but he handed me
the tape and in a soft voice said 'Don't lose this, Mavis.' While Pops'
voice and guitar sounded so good on the original recordings [and remain
untouched on this record], I knew the songs needed something else to
really come to life. Something special. Pops deserved that. So I called
on my dear friend Jeff Tweedy to fill out the tracks around Pops and he's
helped to craft this beautiful album."1. Somebody Was Watching
2. Sweet Home
3. No News Is Good News
4. Love On My Side
6. Nobody's Fault But Mine
7. The Lady's Letter
8. Better Home
9. Will The Circle Be Unbroken
10. Gotta Serve Somebody$19.99Vinyl LP + CD - Sealed Buy Now
Gathering MercuryColin Hay may be best known as the lead singer for Men At Work, the platinum selling Australian band that topped worldwide charts in the 80s with anthems like "Down Under," "Overkill," and "Who Can It Be Now?" Hay's justifiably proud of his place in pop history, but since moving to Los Angeles in 1989, he's made 11 solo albums and is confident that Gathering Mercury is the best of the lot.
"These are some of the strongest songs I've ever written," Hay says from his home studio in the hills of Topanga Canyon. "The loss of my father last year brought an unavoidable emotional contingent to writing and recording. I don't have a definitive belief in an afterlife, but I do feel like I had his help when I was working on this album, especially alone late at night, in the studio."
Hay recorded and produced the ten songs on Gathering Mercury in his home studio, with the help of drummer Randy Cooke, bassist Joe Karnes, and guitarist Sean Woostenhulme, from his touring band and friends like bass player Jimmy Earl and pianist Jeff Babko from Jimmy Kimmel's band, drummer Charlie Paxson, Cuban percussionist Luis Conte (Madonna, Ray Charles) and his wife Cecilia Noel on backing vocals. The arrangements feature Hay's quizzical, instantly recognizable tenor supported by acoustic instruments and melodic electric guitar accents. The album was beautifully mixed by long time friend and composer/producer Chad Fischer.
"Send Somebody," the album's first single, was co-written with guitarist/songwriter Michael Georgiades, who provides not only the main chord structure, but the understated solo that sets up the song's touching bridge. The hypnotic pop melody is augmented by Fisher's work on piano, xylophone and drums. The tune was inspired by a late night phone conversation. "You call tech support one night around midnight and actually get a human being on the line," Hay explains. "The unexpected connection with a stranger is often easier to make than one with people you know. It brings up the longing for connection we all feel.
"Dear Father" is a poignant celtic folk-like tune with Hay's 12-string guitar and melancholy vocal taking center stage. Cellist Oliver Kraus overdubbed the burnished string section. "This song was written and recorded almost instantaneously, a gift from beyond, if you will. The night my father died, I was in Glasgow on the river Clyde, about 20 streets away from where he was born. There's some kind of bleak poetry in that, very bleak."
"Far From Home" has the reggae lilt of a contemporary Men At Work tune. Jeff Babko's Hammond B3, Cook's inspired drum part, and Hay's rhythm guitar add to the melody's hypnotic feel. "I don't know if it's reggae as such," Hay says. "But when I play electric guitar, the rhythm I feel is on the offbeat. It's my natural default."
Other standouts include Michael Georgiades' "Half a Million Angels," with sublime performances by all; the darkly humorous "A Simple Song," which deals with the complexities of long term relationships with Hay on mandola and the buoyant vaudeville tune "Where the Sky Is Blue," a song Hay imagined his father singing to his mother before they married.
The tunes on Gathering Mercury are deeply affecting, but never maudlin. Despite the often serious subject matter, they're full of optimism. "It's not a conscious thing and may have to do with the Scottish mentality. We deal with darkness by shining a light on it. It doesn't diminish the charge of the feeling, it just makes it easier to deal with."1. Send Somebody
2. Family Man
4. Dear Father
5. Gathering Mercury
6. Half A Million
7. Far From Home
8. Where The Sky Is Blue
9. A Simple Song
10. Goodnight Rom$19.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
FamilyIn an era of social media and perceived self-impor tance, Noah Gundersen
is in many ways the antithesis of his time. Noah's EP Family pays homage to the
people who have shaped his life - rather than the self-aggrandizing so common
to the often homogeneous world of singer-songwriters.
"Family comes in many forms," says Noah. "I t lives with us, for better and for
worse. I t shapes us. That 's what this EP is about." The songs on Family are consistently
impressive and defy genre. Whereas roots-tinged songs like "Family "
conjure up shades of a solo R yan Adams, the sweeping and ethereal "Fire," bears
similarities to the lush harmonic feats of Fleet Foxes. Perhaps the album's standout
track is the pulsating "David," which combines the haunting dark ness of Tom
Waits with the lyrical angst of Neil Young. " The song is about who I want to be,
while realizing who I am. I want to be less like my Father and more like my Dad."1. David
4. San Antonio Fading
6. Honest Songs
7. Family$15.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
PilgrimEric Clapton has metamorphosed from tie-dyed guitar god for a mostly male congregation to Armani-clad crooner and chart-certified ladies' man, yet it misses the point to focus on that transition without considering '90s forays into blues (on From The Cradle, his brilliant 1994 live-in-the-studio homage), techno, and the silky contemporary R&B of Change The World. Pilgrim, his first studio album of new songs since Journeyman, reflects all these facets in his most ambitious, and certainly darkest solo project. Its title isn't casual: These are elliptical meditations on the ravages of time, as preoccupied with matters of the spirit as affairs of the heart. My Father's Eyes opens the song cycle with allusions to the traumatic death of toddler son Conor (the inspiration for '92's poignant Tears In Heaven), while the title song adopts the fevered, falsetto vocal style of Curtis Mayfield to riveting effect. Coproducer Simon Climie sculpts electronic orchestrations and favors clipped synth rhythms, while Clapton himself largely eschews his once dominant, climactic electric solos for restrained but potent acoustic filigree, staccato riffs, and fluid rhythm work, letting loose with a rougher, more biting edge on the squalling She's Gone. --Sam SurtherlandLP 1
1. My Father's Eyes
2. River Of Tears
4. Broken Hearted
5. One Chance
1. Going Down Slow
2. Fall Like Rain
3. Born In Time
4. Sick & Tired
5. Needs His Woman
6. She's Gone
7. You Were There
8. Inside Of Me$34.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Innocence ReachesOf Montreal have announced their new album, Innocence Reaches. The group's 14th album follows the release of last year's studio effort, Aureate Gloom, and their live album, Snare Lustrous Doomings.
Frontman Kevin Barnes said the style of the group's new 12-song set developed from him listening to current music versus tapping into the past. Forever I've been detached from current music, he said in a statement. I got into this bubble of only being in some other time period. I came up picking apart the Beach Boys, the Beatles and symphonic pieces. But last year, I was hearing Jack Ü, Chairlift, Arca and others, thinking about low end and sound collage. It was an extra layer to geek out to.
On the new single, It's Different for Girls, which Zane Lowe premiered on his Beats 1 Radio program, the whimsical, quirky vibe is juxtaposed against the song's more serious socio-political themes about questionable gender norms. Barnes' lyrics include lines like when they are children, they're de-personalized, aggressively objectified and it's different for girls, they are mercurial creatures, not a masculine dissonance or sexual currency, which he sings over bouncy synths.
The cover art was conceived by Barnes' brother David, who is a new first-time father and expresses his wonderment for the female anatomy and was also inspired by trans issues, which Barnes said in a statement has always been a part of my identity as a human and is evidenced by his gender-bending in performances.
-Althea Legaspi, Rolling Stones1. Let's Relate
2. It's Different for Girls
3. Gratuitous Abysses
4. My Fair Lady
5. Les Chants de Maldoror
6. A Sport and a Pastime
7. Ambassador Bridge
8. Def Pacts
9. Chaos Arpeggiating
10. Nursing Slopes
11. Trashed Exes
12. Chap Pilot$23.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Custom Printed PVC Plastic Case
Double Metallic Silver Vinyl
Full Color Custom Printed Sleeves
8-Page LP Lyric Booklet
Minneapolis is known for many things - pretty lakes, the Mall of America, lutefisk. But 17 years ago, hip-hop act
Atmosphere transformed the city into something else entirely: a nexus from which underground rap spiraled-out
to the masses. And thanks to the duo's indefatigable touring habits, Top 20-charting albums, and their galvanizing artist-owned label Rhymesayers (MF Doom, Aesop Rock), they're still pushing the boundaries of what indie
rap can mean.
It's with that overachieving-underdog spirit that MC Sean "Slug" Daley and producer Anthony "Ant" Davis have
named Atmosphere's eighth studio album Southsiders (out May 6), a shout-out to their native neighborhood.
Because, says Slug, "We have spent the majority of our career - God, we can call it a career! - repping the
south side of Minneapolis pretty hard."
While Southsiders is a celebration of the group's fortitude, it is also a deeply introspective, and sometimes
conflicted, work. "It's a natural progression from the last record, The Family Sign, which was about growing my
family," says Slug, now a father to three, who finds himself contemplating mortality. "I'm starting to think, 'What is
post-family man? What am I supposed to rap about now?' I'm sticking to my roots, rapping about what I'm
doing, what I think about. This record is - much like the other ones - a very detailed look at my life."
The album captures everything from a blazing, anthemic takedown in "Southsiders," to the ebb-and-flow of loss
in the sauntering "Arthur's Song," to emotional abandon in the rousing "Kanye West." The latter - and its
mantra, "put your hands in the air like you really do care" - is a high-five to the rapper whose emotional
reactions are often misperceived as not caring. Says Slug, "I wanted to write a song about loving something so
much that you submit to the moment.1. Camera Thief
2. Arthur's Song
3. The World Might Not Live Through The Night
4. Star Shaped Heart
5. I Love You Like A Brother
8. Mrs. Interpret
10. Kanye West
11. We Ain't Gonna Die Today
12. My Lady Got Two Men
14. January On Lake Street
15. Let Me Know That You Know What You Want Now$26.99Colored Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Broderick & Broderick10" Album Includes Cd Version of Album and Digital Version of Album
Broderick & Broderick is a collaboration
between renowned artist and multi-instrumentalist
Peter Broderick and his father Steven.
Peter is known for a number of projects, from
his solo instrumental works such as Float to his work
with bands such as Efterklang and Horse Feathers. He
has played with M.Ward, Laura Gibson and Loch
Lomond. Peter has scored a number of lms, while his
most recent release, 2012's "These Walls Of Mine,"
consisted of 10 vocal and lyrical tracks. He currently
resides in Berlin.
From the liner notes of Broderick & Broderick:
I don't think Steven is very comfortable in the
spotlight. On the rare occasions I've had the courage to
suggest putting a microphone in front of him and his
guitar, the common response has been a humble shrug
and a rain check. And then a lot of time passes before
we see each other again and I'm left with my
imagination when I want to hear one of his songs,
faintly but surely engrained in my musical memory.
Recalling those melodies and often learning to
play versions of them myself has been the red thread of
my own musical practice. Somewhat of a recording
enthusiast (or addict?) myself, I couldn't fathom a
project more meaningful than a session with Pop (as he
is known to us kids). So when I found out he would be
coming to Berlin for a few days at the end of June
2012, my mind ran wild with hopes and dreams of a
chance to nally capture those sounds.
Team Love is proud to present the result of this
idea to capture the melodies that were engrained in
Peter's psyche as a child. It's an additional honor to
have Peter's sister Heather Woods Broderick featured
on the album. Her vocal on the track "Let Me Love You
For Free" opens like a ower and stamps the release
with a mark of sheer beauty.1. Four Cats, Three Dogs, Several Ducks And A Rabbit
2. Let Me Love Your For Free
3. Ashokan Farewell
4. The Thunder Dance
5. POop's Song
6. Let Me Love You Again$13.9910 Vinyl LP + CD - Sealed Buy Now
The Sirens Of The DitchFor the past six years, Jason Isbell was one of three frontmen for the critically acclaimed Drive-By Truckers and although fans may have been shocked by his departure from the band in April of 2011, once you hear this, his solo debut Sirens Of The Ditch (which was co-produced by Isbell and Patterson Hood) it will only confirm that Isbell by no means is putting his feet up. Musicians joining Isbell on the album include Shonna Tucker (bass) and Brad Morgan (drums) with cameos from Patterson Hood, his father David Hood, Spooner Oldham, John Neff and more.
Recorded over the past four years at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals (Aretha Franklin, Duane Allman, Otis Redding), Sirens Of The Ditch is a diverse collection of songs that incorporates elements of rock, blues and soul music into a heartfelt mix of songs that favor piano and pedal steel over buzzing guitars, although theres a fair share of overdriven amps here as well. A lot of old soul musicians came through here in the late 60s and 70s and helped define the Muscle Shoals sound, the lifelong Alabamian explains, so that influence was always in my environment, but on this record I really tried to capture that.1. Brand New Kind Of Actress
2. Down In A Hole
4. Chicago Promenade
5. Dress Blues
7. Hurricanes and Hand Grenades
8. In A Razor Town
9. Shotgun Wedding
10. The Magician
11. The Devil Is My Running Mate$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Woman KingAside from the immediacy and intimacy of his recorded work, there is one thing clear about Iron & Wine's Sam Beam: he is wonderfully and seemingly effortlessly prolific. In just short of 2 years he has released 2 full-length albums and two EPs. Recorded in August 2004 with Brian Deck at his Engine Studios in Chicago, Iron & Wine's latest release, the Woman King EP, is striking both for its broadened palette (percussion, piano, violin, even electric guitar all crop up here) and its thematic focus on female characters both archetypal and personal. The latter is mostly coincidental, a larger batch of songs yielding recurrent imagery when pared down for this EP. That negotiation with the sexual other might be best summed up with a line from My Lady's House: Thank god you see me the way you do/Strange as you are to me. And, the increasingly complex beauty of Iron & Wine's albums might best be summed up by the following, from SPIN (in a review of Our Endless Numbered Days): It all works because Beam is a fearlessly accessible songwriter, framing his melancholy in concrete imagery and solid, inviting melodies. He writes with the self-confidence of a man at peace with his gauzy gufts. He sings like a father talking to a child he respects or like a husband to a wife he adores. Beam has given us his second straight masterwork: self-assured, spellbinding and richly, refreshingly adult. Here's his third.1. Woman King
3. Grey Stables
4. Freedom Hangs Like Heaven
5. In My Lady's House
6. Evening on the Ground (Lilith's Song)$12.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
What Am I Doing
Debut Album From This Brooklyn Band
Album Produced By Annabel Alpers Of Bachelorette (Drag City)
Mixed By Adam Cooke (Beach House / Double Dagger)
Lushes are a band born of tensions - between art and math,
order and chaos, planning and chance. You can hear it in their
songs - taut, twitching art-punk that balance anxiety and elation,
often within the space of a few bars. Album opener Harsh glides
along slowly, feeling like a moody and measured art-rock
meditation until you zero in on the words in the chorus: Harsh on
my ears, that's the way I like it. This is push-pull music, songs
that temper the jagged fitfulness of groups like June of 44 and
Slint with the soft-focus sweetness and open-ended song
structures of The Sea & Cake and The Notwist.
That moods so diametrically opposed can peacefully coexist is
part of Lushes mystery and allure. That duality extends to the
group's background. James Ardery and Joel Myers were living in
worlds far removed from music, both working day jobs that
neither of them enjoyed. Their personalities were different -
James was outspoken and gregarious, Joel introverted and
reserved. Their musical backgrounds were different: James grew
up pillaging his father's record collection, getting turned on to
Nirvana and Wu-Tang Clan by his older brother and attending
hardcore shows by pioneering bands like Fugazi at 12 years old.
Joel was formally trained, loving classical music but almost
completely oblivious to rock and pop. The fusion of their disparate
influences is what animates Lushes - the anarchy of punk and
hardcore colliding with the precision of jazz to create music that is
marvelously ordered while still feeling seconds away from
detonation. That tension pulses throughout What Am I Doing, the
group's warring influences making for music that feels brittle and
2. One Right Word
4. Warm Contagion
5. Dead Girls
7. Garden$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
REDD-SIN-7524xJohn Paul White
BeulahBeulah. It's a small, complicated word with a tangle of meanings.
It's the title of John Paul White's new album, his first in nearly a decade, a remarkably and assuredly diverse collection spanning plaintive folk balladry, swampy southern rock, lonesome campfire songs, and dark acoustic pop. Gothic and ambitious, with a rustic, lived-in sound, it's a meditation on love curdling into its opposite, on recrimination defining relationships, on hope finally filtering through doubt.
Beulah is also a White family nickname. "It's a term of endearment around our house," White explains, "like you would call someone 'Honey.' My dad used to call my little sister Beulah, and I call my daughter Beulah. It's something I've always been around."
Beulah is also something much loftier. For the poet and painter William Blake, Beulah was a place deep in the collective spiritual unconscious. "I won't pretend to be the smartest guy in the world," says White, "but I dig a lot of what he's written. Beulah was a place you could go in your dreams. You could go there in meditation, to relax and heal and center B photo credit: Allister Ann 119 west 57th street, penthouse north, new york, ny 10019 t 212.741.1000 www.sacksco.com SACKS A CO. N D yourself. It wasn't a place you could stay, but you came back to the world in a better state."
And perhaps the music on this album originated in that "pleasant lovely Shadow where no dispute can come." According to White, the songs came to him unbidden-and not entirely welcome. "When these songs started popping into my head, I had been home for a while and I was perfectly happy. I wasn't looking for songs. I didn't know whether any would pop back in my head again, and I was honestly okay with that. I'm a very happy father and husband, and I love where I live. I love working with artists for a label that I think is doing good work."
Far from the grind and glamour of Nashville-where he worked for years as a working songwriter before stepping into the spotlight himself-White settled in his hometown of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, a wellspring of gritty Southern rock and soul since the 1960s. Together with Alabama Shakes keyboard player Ben Tanner and Shoals native Will Trapp, he founded and runs Single Lock Records, a local indie label that has released records by some of the Yellowhammer State's finest, including Dylan LeBlanc, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, and legendary songwriter and keyboard player Donnie Fritts. The label is based in a small ranch house a stone's throw from White's own home, which would come in handy when those songs started invading his head.
"Honestly, I tried to avoid them, but then I realized the only way I was going to get rid of them was if I wrote them down. I got my phone out and I'd sing these little bits of melody, then put it away and move on. But eventually I got to a place where it was a roar in my head, and that pissed me off." Due to his experiences as a gun-for-hire in Nashville, White was reluctant to romanticize the creative process, to turn it into a spiritual pursuit. "Then one day I told my wife I think I'm going to go write a song. She was as surprised as I was. I went and wrote probably eight songs in three days. It was like turning on a faucet."
Most artists would kill for such a downpour, but White was wary of the consequences. He knew that writing songs would lead to recording them, which would result in releasing them, and that means touring and leaving home for weeks at a time. "As soon as I write a song, I start thinking what other people might think of it. I've talked to friends about this: What is it about us that makes us do that? Why can't I just sit on my back porch and sing these songs out into the ether? I don't have an answer for it yet, but I think it's just part of who I am. I need that reaction. I need to feel like I'm moving someone in a good way or in a bad way. I need to feel like there's a connection."
White threw himself into the project, no longer the reluctant songwriter but a craftsman determined to make the best album possible-to do these songs justice. He cut several songs at the renowned FAME Studios in his hometown, where Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, the Allmans, the Osmonds, Bobbie Gentry, Arthur Conley, and Clarence Carter recorded some of their most popular hits.
One product of those sessions is "What's So," which introduces itself by way of a fire-andbrimstone riff, as heavy as a guilty conscience-the kind of riff you wouldn't be surprised to hear on a Sabbath album. But White's vocals are gritty and soulful, a product of the Shoals, almost preacherly as he sings about earthly and eternal damnation: "Sell your damn soul or get 119 west 57th street, penthouse north, new york, ny 10019 t 212.741.1000 www.sacksco.com SACKS A CO. N D right with the man, keep treading water as long as you can," he exhorts the listener. "But before you do, you must understand that you don't get above your raisin'." It's the heaviest moment on the record, perhaps the darkest in White's career.
At the other end of the spectrum is "The Martyr," one of the catchiest tunes White has ever penned. The spryness of the melody imagines Elliott Smith wandering the banks of the Tennessee River, yet the song is shot through with a pervasive melancholy as White wrestles with his own demons. "Keep falling on your sword, sink down a little more," he sings over a dexterous acoustic guitar theme. This is not, however, a song about some unnamed person, but rather a pained self-diagnosis: "These are the wounds that I will not let heal, the ones that I deserve and seem so real." White knows he's playing the martyr, but he leaves the song hauntingly open-ended, as though he isn't sure what to do with this epiphany beyond putting it in a song.
The rest of Beulah was recorded in the Single Lock offices/studio near White's home. "I can be more relaxed about the process. We can all just sit there and talk about records or baseball without feeling like someone's standing over our shoulders. That's a big deal to me, not to feel pressured. And I'm only about twenty yards away from home, so I can walk over and throw a baseball with my kids or make dinner with my wife."
Some of the quieter-but no less intense-songs on Beulah were created in that environment, including the ominously erotic opener "Black Leaf" and the Southern gothic love song "Make You Cry." As he worked, a distinctive and intriguing aesthetic began to grow clearer and clearer, one based in austere arrangements and plaintive moods. These are songs with empty spaces in them, dark corners that could hold ghosts or worse. "There were certain moments when Ben and I would finish up a song, listen back to it, and think how in the world did we get here. But that's just what the songs ask for. These are the sounds in my head. This is the sound of me thinking and living and breathing and doing."
Once White had everything assembled and sequenced, it was time to give the album a title, to wrap everything up for the listener. Beulah stuck-not only because of family history or Blake, but because White realized that making music was his own trip to Beulah. "If you had to sum up what music is for most people in this world, it's that. It's that escape. It's that refuge. You go there and you come back and you use that to help you with your life. You always have that as a place to go."1. Black Leaf
2. What's So
3. The Once And Future Queen
4. Make You Cry
5. Fight For You
6. Hope I Die
7. I've Been Over This Before (Feat. The Secret Sisters)
8. The Martyr
9. Hate The Way You Love Me
10. I'll Get Even$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Beauty & Ruin"It's a song cycle. A narrative. It's nobody's story but my own I ran so
fast from my past that I caught up with myself. This album is
acknowledging that and dealing with every year getting a little tougher."
Bob Mould's new album Beauty & Ruin is a twelve-track journey of loss,
reflection, conciliation, and coming through the other side. It may very well
be the most epic emotional roller coaster ever pressed into 36 minutes.
Well into his fourth decade as a singer-songwriter, Mould is as relevant,
ferocious, and poignant as he has ever been. Much of Beauty & Ruin deals
with the passing of Mould's father in October 2012, Bob's struggle to come
to terms with it, himself, and his own identity and legacy, and repercussions
of all of the above on his ongoing relationships in the land of the living.
Beauty & Ruin is a challenging work of raw beauty-and may well be Bob
Mould's finest work since his 1989 solo debut, Workbook.
Bob Mould's journey as singer-songwriter, guitarist, author, DJ, and all-around
MVP began in 1979 with the formation of HÜsker DÜ. In 1988, Mould began
the first part of a solo career producing the aforementioned Workbook and the
heavy Black Sheets of Rain. In 1992, Bob gave the world Sugar, a reimagined
power trio that toured the globe and produced two albums and an EP: Copper
Blue, Beaster, and File Under: Easy Listening. From these releases came a cache
of songs-"Helpless," "Hoover Dam," "If I Can't Change Your Mind,"
"Your Favorite Thing"-that remain staples of Bob's live shows to this day.
In fall 2012, Bob gave the world Silver Age, his debut album for Merge
Records and the first to feature current bandmates Jason Narducy and Jon
Wurster. The subsequent touring covered four continents, ending in October
2013 in South America. Beauty & Ruin is in large part the sound of this band,
on the road relentlessly, congealing into the tightest unit to surround Bob
in his storied career. Two days after returning from South America, the trio
reconvened in Chicago to begin the recording of Beauty & Ruin. The
October 2013 session at Steve Albini's famed studio complex Electrical Audio
consisted of nine days of band tracking and five days of layering guitars. The
following month, Bob returned to Different Fur Studios in his hometown of
San Francisco to finish lyrics for six songs, add vocals, and mix the album.
Beauty & Ruin is a product of a survivor who refuses to give up, thrives
through his work, and subsequently embraces the many changes around and
within himself. Bob smartly declares the album as "yet another bonus round,
and I am very grateful."1. Low Season
2. Little Glass Pill
3. I Don't Know You Anymore
4. Kid With Crooked Face
5. Nemeses Are Laughing
6. The War
8. Hey Mr. Grey
9. Fire in the City
10. Tomorrow Morning
11. Let the Beauty Be
12. Fix It$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
American TunesNonesuch releases American Tunes, a new studio album by legendary New Orleans musician Allen Toussaint. Toussaint had just completed the album when he passed away in November of last year during a European tour. Recording took place at two sets of sessions with producer Joe Henry: solo piano at Toussaint's New Orleans home studio in 2013, and with the rhythm section of Jay Bellerose and David Piltch-joined by guests Bill Frisell, Charles Lloyd, Greg Leisz, Rhiannon Giddens, and Van Dyke Parks-in Los Angeles in October 2015. The album comprises solo performances of Professor Longhair tunes and band arrangements of songs by Toussaint, Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Paul Simon, and others.
Allen Toussaint's work as composer, producer, arranger, and performer, especially in the 1960s and '70s, helped shape the sound of R&B, soul, and funk as we know it today. He collaborated memorably with artists ranging from Lee Dorsey and Ernie K. Doe to the Pointer Sisters and Labelle, from the Meters and Dr. John to the Band and Paul McCartney. The New York Times recently said, In Mr. Toussaint's long career as songwriter, arranger and producer he has honed a piano style that's supportive and allusive; a little trill or tremolo sums up all the splashy joys of New Orleans patriarchs like Professor Longhair and James Booker, and a syncopated chord under right-hand octaves summons gospel. Mr. Toussaint has the two-fisted, rippling vocabulary of the city's piano legacy, but he uses it in dapper ways.
Toussaint's children, Alison Toussaint-LeBeaux and Clarence Reginald Toussaint, who have long served as their father's managers, said of the American Tunes album, Our father approached this project with great care and understanding of the songs selected and paid true homage to Professor Longhair, his musical hero. He wanted to bring as much of the Toussaint touch as he could to these wonderful classics.
Nonesuch previously released The Bright Mississippi in 2009. Also produced by Henry, the record includes songs by jazz greats such as Sidney Bechet, Jelly Roll Morton, Django Reinhardt, Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington, and Billy Strayhorn. The album received tremendous critical praise, with the Boston Globe saying it couldn't sound more like New Orleans. (Toussaint) revisits jazz classics and takes them for a stroll through Preservation Hall, imbuing his own funky brand of pop-song charisma. The results are coolly sophisticated, an unfussy, mostly instrumental set of slink-and-slide joints shot through with a harmonic imagination that turns even a traditional hymn into an after-hours swing Toussaint's musical soul guides all, making the classics sound like his own.
That project indirectly grew from Toussaint's contributions to Our New Orleans, the benefit album that Nonesuch released in fall 2005 to aid hurricane victims in the wake of the Katrina disaster. That collection opens with a version of Yes We Can Can, the Toussaint song the Pointer Sisters made famous, newly recorded with producer Joe Henry, and it included a solo piano piece, Tipitina and Me, co-written by Toussaint in tribute to Professor Longhair.
Joe Henry had first worked with Toussaint when he invited the pianist to join the sessions for I Believe to My Soul, a studio convocation of mature R&B stars. Henry subsequently acted as producer on Toussaint's post-Katrina collaboration with Elvis Costello, The River in Reverse. He describes the most recent sessions: I have been working with Allen Toussaint-under his spell and subject to his influence-for a full decade now. He was a quiet radical, musically-speaking, and a prince of great humility.LP 1
1. Delores' Boyfriend
2. Viper's Drag
3. Confessin' (That I Love You)
4. Mardi Gras In New Orleans
5. Lotus Blossom
6. Waltz For Debby
7. Big Chief
8. Rocks In My Bed
9. Danza, Op. 33
10. Hey Little Girl
2. Come Sunday
3. Southern Nights
4. American Tune
5. Her Mind Is Gone
6. Moon River
7. Bald Head$26.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Wildness (Pre-Order)Snow Patrol is set to return with Wildness, their first album in seven years, which finds the band searching for clarity, connection, and meaning, while staying true to the melodic songwriting prowess that brought them to prominence. Wildness taps into something raw and primitive, and lead-singer and songwriter Gary Lightbody says of the album: "There are many types of wildness, but I think it can be distilled into two: the wildness of the modern age, all it's confusion, illogic and alienation and a more ancient wildness. Something primal, alive and beautiful that speaks to our true connectivity, our passion, our love, our communion with nature and each other. This is the kind of wildness the album is centered around. The loss of it. Trying to reconnect with it. To remember it."
Since their 1998 debut, Songs for Polarbears, Snow Patrol have racked up an impressive number of critical and commercial accolades, including 15 million global album sales, 1+ billion global track streams, 5 UK Platinum Albums, and are Grammy and Mercury Music Prize nominated. After their Fallen Empires tour ended in 2012, band members -which also include multi-instrumentalist Johnny McDaid, guitarist Nathan Connolly, bassist Paul Wilson, and drummer Jonny Quinn - decided to take a step back from the band, and focus on their own projects. Gary Lightbody continued his work with his Tired Pony side project with members of Belle and Sebastian, R.E.M, Reindeer Section and Fresh Young Fellows and moved to Los Angeles to begin writing songs for movies (including "This Is How You Walk On" for 2017's Gifted), and doing a number of high-profile co-writes with Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift and One Direction. Taking this extended break from Snow Patrol proved to be a source of inspiration, and writing songs that were not pulled directly from his own psyche helped heal what Lightbody considered to be not so much writer's block as life block.
It's in this search for clarity and connection that these songs were written and refined. "I think it's the first record I've ever written that I haven't just asked a bunch of questions. I actually tried to figure out why I was unhappy, why I feel out of place, why I'm afraid," says Lightbody. "There's nothing really to protect myself for-- it's all in the album. I want to remember." This impulse was partially inspired by Lightbody's father, who is suffering from dementia. "I think the album is defined by memory in a lot of ways," says Lightbody, "including my father's loss of memory."
The songs are surefooted, displaying a newfound sense of self and purpose, and the rest of the band members rose magnificently to the occasion. The album is produced once more by the great Jacknife Lee, Snow Patrol's longtime producer and collaborator. "Life on Earth" opens the album with its mission statement, "this is something else, this is something else." "Heal Me" feels like an ancient hymn: "Finally, after way too many years of smashing my body to bits with booze, I met someone who helped me find my way back to health and clarity, says Lightbody. "This song is about her, that journey and is dedicated to her." "Empress," written for Lightbody's goddaughters, is fierce and heartfelt, with runaway drums and keen words of wisdom. "What If This Is All The Love You Ever Get?" is a heartstring-puller, posing the question nobody wants to ask. The last track, "Life and Death," is a rumination, and a human story of love and forgiveness- mostly self-forgiveness for Lightbody, demonstrating that perhaps everyone ought to take this long between albums to reflect long and hard before they write.
"Seamus Heaney, my favorite poet of all time, said at 71 that he was only discovering what some of his poetry means, and this is coming from a Nobel Prize-winning poet. It's a great testament to inspiration," says Lightbody. "Sometimes it takes you five years to write the thing. Like now. And you know for sure when you finish an album like that, where you've poured over every detail and put every atom of yourself into it, everything makes sense and I bet you I'm never not proud of this record."1. Life On Earth
2. Don't Give In
3. Heal Me
5. A Dark Switch
6. What If This Is All The Love You Ever Get?
7. A Youth Written In Fire
9. Wild Horses
10. Life And Death$29.99Vinyl LP - Sealed PRE-ORDER Buy Now
Onward And SidewaysCleveland born, songwriter/performer Joshua Radin has earned a loyal following for his wistful meditations and hit songs. His rootsy-pop track, "I'd Rather Be With You" from Simple Times topped the iTunes album chart at #1 and hit 'top 10' in ten different countries. The hushed, emotionally raw "Winter" and Closer from his 2006 album, We Were Here received a four-star review in Rolling Stone Magazine. Radin's compositions have a proven track record having been sound-tracked on shows like Grey's Anatomy, American Idol and House. His songs have been used more than 100 times in various films and television shows making him a 'behind the scenes' artist whose music is heard most everywhere.
In 2008, Ellen DeGeneres asked Joshua to perform at her wedding. Radin said, "I played six of my songs and Ellen and Portia just sat right in front of me looking at each other, crying, and looking at me. I actually teared up a little-that's never happened to me before."
Live performances have always been Radin's lifeblood. After stints as a screenwriter in New York and as an inner-city art teacher in Chicago, he moved to Southern California to test the waters as a musician. "More than drawing, I taught those kids in Chicago a general perspective of the world-looking at something and not being overwhelmed. And it's how I've always looked at life," he says. "I've always wanted to wake up every day and have the opportunity to be creative, to express what's going on in my head and heart, and to be able to connect with the world in that way. I may have started playing music later in life than my peers, but I love living with the idea that it's never too late."
When his father gave him a guitar on a whim for his birthday, Radin taught himself how to play. Soon after, in 2004, he wrote his first song, "Winter," about a fractured relationship with his longtime girlfriend. The song so moved his college friend Zach Braff, that the actor passed it along to a producer on his TV show, Scrubs. Three weeks later, it was played on the show. Buzz from the Scrubs show was fast and furious, crashing the NBC site and winning Radin thousands of new fans. Afterward, he worked hard to build a grassroots movement on social-media sites and continued to build his fan base.
For various albums, Radin has recruited 'dream teams' of musicians to enhance his sounds. Among them: pianist Benmont Tench (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers), drummer Jim Keltner (Bob Dylan, John Lennon), and string arranger Jimmie Haskell (Simon and Garfunkel). Joshua has sold over two and a half million singles and over 700,000 full-length albums.
In 2015, Radin releases his sixth studio album, "Onward and Sideways." His first single, "Beautiful Day" features a duet with American, singer songwriter Sheryl Crow.1. We'll Keep Running Forever
3. Beautiful Day (feat. Sheryl Crow)
5. In Your Hands
6. Let Our Sun Shine Down
7. Another Beginning
8. Blow Away
9. Away We Go
10. Worlds Apart
11. One and Only
12. Old Friend
13. My Baby$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Boys Don't Cry
Often obscure selections by marginal writers...it's unbelievable how believable she sounds. It really does sound like another season in her soul Album of the Week -Observer
Songs worth learning especially when sung as gorgeously as this 4/5 - Independent On Sunday
A gorgeous album -The Times
Rumer was born and spent the very early years of her life in Pakistan. Her father's engineering job led her along with six other siblings to Darbela Dam, 30 miles northwest of Islamabad. Previously, the job had taken them to the Western Australian outback and Tasmania as well as to South Africa. . Her brother Rob gave Rumer her first guitar which she taught herself to play, and years later, she wrote all the songs on her debut album, Seasons of My Soul.
Life changed when the family returned to the UK and settled in the New Forest. Her parents having separated, Rumer was educated in Carlisle with her Dad, and spent summers in the New Forest. She left school at 16, and began to drift; studying at Art College in Devon and then joining a fledgling indie rock band, La Honda. Plays from Radio 1 followed, as did early support from NME.
Her mother died in 2003, and Rumer hit rock bottom. The lyrics of songs like 'Healer' document Rumer's journey through grief. On the dole and back in London, Rumer took action. She travelled to a stately home in the countryside, where she essentially lived as part of a commune, owned by a charismatic, philanthropic baronet.
Rumer's luck changed when she met award-winning TV and musical composer Steve Brown (It's A Wonderful Life, Spend, Spend Spend) at the Cobden Club in Kensal Rise. Rumer and Steven worked together and produced the first single 'Slow'. Having been signed to ATC Management, all corners of the industry quickly began angling for her signature. Then, in March, her hard work paid off, and Rumer finally signed to Atlantic Records. She released Seasons of My Soul, her self-penned debut album in 2010.1. P.F. Sloan
2. Travelin' Boy
3. Sara Smile
4. Be Nice To Me
5. The Same Old Tears On A New Background
7. Welcome Back
8. Flyin' Shoes
9. Just For A Moment
10. It Could Be The First Day
11. Brave Awakening
12. A Man Needs A Maid$24.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Like A RoseAshley Monroe, a member of the critically acclaimed trio Pistol Annies, presents her first Warner Nashville solo album, Like A Rose. Most folks, as soon as they hear Ashley Monroe, instantly recognize one thing: she's the real deal. Her songs resonate so profoundly because they reflect the experiences of an artist who, although she is just 26, has already seen both the best and worst that life has to offer.
Like a Rose has been a long time coming. Monroe has been creating music for more than half of her life-attracting along the way kudos from such music world giants as Dolly Parton, Guy Clark, Vince Gill and Jack White. Her new, full-length album release serves both to fill in the back-story and impart to us who she is today. At times her songs are dead serious, at others utterly hilarious, but always Monroe is an original with a compelling story to share.
Monroe spent her childhood in Knoxville, Tennessee, where she immersed herself in all varieties of music ranging from country-she's not-too-distantly related to members of the legendary Carter Family-to rock, pop, rap and even opera. When she was 11, Monroe won a talent contest singing "I Want To Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart" and two years later her father gave Ashley her first guitar. She developed a passion for writing songs, discovering that she could easily communicate her thoughts and sentiments through a six-string and her dynamic, exceptional voice.
One of the most rewarding artistic adventures for Ashley to date has been the Pistol Annies, a trio she co-formed in 2011 with her friend Miranda Lambert, whose chart-topping hit "Heart Like Mine" Ashley co-penned, and newcomer Angaleena Presley. Pistol Annies have provided Monroe with yet another outlet for her music. Their album, Hell on Heels, garnered rave reviews. The All Music Guide called the trio "a remarkably democratic supergroup" while veteran music critic Robert Christgau gave the album an A grade, citing its "expertly executed tunes."
Despite her list of previous accomplishments, everything she's done so far feels like it's been pointing the way toward Like a Rose. With songs that run the gamut from feel-good to controversial to contemplative, the album, produced by country music titan Vince Gill, offers the full range of Ashley Monroe's songwriting and performing skills. To maintain the honesty of Ashley's songs, Gill and the singer chose to record the album the way most of the greatest albums ever were made: sans gimmickry. "We just got the band in a circle and started playing the songs," Ashley says, "and once we felt like we had a feel for it, I'd do my vocal live-I never went back in to do a second vocal. Everyone put everything we had into the songs. There was a buzz in the room. We all had fun-it felt like a big old family, the way records used to be made."
Some of the songs were newly written for the album; others date back several years and felt right to revisit. The semi-autobiographical title track, one of the uncontestable highlights of the set, was co-written about six years ago with another totem of the American song-crafting community, Texan legend Guy Clark.
One song that is bound to raise some eyebrows refers to the same favored flower of the title tune, but in a much different sense: "Weed Instead of Roses" tells of a woman's desire to get a gift she actually desires from her beau, not just something that smells good.
"You Got Me" was co-written by Monroe and Karen Fairchild. Says Ashley, "It's about an addiction to something-one thing or another, whether you're stuck in a bad relationship or alcohol or whatever it is-and you try to hide it and fight it but you're kind of saying, 'Alright, you got me.'
On a more light-hearted note is "Monroe Suede," based on "a slick character that tries to get away all the time." Another is the self-explanatory "You Ain't Dolly (And You Ain't Porter)," a duet featuring Lambert's husband, CMA Entertainer of the Year Blake Shelton. "Morning After" confronts that uneasy feeling that often follows a too-good time and "She's Driving Me Out Of Your Mind," written with Jon Randall Stewart, comes straight from one of Ashley's many journals. "Two Weeks Late" was suggested by singer-songwriter Shane McAnally, who co-wrote it with Monroe. "He came in and said, 'I heard this phrase at the ATM: I'm a dollar short and two weeks late.' That was another one that just fell out. I grabbed the guitar and we started writing it up.
"Used," another standout, is an update of a song that appeared on Monroe's Satisfied album. "It came to me when I was about 17 and my manager at the time had just bought me this old 1950s Gibson guitar," she says. It came into my mind that things are worth more used, and I thought about my mom, who had lost my dad when she was 38. I was thinking, she had two kids, she's been through a lot, and, bless her heart, it's all gonna be worth it. Vince and I worked up this new version, which made it fresh for me."
And fresh it all is. Like a Rose avoids the trappings of too much contemporary music by sticking to the basics: memorable songs, incredible musicians, a superb voice, all of it captured honestly and without frills. As the saying goes, sometimes we need to stop and smell the roses. Take a whiff of Like a Rose and you'll find it smells pretty darn sweet.1. Like A Rose
2. Two Weeks Late
4. Weed Instead of Roses
5. You Got Me
6. The Morning After
7. Monroe Suede
8. She's Driving Me Out Of Your Mind
9. You Ain't Dolly (And You Ain't Porter) ft. Blake Shelton$15.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now