While I had a couple minutes, I thought I’d share some recent things that came across my screen.
Congratulations are in order for to this year’s recipients of the Folk Alliance’s Elaine Weissman Lifetime Achievement Awards: Ramblin’ Jack Elliott (Living) Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee (Legacy) and The English Folk Dance and Song Society (Organization/Academic). The award ceremony will happen on Feb. 17 at the start of the Folk Alliance’s conference in Kansas City.
The New Year is bringing some interesting new albums. Bob Mould has a new album Patch The Sky that has a March 25 release date, while M. Ward’s eight solo disc More Rain as a March 4 release on Merge (will we need more rain come March?). Jason Collett, from Toronto’s Broken Social Scene scene, is previewing a cut from his upcoming Song And Dance Man CD (2/5 Arts & Crafts), which is produced by Afie Jurvenen of Bahamas. “Forever Young Is Getting Old” has a fun, ‘70s-style groove that makes it a real joy for your ears. Listen here:
Pete Yorn has announced that his first CD in 6 years, Arranging Time has a March 11 release date. On Feb. 19, Anti- Records will put out a new Glen Hansard EP A Season On The Line that is quick follow up to his Grammy-nom’d Didn’t He Ramble. It includes new versions of “Didn’t He Ramble” and “Way Back in the Way Back When” and Ramble outtakes: “Let Me In” and “Return.” You can listen to “Didn’t He Ramble” here:
Lucinda Williams keeps her impressive creative streak going with The Ghosts of Highway 20 (2/5, Highway 20/Thirty Tigers). It’s said to find her stretching out musically with her own evocative originals complimented by renditions of Springsteen’s “Factory” and “House of Earth,” a tune created from some long-lost Woody Guthrie lyrics. Backing her will be her road band Buick 6 along with Greg Leisz (who co-produced with Williams and Tom Overby) and guitarist Bill Frisell.
Check out “If My Love Could Kill,” a classic Williams song, here: http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2016/01/13/lucinda-williams-if-my-love-could-kill/
Carrie Rodriguez has her first album in a couple years – which is good news to my ears. Coming Feb. 19, Lola is something of a tri-lingual effort with songs that she wrote in English, Spanish and “Spanglish.” Guesting on this album are Viktor Krauss, Raul Malo and Frisell, although the star is Rodriguez and her lovely voice. Frisell, by the way, has his own exciting project. When You Wish Upon A Star (1/29, OKeh Records) where the extraordinary guitarist goes re-interpreting classic music from To Kill A Mockingbird, Psycho, Once Upon A Time In The West and The Godfather as well as iconic songs “You Only Live Twice,” “The Shadow Of Your Smile,” “Moon River” and “When You Wish Upon A Star.”
In advance of their first New West CD Keep It Together (due Feb. 25), Lily and Madeleine have shared a new video, which makes me think the album should be a good one.
Esperanza Spalding’s new album Emily’s D+Evolution (March 4/Concord) is the imaginative musical outing you’d expect from this Grammy winner. She co-produced it with Tony Visconti, who also produced the final David Bowie album.
Sixty-something soul band Charles Bradley is still going strong and his new album Changes (April 1, Dunham Records/Daptone) is one I’m looking forward to. The title comes not from the Bowie hit but a Black Sabbath tune that Bradley makes his own. Alligator Records will put a much-welcomed spotlight on the music of gospel/blues pioneer Blind Willie Johnson with a tribute album entitled God Don’t Never Change: The Songs Of Blind Willie Johnson due on Feb. 26. Among the performers tackling Johnson’s songs are Tom Waits, Lucinda Williams, Cowboy Junkies, Maria McKee, Rickie Lee Jones, Blind Boys of Alabama and Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi.
On the reissue front, Real Gone Music has some noteworthy archival titles on the way in March. While I always associate Bobby Darin with either his teen idol period or his suave Vegas persona, he also spent his last years before his untimely death in 1973 on Motown Records. The 2-CD Another Song On My Mind gathers his Motown singles, his one album and other material together.
Mickey Gilley might have been overshadowed by his cousins – Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Swaggart – but he has had a long country music career, which you can explore on the 41-track The Definitive Hits Collection. Dave Mason, somewhat similarly, never made it as big as his Traffic cohort Steve Winwood but he is not with his own successes. The two-CD set The Columbia Years—The Definitive Anthology cherry-picks 30 tunes from his Columbia albums including “We Just Disagree,” “Let It Go, Let It Flow” and live takes on “Feelin’ Alright” and “Only You Know and I Know.”
Personally, the Real Gone CD I am most looking forward to is the Lords of The New Church’s The Complete I.R.S. Albums Collection. This 3-CD set packages up the 3 albums that the original lineup recorded for I.R.S. records. And do you remember their original lineup? It was a real punk rock supergroup (a rare one that stayed together for more than a week) with the Dead Boys singer Stiv Bators, the Damned guitarist Brian James, Sham 69 bassist Dave Tregugna and Barracudas drummer Nick Turner. I still remember seeing them play a WMMS Coffeebreak Concert in 1982 (right? Wasn’t that it?).
While not an archival album, it is certainly a name from the past. Javier Escovedo, who founded the punk band The Zeros and Austin’s True Believers (with his brother Alejandro) has put out just his second solo album Kicked Out of Eden (Saustex Media) which is a kick-ass set of garage-y rock ‘n’ roll.
The Damnwells’ frontman Alex Dezen plans to do a special live stream event to commemorate his self-titled solo debut, an personal set of tunes that brings to mind Peter Himmelman. He’ll be going to play his entire catalog of songs at various Nashville venues on Feb. 11th. That should be over 110 songs and, by Alex’s estimation, 8-9 hours of music making. More details at www.alexdezen.com.
And finally, Fathom Events, Warner Bros. Records and AARP have teamed up for a cool cinematic double-bill of Neil Young movies. On Feb. 29, Young’s Human Highway and Rust Never Sleeps will be shown in select theaters, and there will be an exclusive live Q&A with Cameron Crowe interviewing Young and some movie castmembers like Gerald V. Casale of Devo and Russ Tamblyn. In the Southern California area, participating cinema will include the AMC Burbank 16, the Regal at LA Live, the CityWalk Stadium 19, Cinemark’s North Hollywood 8 and the Cinemark 18 over in the Howard Hughes center. Learn more at www.fathomevents.com