Current Album Reviews
Our take on some of the latest material from a variety of artists.
Otis Redding - Lonely & Blue - The Deepest Soul (Volt / Concord) review Finally, an Otis Redding album worthy of his legend
Otis Redding is one of the greatest soul singers of all time. Yet, where is the proof? Almost every other great soul artist has at least one classic album that you can point to. Think Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On. Think James Browns’ Live at the Apollo. Think Ray Charles’ Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music. Think Sam Cooke’s Night Beat. The problem is, Redding passed away before he could make that quintessential record.
Blue Cactus Choir - ...Once in a Bluegrass Moon (Porgy) review A sprawling, yet warm and inviting album that transports you to many different places - some exotic, some comical, but all extremely enjoyable
Blue Cactus Choir is a collaboration between two Southern California songwriters - Marty Atkinson and Katy Boyd, each bringing their own flavor to this new project. Their debut album is called ...Once in a Bluegrass Moon, an earthy blend of country, folk, and 70’s soft rock, complete with impeccable harmonies and excellent musicianship. But, what really elevates these songs is the songwriting.
Shelby Lynne - Revelation Road - Deluxe Edition (Everso) review
Typically, by the time an artist writes, records, and then begins to promote an album, they’re already well on their way to their next project. But, Revelation Road isn’t a typical record for Shelby Lynne: it’s a deeply personal affair, where she tackled many of her demons of the past head on. We compared it to both John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band and McCartney’s debut in our initial review back in 2011 - Lennon in its catharsis, McCartney in its stone-cold individuality - she played all the instruments herself.
Fleetwood Mac - Rumours - 35th anniversary Deluxe Edition (Warner Bros) review A closer look inside one of the biggest-selling albums of all-time.
We love conflict. It’s why reality TV shows are everywhere now. Sure, the music on the original Rumours album is great - but what struck a nerve with the public in 1977, and continues today, was the story behind the music - that the two couples within the band were breaking up, yet the band stayed together. The three songwriters were putting down on paper what was actually happening between them. These aren’t just songs, they’re windows into their crumbling relationships.
Juliet & the Lonesome Romeos - No Regrets (Tree O Records) review On the front cover of her band’s debut album, No Regrets (preview on amazon), Juliet Simmons Dinallo is leaning against a vintage gasoline pump, clad in a cowboy hat and denim jacket - signals of the no-frills rock & country blend that lies inside. And, that’s probably the most satisfying thing about the record - it straddles the line between the two genres, leaning one way or another, depending on what the song needs.
Jimi Hendrix - People, Hell & Angels (Experience Hendrix / Sony) review The fact that Hendrix sounds fresh today, just shows how far ahead of his time he was back then.
People, Hell & Angels (view this album on amazon.com) is an entire album of unreleased Jimi Hendrix music. I know what you’re thinking - “this must be bottom of the barrel stuff, right”? Unbelievably, the answer is no. In fact, most of what’s included here is revelatory and can stand proudly up against his finest work. There have been so many other Hendrix archival releases, so how can this be?
Nine Times Blue - Falling Slowly (Renegade / City Hall) review Finally...some melody!
The Power Pop genre has always baffled me. How can music that is so “radio friendly” be ignored by radio? Big Star, Tommy Keene, and Matthew Sweet should have scored as many hits as Elton John by now. Well, maybe in an alternate universe, right? The Atlanta-based band Nine Times Blue adds a worthy addition to this underrappreciated genre with the release of Falling Slowly (view album on amazon).
Billy Joel - She’s Got a Way - Love Songs (Columbia / Sony Legacy) review New collection explores the singer’s lesser-known romantic side
Judging from the title, you’d think She’s Got a Way - Love Songs was just another “best of,” rehashing the same old Billy Joel tracks as before. There’s just one problem - Joel’s hits weren’t usually of the romantic variety (for starters, his two #1’s were “It’s Still Rock n’ Roll” and “We Didn’t Start the Fire”). True, the Rhodes piano-infused ballad “Just the Way You Are” was the song that put him on the map, climbing to #3 in 1977 and garnering a Grammy for Song of the Year. That song is here. So is “She’s Got a Way” and “An Innocent Man.” But those hits share the spotlight with some of Joel’s more underrappreciated work, making this an extremely enjoyable listen.
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