Release Day Picks: June 14th New Album Highlights
Each week Release Day Picks profiles new LPs and EPs Team JamBase will be checking out on release day Friday. This week we highlight new albums by Bruce Springsteen, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Lettuce, Lukas Nelson & Promise of The Real and Calexico & Iron & Wine. Read on for more insight into the records we have all queued up to spin.
Bruce Springsteen – Western Stars
The Scoop: Seven years after the release of Wrecking Ball, Bruce Springsteen has finally put out a new studio album featuring completely original material. Western Stars, available via Columbia, contains 13 songs The Boss has never played live and only includes cameos from two current members of the E Street Band. Springsteen tapped longtime collaborator Ron Aniello to produce the LP, which has been in the works since well before his Broadway run began in 2017. The New Jersey native referred to his 19th studio album as “a return to my solo recordings featuring character-driven songs and sweeping, cinematic orchestral arrangements.” Contributors include Aniello, David Sancious, Soozie Tyrell and Charlie Giordano.
Chris Robinson Brotherhood – Servants Of The Sun
The Scoop: “I definitely wanted this record, when we made it last summer, to be more uptempo. I wanted a record where we play every one of the songs live,” Chris Robinson recently told JamBase. “This record contains a lot of stuff: feelings, textures, sounds, lyrics … it’s about love and going through an intense divorce [in 2018], and having a new love in my life, and also about the band going through its struggles last year.” The Chris Robinson Brotherhood recorded their new studio album, Servants Of The Sun, prior to the announcement of keyboardist Adam MacDougall’s departure, which also included news of the band’s decision to go on hiatus later this year. The album, which follows 2017’s Barefoot In The Head, contains 10 new CRB originals recorded by Robinson, MacDougall, guitarist Neal Casal, bassist Jeff Hill and drummer Tony Leone.
Lettuce – Elevate
The Scoop: Twenty-five years into their career, funk stalwarts Lettuce are experiencing a renaissance. The band entered the studio with famed engineer Russ Elevado (D’Angelo, The Roots) and came away with enough songs for multiple albums. Lettuce settled on 11 for Elevate, their sixth studio album and first of mainly original material in three years. The Lettuce Records release features nine originals and a pair of covers. One of the covers is a take on Tears For Fears’ “Everybody Wants To Rule The World,” a tune that has been a staple of their live performances for years. “We feel it’s time to put aside our differences, let go of our egos and embrace our society with love, acceptance and a collective perseverance. We know together we can make it, we know that well, so this song is a reminder to live together in harmony,” bassist Erick “Jesus” Coomes said of “Everybody Wants To Rule The World.”
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real – Turn Off The News (Build A Garden)
The Scoop: Frontman, guitarist and primary songwriter Lukas Nelson and his Promise Of The Real band mates, multi-instrumentalist Logan Metz, bassist Corey McCormick, percussionist Tato Melgar and drummer Anthony LoGerfo, recorded Turn Off The News (Build A Garden) at Shangri-La in Malibu and the Village Studios in West Los Angeles. The band co-produced the follow-up to their 2017 self-titled LP with John Alagia, who also assisted on the previous album. Guests who appear on Turn Off The News include frequent Nelson + POTR collaborator Neil Young, as well as Lukas’ father Willie Nelson and brother Micah-Nelson, along with Margo Price, Sheryl Crow, Kesha, Shooter Jennings, Lucius, Randy Houser, Madison Ryann Ward and . “We wanted these songs to be fun and upbeat, but we also wanted to have something to say,” Lukas Nelson stated. “Rock ‘n’ roll began as a countercultural movement, so in the true spirit of rock & roll, we’re trying to encourage a lifestyle where people can be active in their local communities, rather than glued to a device. We listen to so many artists — The Byrds, Tom Petty, Al Green, Neil Young, Little Feat, J.J. Cale — and this album carries forth an ideal that they all represented, the idea of turning off the news and doing something constructive. It’s about how you can live your life with your heart leading the way.”
Iron & Wine and Calexico – Years To Burn
The Scoop: Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam and Calexico’s Joey Burns and John Convertino issued the collaborative EP, In The Reins, in 2005. The musicians came together once again to create the full-length follow-up, Years To Burn, with producer Matt Ross-Spang at Nashville’s Sound Emporium. “This project had to find the right time,” Covertino stated. “We’re all different people than we were in 2004, and music helps to bridge some of the gaps. For all the things going on in our world and in each of our lives, this connection, this friendship, this love that we have—this album is a vehicle for that bond. It’s a chance to see where we’re at, take stock and be there for our friends.” Calexico trumpeter Jacob Valenzuela and pedal steel guitarist Paul Niehaus also contributed to the album, as did Beam cohorts, pianist Rob Burger and bassist Sebastian Steinberg. “Life is hard. Awesome. And scary as shit. But it can lift you up if you let it,” said Beam. “These are the things Joey and I write about now. And the title can encapsulate a lot of things. ‘Years to Burn’ could mean you’re cocky, you’ve got it made. Or, our life is ours to burn, to be inspired. Or you’re burned by life, brutalized. It’s an ambiguous title, because life is complicated. Let’s not talk like teenagers about love, desire, pain, ‘cause we’re not teenagers. And that’s not a bad thing.”
Compiled by Scott Bernstein and Andy Kahn.