Release Day Picks: June 21st New Album Highlights

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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 The Raconteurs, Willie Nelson, Fruit Bats and a tribute to Harry Nilsson. Read on for more insight into the records we have all queued up to spin.


The Raconteurs – Help Us Stranger

The Scoop: After 11 years, The Raconteurs unveiled the follow-up to 2008’s Consolers Of The Lonely. The band featuring Jack White, Brendan Benson, Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler put out Help Us Stranger through White’s Third Man Records imprint. The LP contains 11 originals and a cover of Donovan’s “Hey Gyp (Dig The Slowness).” Recorded at Third Man Studio in Nashville, the quartet produced the album themselves with help from engineer Joshua V. Smith. Dean Fertita, Lillie Mae Rische and Scarlett Rische each appear on Help Us Stranger. “It was just like we say, just kind of like picking up where we left off, only I think maybe wiser in many ways this time around,” White said of reuniting the band during a chat with Zane Lowe.


Willie Nelson – Ride Me Back Home

The Scoop: Willie Nelson completes a “mortality trilogy” that started with God’s Problem Child in 2017 and continued with Last Man Standing in 2018 with the release of Ride Me Back Home. The 11-track Legacy Recordings LP once again finds the legendary musician tapping Buddy Cannon to produce and co-write some of the songs. Nelson also recorded a handful of covers including Billy Joel’s “Just The Way You Are” and Guy Clark’s “My Favorite Picture Of You.” Willie’s sons Lukas Nelson and Micah Nelson back their dad on Mac Davis’ “It’s Hard To Be Humble.” Additionally, Willie gave his old gem “Stay Away From Lonely Places” an updated take. “I’m the biggest Willie Nelson fan there is, and I thought I knew every song that he ever did. But I had never heard that song. It sounded totally new to me,” said Buddy Cannon of the tune from 1972’s The Words Don’t Fit The Picture. “He’s a born troubadour. It’s the greatness: That early genius that was him and his songs is still there.”


Fruit Bats – Gold Past Life

The Scoop: When Fruit Bats (Eric D. Johnson) announced Gold Past Life, the album was described as “both an end and a beginning” and the completion of a trilogy of records that includes 2014’s EDJ and 2016’s Absolute Loser. The “end” was described as closing the “years of loss, displacement, and the persistent, low-level anxiety of the current political climate” and the album that “were written in the wake of friends who left these earthly confines and families that could have been.” The “beginning” was described as “journeys that await after making it through troubled times.” Produced by Thom Monahan, the 11-track Gold Past Life features Johnson joined by Neal Casal, Meg Duffy, Greta Morgan, Trevor Beld Jimenez and Tim Ramsey. “Fruit Bats makes existential make-out music,” Johnson stated. “But you’re also welcome to dive into it deeper if you want. Good pop music should be sublime like that.”


Various Artists – This Is The Town: A Tribute To Nilsson, Vol. 2

The Scoop: The Royal Potato Family record label is back with a second album of musicians covering the late singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson. The follow-up to 2014’s first installment, This Is The Town: A Tribute To Nilsson, Vol. 2, features recordings of classic Nilsson songs by Cheap Trick, Mikaela Davis, Martha Wainwright, Lauren Ruth Ward, Adam Matta, Nina Violet, Belle-Skinner, Ben Fields and others. The new 14-track tribute LP was again produced by Kenny Siegal who recorded the covers at Old Soul Studios in Catskill, New York.


Compiled by Scott Bernstein and Andy Kahn.