Don’t Miss New Albums Out Today From André 3000, Dolly Parton, Kurt Vile, Luther Dickinson & More
Big Something, Squeaky Feet, John Medeski, Bob Dylan and Frank Zappa also have new releases out today, Friday, November 17.
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 André 3000, Dolly Parton, Kurt Vile, Luther Dickinson, Big Something, Squeaky Feet, John Medeski, Bob Dylan and Frank Zappa. Read on for more insight into the records we have ready to spin.
André 3000 – New Blue Sun
Outkast co-founder André 3000 released his debut solo album, New Blue Sun, today through Epic Records. Announced days ago, the all-instrumental release, his first full-length in 17 years, is the result of André “3000” Benjamin’s 20-year interest in wind instruments. Inspired by John Coltrane to start playing clarinet, Benjamin isolates “She Lives In My Lap” from 2003’s Speakerboxx/The Love Below as his entry point to wind instruments, which grew into his focus on the flute. Influenced by new age, ambient and jazz musicians like Laraaji, Brian Eno, Alice Coltrane, Steve Reich and Pharoah Sanders, New Blue Sun is a dramatic departure from Benjamin’s previous work and consists of eight elongated tracks with equally lengthy titles to match. An example is the 12-minute opening track, “I Swear, I Really Wanted to Make a Rap Album But This Is Literally the Way the Wind Blew Me This Time.” New Blue Sun was co-produced by Benjamin and multi-instrumentalist Carlos Niño, who played bells, chimes, cymbals, drums, gongs, plants and percussion. Others contributing to the album were Nate Mercereau, Surya Botofasina, Deantoni Parks, Diego Gaeta, Matthewdavid, V.C.R, Diego Gaeta, Jesse Peterson and Mia Doi Todd. Benjamin played several wind instruments, including the Maya flute, a digital wind instrument, as well as others built of wood and bamboo.
“I’ve been interested in winds for a long time, so it was just a natural progression for me to go into flutes,” André 3000 stated. “I just like messing with instruments and I gravitated mostly toward wind. What people will call New Age-y or spiritual-ish, people consider it heavy. And I think, because I’m coming from rap and I knew a different audience, different eyes would be following me and looking at it. So I wanted to make sure that what I contribute to this world brings a certain lightness or humanness.”
Dolly Parton – Rockstar
Recent Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee and legendary country star Dolly Parton issued her first “rock album,” Rockstar, via Butterfly Records. Parton recruited an all-star roster of rock royalty and contemporary artists to contribute to the 30-song collection including Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, Sting, Stevie Nicks, Steve Perry, Miley Cyrus and Warren Haynes. Rockstar combines nine original songs and 21 rock covers such as “We Are The Champions,” “Purple Rain,” “Heart Of Glass” and “Heartbreaker.” Surviving Beatles McCartney and Starr reunited to join Parton, Peter Frampton and Mick Fleetwood on “Let It Be,” which closes the album. Steve Perry makes a rare appearance singing Journey’s 1982 smash “Open Arms.” Other jaw-droppers on a tracklist filled with them include “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” featuring P!nk and Brandi Carlile, “Stairway To Heaven” featuring Lizzo and Sasha Flute, “I Want You Back” featuring Steven Tyler with Warren Haynes and “Magic Man” featuring Ann Wilson with Howard Leese. Parton stated the following about Rockstar:
“I’m so excited to finally present my first Rock and Roll album Rockstar! I am very honored and privileged to have worked with some of the greatest iconic singers and musicians of all time and to be able to sing all the iconic songs throughout the album was a joy beyond measure. I hope everybody enjoys the album as much as I’ve enjoyed putting it together!”
Kurt Vile – Back to Moon Beach
Guitarist Kurt Vile released, Back To Moon Beach, a new record out today via Verve Records. Promoted as an EP, consisting of nine tracks — including covers of Wilco’s “Passenger Side,” Bob Dylan’s “Must Be Santa,” (featuring vocals by Vile’s daughters Awilda Vile and Delphine Vile) and Charli XCX’s “Constant Repeat” — and clocking in at just under an hour, Back To Moon Beach could easily be called a full-length album. Recorded over the past four years, four of the songs (tracks 1-3, 6) were tracked in Fall 2019 at Panoramic Studios in Stinson Beach, California with longtime collaborators Rob Laakso, Stella Mozgawa and Chris Cohen, with co-production by Cate Le Bon (tracks 1, 3 and 6). Those recordings were built out by producer/engineer Adam Langelotti, with additional instrumentation by “Farmer” Dave Scher and Mikel Patrick Avery. Additionally, “Many other moments (including hella overdubs on the Stinson Beach material) are from intense sessions on Planet Philly at Vile’s studio: OKV Central,” press materials described. “It’s been a heavy few years and plenty of excuses to get lost in outer space behind the microphones.” Rob Schnapf’s Los Angeles facility Mant Sounds was also an integral location for recording. Some of the material on the record is among Vile’s final recordings with longtime collaborator Rob Laakso, who sadly died in early 2023. With his typical stylization in tact, here’s how Vile further detailed the EP and led single featuring Le Bon and Mozgawa, “Another good year for the roses”:
Hi! Here’s the opening track from my upcoming ep… ok, it’s longer than an ep… now I call it a KV comp. The first 6 tracks — which are the ones that fit on a single LP — are new to the world, with one foot in the not-too-distant past and the other with one tiny toe pointing toward the future. Together my feet are like a couple spanning time together.
This song was started at Stinson Beach, CA in September 2019 for a few days of recording with Rob Laakso, Stella Mozgawa, Chris Cohen, Cate Le Bon (and Adam Langellotti floating as a fly on the wall as well). Adam and I being the two overseers across this entire endeavor: we finished it on our own (and with some friends along the way). We ended up demonically overdubbing for weeks straight at OKV Central, Philly (my studio)… this was all of May 2023… so many magic moments.
Luther Dickinson – Magic Music For Family Folk
Yola and Allison Russell are among those who contributed to Luther Dickinson’s new guest-filled album, Magic Music For Family Folk, is out now on Antone’s Records/New West Records. Magic Music for Family Folk is made up of some the North Mississippi Allstars guitarist’s favorite songs from his childhood growing up with his brother/NMA bandmate Cody Dickinson in a musical family with their father, Jim Dickinson, a legendary southern musician and producer. The album features songs by The Meters, John Lee Hooker, Mississippi John Hurt, Doc Watson and The Staple Singers, among others. Contributors include NMA collaborators Sharde Thomas and Sharisse Norman, singer-songwriter Lillie Mae and Luther’s family members. Dickinson noted that the lion’s share of the material was recorded “during dinner parties, sleepovers, and play dates…I wanted to expose my kids to the joy of recording music. So we would invite friends over to the house and record, family style.” While the music was burned onto CDs for the family car, Dickinson didn’t return to the project until recently. Dickinson’s daughters recorded vocals for the album in 2017 and also more recently. “Having my daughters sing along with their younger selves was a unique sensation and document of their youth,” Luther said. Dickinson further detailed the album:
“When it comes to art or music, the perspective of time can’t be bought or faked. This record definitely benefited from fresh ears, as well as techniques and sounds I had developed over the years doing production and film scores.
“My father, Jim Dickinson, learned ‘Old Blue,’ ‘Turkey in the Straw,’ and ‘Old Hen’ from his friends and teachers, Memphis musicians Furry Lewis and Gus Cannon. Passing his songs down to a fourth generation felt magical and inspired the title.
“This collection of my childhood favorites was recorded for fun, at home, with family and friends, in the spirit of sharing. As a new father, I needed music that my family and friends could enjoy that’s also suited to my funky taste and organic, acoustic aesthetic. Having daughters altered my listening habits and it was hard to find records that we all liked, so I had to make one.
“Everyone is welcome.”
Big Something – Headspace
North Carolina-based sextet Big Something returns with Headspace, their seventh studio album. The follow-up to 2020’s Escape features 12 songs delving into different sides of the human mind. The members of the band penned the majority of the tracks over the last few years as the world moved forward from the pandemic. Big Something spotlighted a number of different non-profit organizations focusing on mental health and awareness as they release singles ahead of Headspace’s arrival today. The John Custer-produced album was tracked at the famed Pachyderm Recording Studio in rural Minnesota, where Nirvana recorded In Utero.Big Something – Headspace
Squeaky Feet – Cause For Alarm
Denver-based progressive rock outfit Squeaky Feet released their debut studio album, Cause For Alarm, today. The five-piece — guitarists Colin Shore and Greg King, drummer Kevin D’Angelo, bassist Jimmy Finnegan and keyboardist/saxophonist/flutist Brian Keller — largely captured the 10-track LP at Violet Studios in Boulder, Colorado with production and mixing from Dylan Gleit. Additionally, Eliot Kershner performed all the piano on the record. Cause For Alarm also sees a guest turn from Snarky Puppy guitarist Mark Lettieri who shredded on lead single, “Tunnel Vision,” which was partially inspired by a live Lettieri solo.
“We’ve poured our hearts and souls into Cause For Alarm, and it’s been an incredible journey,” Shore stated. “Having Mark Lettieri play on “Tunnel Vision” was a treat for us. Lettieri’s music, both as a solo artist and with Snarky Puppy, was a large part of the inspiration for the tune. The solo section that he played on was even inspired by a particular guitar solo I saw him play live at a show several years back.”
John Medeski – The Curse – Music From The Showtime Original Series
Keyboardist John Medeski composed the score for The Curse, a new Showtime original series from Benny Safie and Nathan Fielder. Out today via Milan Records is the show’s 52-song soundtrack. Daniel Lopatin (aka Oneohtrix Point Never) served as the soundtrack’s executive producer and brought Medeski into the project. Safie tasked regular collaborator Lopatin to select a musician for the project who could create music in the spirit of Alice Coltrane’s Turiya Sings. Medeski discussed about the resulting score, stating:
“There was this idea that the music of Alice’s—this spiritual music—has a quality that’s neither happy nor sad. It’s both. It’s deep, contemplative music. Instead of the music defining what’s happening, it’s opening up possibilities. I love that because that’s what music is for me. It’s a language that expresses something between idea and emotion that only music can express. The music is almost like another dimension or another perspective. A lot of films are designed to make you feel something about what’s going on in the scene, to represent the scene, to create the emotional impact of the scene. And Nathan and Benny wanted the series to be very dialogue driven and story driven, and to have the music actually be like another observer providing a perspective. They didn’t want any music to be too obvious. Sometimes the music is misleading to what’s going on in the scene even, and I loved that. The music has this other dimension that provides atmosphere. It isn’t just programmatic, it’s another character.”
Bob Dylan – The Complete Budokan 1978
Legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan’s new box set, The Complete Budokan 1978, celebrating the 45th anniversary of Dylan’s premiere performances in Japan, is available today via Columbia Records/Legacy Recordings. The collection was culled from Dylan’s February 28 and March 1 concerts at Tokyo’s storied Nippon Budokan Hall, which were part of The Bob Dylan World Tour 1978, marking his first international shows since his notorious 1966 World Tour. Originally recorded on 24-channel multitrack analog tape, The Complete Budokan 1978 presents 58 total tracks, 36 of which are previously unreleased. A double live album, Bob Dylan At Budokan, was released in Japan in 1978 and worldwide in 1979. Dylan’s band for the Budokan concerts included Billy Cross (lead guitar), Ian Wallace (drums), Alan Pasqua (keyboards), Rob Stoner (bass, vocals), Steven Soles (acoustic rhythm guitar, vocals), David Mansfield (pedal steel, violin, mandolin, guitar, dobro), Steve Douglas (saxophone, flute, recorder), Bobbye Hall (percussion), Helena Springs (vocals), Jo Ann Harris (vocals) and Debi Dye (vocals). A number of the original collaborators involved with the ‘79 release returned to work on The Complete Budokan 1978 including CBS Sony product manager of Japan Heckel Sugano and chief engineer Tom Suzuki. Both shared some insights into revisiting Dylan’s Budokan performances.
“We mixed the record with the keyword ‘passion’ in mind,” Suzuki said. “The result is a mix that surpasses the original 1978 release, providing a crisper and clearer sound where each instrument and Bob Dylan’s voice are distinctly audible.”
“The completed album documents the remarkable sound of the legendary Budokan shows that are forever etched in history,” Sugano said. “We tried to faithfully reproduce the sound the Japanese audience would have heard in the concert hall.”
Frank Zappa – Over-Nite Sensation: 50th Anniversary Edition
Frank Zappa’s iconic 1973 album Over-Nite Sensation turns 50 this year and the Maestro’s camp celebrates the occasion today by issuing a super-deluxe edition of the LP featuring 88 tracks via Zappa Records/UMe. A whopping 57 of them are previously unreleased. Also out today is a 3LP deluxe limited edition splatter color vinyl set, which sold out upon being put up for pre-sale, and a 2LP 45rmp 180-gram black vinyl edition of Over-Nite Sensation.
The 4CD + 1 Blu-ray Audio Over-Nite Sensation: 50th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition consists of the 2012 remaster of the original album by Bob Ludwig along with additional masters, highlights and mix outtakes from the original 1973 sessions mastered by John Polito. Additionally, the set includes a pair of live recordings of 1973 FZ concerts at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles and at Detroit’s Cobo Hall featuring the same band that tracked Over-Nite Sensation. The collection comes housed in a package containing previously unseen photos from the album cover shoot taken by Sam Emerson as well as liner notes and essays by journalist Mark Smotroff and “Vaultmeister” Joe Travers. Both Travers and Ahmet Zappa produced and curated Over-Nite Sensation: 50th Anniversary Edition.
Compiled by Scott Bernstein, Nate Todd and Andy Kahn.