Don’t Miss New Albums From Chris Stapleton, Beirut, Daniel Donato, Midnight North & More
Zac Brown Band, Cat Power, Adam Deitch Quartet and Jimi Hendrix also have new releases out today, Friday, November 10.
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 Chris Stapleton, Beirut, Daniel Donato, Zac Brown Band, Cat Power, Midnight North, Adam Deitch and Jimi Hendrix. Read on for more insight into the records we have ready to spin.
Chris Stapleton – Higher
Singer-songwriter Chris Stapleton today released Higher, his new album out now on Mercury Nashville. Stapleton co-produced the album with his longtime collaborator, Dave Cobb. The record was engineered and mixed Vance Powell. Stapleton’s wife Morgane Stapleton also co-produced the 14-track follow up 2020’s Grammy-winning Starting Over. Chris Stapleton recorded Higher at Nashville’s historic RCA Studio A. The album features Chris Stapleton (vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, slide electric guitar) backed by Cobb (acoustic guitar, eclectic guitar) and Morgane Stapleton (background vocals, synthesizer, tambourine) and longtime member of his touring band, bassist J.T. Cure and drummer Derek Mixon. Other participants included legendary Nashville-based pedal steel guitarist Paul Franklin and Dawes keyboardist Lee Pardini. Chris talked to SiriusXM about Higher, explaining:
“There’s no collaborations on the record. My wife [Morgane Stapleton] is my eternal collaborator, so she’s on there singing with us as usual. There are no covers on this record. Usually we include a cover or two on a record … It wasn’t necessarily an intent, it was just what happened, so, we’ll see how that goes.”
Beirut – Hadsel
Zach Condon, the frontman of Beirut, issued his first album of new material in four years, titled Hadsel, through his own label, Pompeii Records. The album, entirely written, performed and produced by Condon, emerged during a period of uncertainty for Beirut, including Condon’s struggle with throat issues that led to the cancellation of the 2019 Gallipoli Tour. Seeking solace, Condon embarked on a journey to the remote northern island of Hadsel in Norway, where he was granted access to the local church’s organ by a fellow enthusiast named Oddvar. This encounter inspired the creation of Hadsel, featuring a blend of organ, drum machines, modular synth, and horns, all captured on an Austrian tape machine. Upon returning to his home in Berlin, the world was in its own solitude due to the pandemic. Condon used the time to complete the album, rediscovering instruments like his baritone ukulele which he used on lead single “So Many Plans.” Condon recalled his time in the remote Norwegian locale:
“During my time in Hadsel, I worked hard on the music, lost in a trance and stumbling blindly through my own mental collapse that I had been pushing aside since I was a teenager. It came and rang me like a bell. I was left agonising many things past and present while the beauty of the nature, the northern lights and fearsome storms played an awesome show around me. The few hours of light would expose the unfathomable beauty of the mountains and the fjords, and the hours-long twilights would fill me with subdued excitement. I’d like to believe that scenery is somehow present in the music.”
Daniel Donato – Reflector
Nashville-based guitarist Daniel Donato released his second album, Reflector, today via Retrace Music. The 15-track release marks Donato’s first album entirely comprised of original music. The LP, produced by Vance Powell (known for work with Phish, White Stripes, and Chris Stapleton), follows his 2020 debut, A Young Man’s Country. Donato tracked the album over in December 2022 over the course of “about 15 days” at Sputnik Sound Studios in the Berry Hill area of Nashville. Donato, known for his exploration of a genre he dubs “Cosmic Country,” was joined in the studio by keyboardist/guitarist Nathan “Sugarleg” Aronowitz, bassist Will McGee and drummer Noah Miller. Nashville pedal steel guitar legend Paul Franklin also contributed to four tracks. Donato discussed Reflector with JamBase, stating:
“What ‘reflector’ means to me is that the entire external world that you find yourself in, in every waking moment of your conscious day, is a reflection of your internal world. So this entire reality you live in, and can physically interact with, is a reflector of what your internal world is. And when we die, our bodies don’t go on, but our soul does and that’s a faith based concept. You might not agree, and that’s totally cool too. But, this entire external world is a lesson teaching mechanism through experiential space and time reality to teach you things. And it’s a reflector of what your internal world is telling you.”
Midnight North – Diamonds In The Zodiac
Bay Area-based Americana collective Midnight North released their fifth studio album, Diamonds In The Zodiac, today via Americana Vibes. The 10-song collection takes its name from unearthed Robert Hunter lyrics used in the LP’s centerpiece song, “Jupiter.” Amy Helm produced the follow-up to the band’s 2021 record There’s Always A Story and sings on a handful of tracks. Diamonds In The Zodiac is a family affair for Midnight North co-founder Grahame Lesh. Grahame’s father, Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh, contributed bass to two tracks and vocals to another. Additionally, Grahame’s brother, Brian Lesh, added mandolin and vocals to a pair of songs. Multi-instrumentalist Jason Crosby and pianist TJ Kanczuzewski also make guest appearances on the album, which was recorded between October 2022 and January 2023 at Widespread Panic bassist Dave Schools’ Spacecamp studio in Occidental, California.
Zac Brown Band – From the Road, Vol. 1: Covers
Zac Brown Band dug into their live recordings archive for From the Road, Vol. 1: Covers, a live album out now on Brown’s label Home Grown Music. Comprised of live recordings spanning 11 years, the collection presents ZBB covering 13 songs by other artists. Guests joining the band on select tracks include Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler on “Sweet Emotion,” guitarist John Mayer on “Neon,” guitarist Marcus King on The Allman Brothers Band’s “Whipping Post,” and the Mark O’Connor Band with guitarist Darrell Scott on The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” and “With a Little Help From My Friends.” Other covers featured on the the album are the Frank Sinatra-popularized “The Way You Look Tonight,” The Who’s “Baba O’Riley,” Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” and Kings Of Leon’s “Use Somebody.” The live set also features Zac Brown Band performing the late Jimmy Buffett’s “Margaritaville” — one of the songs Brown performed this week during a tribute to Buffett at the CMAs.
Cat Power – Cat Power Sings Dylan: The 1966 Royal Albert Hall Concert
Cat Power (Chan Marshall) released a live album, Cat Power Sings Dylan: The 1966 Royal Albert Hall Concert, via Domino. The album documents her 2022 recreation of Bob Dylan’s notorious 1966 Manchester Free Trade Hall concert. Cat Power recreated Dylan’s May 1966 Manchester concert — a bootleg of which was mislabeled the “Royal Albert Hall Concert” and the name stuck — at Royal Albert Hall on November 5, 2022. Ahead of Cat Power’s version of “Ballad Of A Thin Man,” someone in the audience yelled out “Judas!,” as did someone on the original Dylan recording referencing Dylan’s “betrayal” of traditional folk fans by playing electrified instruments. Bob responded in 1966 by saying, “I don’t believe you. You’re a liar!” Marshall evoked the name of the man betrayed by Judas, Jesus Christ.
“It was something impulsive,” Marshall said of the moment. “I wasn’t expecting the audience to recreate their part of the original show as well, but then I wanted to set the record straight – in a way, Dylan is a deity to all of us who write songs.”
The Adam Deitch Quartet – Roll The Tape
The Adam Deitch Quartet returns with their sophomore studio album, Roll The Tape, available now via the drummer’s Golden Wolf Records label. Drummer Adam Deitch is joined in The Adam Deitch Quartet by Lettuce bandmates Eric ‘Benny’ Bloom on trumpet and Ryan Zoidis on saxophone as well as organist Wil Blades. Guitarist John Scofield contributed to the lead single, “Mushroom Gravy.”The 10-track Roll The Tape came together when Deitch flew in Blades to accompany him, Bloom and Zoidis for sessions held at Colorado’s Scanhope Sound shortly after Lettuce finished work on their next studio album. Deitch wrote the material featured on the follow-up to the outfit’s 2019 debut album, Egyptian Secrets, using pro-tools at his home studio in Denver. The drummer/producer composed and arranged the songs himself and gave the other musicians demos to learn just before it was time to record.
“I’d bring the tunes in, play them on the computer, have the guys learn them as fast as possible, and then ‘roll the tape,’” Deitch explained.
Jimi Hendrix – Jimi Hendrix Experience: Hollywood Bowl August 18, 1967
The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Hollywood Bowl August 18, 1967 live album arrived today. The LP boasts restored audio from longtime Hendrix producer Eddie Kramer. Renowned mastering engineer Bernie Grundman also worked on the project. The performance from the still relatively unknown in the U.S. Jimi Hendrix Experience — guitarist Jimi Hendrix, bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell — at the storied Los Angeles outdoor venue came just five days before The Experience released their landmark debut album, Are You Experienced. The Hollywood Bowl show saw Jimi and company opening for the vastly different folk-rock group The Mamas & The Papas. Longtime Paul McCartney guitarist Brian Ray was a youngster in attendance and vividly recalled the scene:
“The audience was there to see The Mamas & The Papas. They haven’t heard of Jimi Hendrix. I’d never heard of Jimi Hendrix, and he couldn’t be more opposite of The Mamas & The Papas as an act, culturally, physically, in every possible way he was the opposite. Here comes this guy and there’s only three of them on stage and they have these afros and these wild, ornate, very theatrical clothes. Jimi proceeds to shred, and it’s loud but it’s musical, and then it becomes so physical. He starts playing the guitar under his leg, and now it’s behind his back, and now he’s playing it with his mouth, and now he’s on the ground on his knees and he’s like humping it, and it, to me was mind blowing. It was sort of every human characteristic; it was beauty, grace, it was sexual, violent, gentle, it was just everything all at once in one band coming out of this one guy. I wouldn’t say that the audience response was quite the same as the response I was having. My sister and I were going bananas, and the audience was like [soft clapping] and they were trying to figure it out.”
Compiled by Scott Bernstein, Nate Todd and Andy Kahn.