Today’s New Albums: Del McCoury Band, The Infamous Stringdusters, Bob Weir & More
Listen to 10 new albums released today.
By Team JamBase Feb 18, 2022 • 6:37 am PST
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 Del McCoury Band, The Infamous Stringdusters, , Steve Poltz, Beach House, Shovels & Rope, Khruangbin & Leon Bridges, Hurray for the Riff Raff Tame Impala and a Yoko Ono tribute compilation. Read on for more insight into the records we have all queued up to spin.
Del McCoury Band – Almost Proud
Bluegrass favorites the Del McCoury Band today released their latest studio effort, Almost Done. In the wake of being forced off the road due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the group’s namesake patriarch, bluegrass icon Del McCoury utilized the break to go back over a cache of songs he had collected over the years to see if any would be of interest to record. On a recent episode of The JamBase Podcast, McCoury described the process, stating:
Through the years people have sent me demos of songs on CDs to record. And most time I’m on the road and don’t have the time to listen to them, you know? I thought “I’m going to get that box of CDs and listen, go through the whole [set] and listen to everything.” So I did, and sometimes I’d make a note on the CD — sometimes the CD would have more than one song on it to listen to — and so I’d make notes and everything. Then I went back, and actually, I think I learned about 25 songs from all that. Learned them enough to get the right key and right tempo for me. And I’d put it on tape so I wouldn’t forget it.
Out of those songs, 10 were chosen by McCoury to record for Almost Proud, which also features two of his original songs, “The Misery You’ve Earned” and “Running Wild.” Among the other selections include Kris Kristofferson’s “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore,” The California Honeydrops’ “Other Shore” and the Trace Adkins popularized “Working Man’s Wage.” Del’s guitar can be heard alongside his sons, Ronnie McCoury on mandolin and Rob McCoury on banjo, as well as bassist Alan Bartram and fiddler Jason Carter. Guests include pianist Josh Shilling and country veteran guitarist/vocalist Vince Gill.
The Infamous Stringdusters – Toward The Fray
The Infamous Stringdusters return with Toward The Fray today via Americana Vibes. The record is the follow up to the bluegrass quintet’s Grammy-nominated 2021 album A Tribute To Bill Monroe and is their first album of original music since’ 2019’s Rise Sun. The Dusters largely worked up the material and recorded the album remotely during the pandemic, which posed some challenges but also revealed a side of the LP and the band that may not have otherwise came through, as banjo player Chirs Pandolfi attested to in a recent episode of The Jambase Podcast.
I think that we have had enough experience playing together, recording together, writing and creating music together, that the process went really smoothly. And you maybe could even argue that not having time at this phase of our career when we are so well acquainted with each other and how we think and how we play, maybe there was a spontaneity that wouldn’t have been captured otherwise. It didn’t feel like we were so behind and playing catch up but just felt like this music was just coming to life pretty organically by virtue of the fact that there were good songs, but also that we just know how to create music together. So it was different, but it was cool and we’re really proud of the way things came out.
Bobby Weir & Wolf Bros – Bobby Weir & Wolf Bros: Live In Colorado
Bob Weir & Wolf Bros offer their first vinyl collection of recorded material today, Bobby Weir & Wolf Bros: Live In Colorado, via vinyl champions Third Man Records. Weir and company carved the compilation out of Bob Weir & Wolf Bros landmark run at Colorado’s iconic Red Rocks as well as the idyllic Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail, Colorado June 8, 9, 11 and 12, 2021.
The Wolf Bros are Bob Weir on guitar, Don Was on standup bass, Jay Lane on drums and Jeff Chimenti on keyboards. The quartet also welcomed pedal steel ace Greg Leisz as well as The Wolf Pack string and horn section of violinist Mads Tolling, trombonist Adam Theis, trumpeter Brian Switzer, woodwind specialist Sheldon Brown and cellist Alex Kelly. Bobby spoke a bit about the project and concerts in a press release.
I’ve been workin’ in my spare time on expanding the sonic coloration of the songs I do. The Wolfpack is basically a step toward full orchestration – and further, I gotta say, these guys are game. We worked on the arrangements a bit but eventually we needed to trot it all out and play it for folks – and right at that moment, the folks in Colorado reached out and told us they were gonna open up. Holy Shit, WTF? Let’s Go.
The record features new “sonic colorations” on Grateful Dead classics including “New Speedway Boogie” and “West L.A. Fadeaway” along with Bobby solo material like “Only A River” as well as a cover of Dylan’s “Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” and more.
Steve Poltz – Stardust & Satellites
Veteran singer-songwriter Steve Poltz is a back with another set of his lyrically savvy original compositions, Stardust & Satellites. Poltz’s 14th solo album was produced by The Wood Brothers guitarist Oliver Wood and percussionist/keyboardist Jano Rix, who both appear across the album’s 10 songs. The follow-up to 2019’s Shine On grew out of casual backyard sessions in Nashville with Wood and Rix while the musicians were forced off the road from the COVID-19 pandemic. Sessions at The Wood Brothers’ Nashville recording facility were engineered by Brook Sutton, who also played bass on the album. Other contributions came from Nicki Bluhm, Lindsay Lou, Maya de Vitry and Anthony De Costa. Poltz shared the below sentiment regarding his new work:
“I just make stuff up — it sounded good to say that. I have no rhyme or reason for what I do. It’s all magic. I go by instinct. It just felt right, so I went with it.”
Beach House – Once Twice Melody
Beach House released their eighth studio album, Once Twice Melody, today via Sub Pop Records. The duo of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally co-wrote the 18 songs making up the record and presented in four distinct chapters. The pair began working on the new album in 2018 and completed the LP in July 2021. The bulk of the recording took place at Baltimore’s Apple Orchard Studio. Once Twice Melody is the first Beach House album entirely produced by Scally and Legrand. The follow-up to 2018’s 7 is also the first Beach House album to feature strings, which were arranged by David Campbell. Drummer James Barone, who contributed to 7, recorded his live drums parts for Once Twice Melody at Pachyderm Studio in Cannon Falls, Minnesota and at United Studio in Los Angeles.
Shovels & Rope – Manticore
As with many acts, the pandemic had a huge effect on Shovels & Rope. The duo consisted of Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst used the time locked down to prep Manticore, a new album out today on Dualtone Music. While the pair initially set about recording an acoustic-focused, stripped-down LP featuring just acoustic guitar, piano and vocals, they used the period off the road to fully flesh out and rework arrangements of 10 songs penned before COVID-19 forced a halt to live music.
”It’s not heavy metal, but in our guts, it feels a bit like Heavy Metal,” explained Trent about Shovels & Rope’s first full-length record featuring original material since 2019’s By Blood. Work on writing the Manticore material mostly took place in New Orleans, where Michael and Cary Ann decamped while their home on Johns Island in South Carolina was being renovated. The duo then recorded the album at The Whip, a home studio built in their Johns Island backyard.
With touring canceled and The Whip at their disposal, Trent and Hearst didn’t have any deadlines and had a space to create an album filled with extremely personal songs. “I was grateful to have something to work on, to go into the shop every day for a few hours, get into something, exercise parts of my brain and feel excited about something when there really wasn’t a whole lot to feel excited about at the time,” Trent added.
Khruangbin & Leon Bridges – Texas Moon
Texas-based musicians Khruangbin and Leon Bridges have collaborated once again on Texas Moon, a collection of five songs released today through Dead Oceans, in partnership with Columbia Records and Night Time Stories Ltd. Texas Moon follows Texas Sun, the artists’ first collaborative EP, which came out in 2020.
Bridges and Khruangbin – a trio consisting of bassist Laura Lee, drummer Donald “DJ” Johnson and guitarist Mark Speer – first joined forces for a tour in 2018 and immediately realized they had found kindred spirits. While both EPs include “Texas” in the title as a tribute to their home state, the music is different. Leon described Texas Moon as “more introspective” than Texas Sun and Lee added “it feels more night time” of the new collection.
The singer-songwriter and three-piece appreciate the roles they’ve played in a renaissance for Texas music and continue to push forward with Texas Moon. “I think we’re redefining how people perceive Texas music—that beautiful marriage of country and R&B—and really paying homage to that,” explained Bridges. “They’re from Houston, so they’re aware of the whole chopped ‘n’ screwed thing, and I gravitated to that growing up as well. And when I picked up a guitar, I began to discover Townes Van Zandt and Willie Nelson and that side of it. The writing is a reflection of a lot of those things.”
Hurray For The Riff Raff – Life On Earth
Hurray For The Riff Raff (Alynda Segarra) makes their Nonesuch Records debut with today’s release of Life On Earth. The follow-up to 2017’s The Navigator. The new album finds the Bronx-native, New Orleans-based singer-songwriter taking a new approach with producer Brad Cook. The result was 11 new self-described “nature punk” songs. The eighth Hurray For The Riff Raff studio album was inspired by The Clash, Beverly Glenn-Copeland, Bad Bunny, and the Emergent Strategy author adrienne maree brown. The album was previewed by the singles “Pierced Arrows,” “Jupiter’s Dance” and “Rhododendron.” Regarding “Rhododendron,” Segarra stated:
[“Rhododendron” is about] “finding rebellion in plant life. Being called by the natural world and seeing the life that surrounds you in a way you never have. A mind expansion. A psychedelic trip. A spiritual breakthrough. Learning to adapt, and being open to the wisdom of your landscape. Being called to fix things in your own backyard, your own community.”
Tame Impala – The Slow Rush Deluxe Box Set
Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker released The Slow Rush Deluxe Box Set today via Interscope Records. The collection features B-sides, remixes and more from Tame Impala’s Grammy-nominated 2020 album The Slow Rush. The physical edition of the box set contains 2 transparent red LP’s and alternate artwork, The Slow Rush 2050 calendar and a 40-page booklet. In October, Parker shared “Breathe Deeper (Lil Yachty Remix)” from the deluxe edition and followed with “No Choice” in December. The collection also boasts the pre-album single “Patience” in both its original and remixed format as well as a never-before-heard track, “The Boat I Row,” and more.
Various Artists – Ocean Child: Songs Of Yoko Ono
Ocean Child: Songs Of Yoko Ono is a new compilation featuring 14 covers of Ono’s songs recorded by a varied and impressive array of artists. Death Cab For Cutie’s Benjamin Gibbard came up with the idea and curated the album. Additionally, Death Cab contributed “Waiting For The Sunrise” to LP. Other participants in the project, from which proceeds will go towards WhyHunger, include The Flaming Lips, Yo La Tengo, David Byrne, Thao, Japanese Breakfast, Deerhoof, Jay Som and Sharon Van Etten.
Gibbard shared the following about Ono and the compilation:
”[The album] was born out of both love and frustration. The ‘love’ part is pretty obvious; It is the seemingly bottomless well of inspiration and enjoyment Yoko Ono’s music has provided me and I must assume everyone else present here on this compilation. The ‘frustration’ part, on the other hand, goes back decades.
“As an advocate, the tallest hurdle to clear has always been the public’s ignorance as to the breadth of Yoko’s work. To put it into context; This is an artist whose output has run the gamut from avant-garde to bubblegum pop, often across a single album. For years, it has been my position that her songwriting has been criminally overlooked. She has consistently created melodies as memorable as those of best pop writers. As a lyricist, she has always written with poignance, sophistication and deep introspection.
“Some of her best songs have been covered and compiled here by a generation-spanning group of musicians for whom her work has meant so much. It is my sincere hope that a new crop of Yoko Ono fans fall in love with her songwriting due in some small part to this album we have put together.”
Compiled by Scott Bernstein, Nate Todd and Andy Kahn.