Don’t Miss New Albums From Jimmy Buffett, Semisonic, Neal Francis & More

Laura Veirs, Kevin Drew, and Shooter Jennings also have new releases out today, Friday, November 3.

By Team JamBase Nov 3, 2023 6:30 am PDT

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 Jimmy Buffett, Semisonic, Neal Francis, Laura Veirs, Kevin Drew, and Shooter Jennings. Read on for more insight into the records we have ready to spin.

Jimmy Buffett – Equal Strain On All Parts

“Keep the party going,” singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett instructed prior to his death in September at age 76. The party continues with today’s posthumous release of his new album, Equal Strain On All Parts. Taking its title from Buffett’s grandfather’s description of a good nap, the 14-song album was co-produced by longtime members of Buffett’s Coral Reefers backing band, Michael Utley and Mac McAnally. Buffett recruited several all-star guests to appear on the album, with contributions coming from Lennie Gallant, Angelique Kidjo and Preservation Hall Jazz Band, as well as Emmylou Harris on a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Mozambique” and Paul McCartney on the track “My Gummie Just Kicked In,” which was inspired by a reassuring statement Buffett’s wife Jane made one evening while hanging out with Sir Paul. Though The Beatles legend played bass on that track, another song on the album written by Buffett and “honorary Coral Reefer,” Will Kimbrough entitled “Bubbles Up” caught McCartney’s attention.

“One [new track], in particular I loved,” McCartney wrote, “was the song, ‘Bubbles Up.’ And I told him that not only was the song great but the vocal was probably the best I’ve heard him sing ever. He turned a diving phrase that is used to train people underwater into a metaphor for life when you’re confused and don’t know where you are just follow the bubbles – they’ll take you up to the surface and straighten you out right away.”

Semisonic – Little Bit of Sun

Semisonic released their long-awaited new album entitled Little Bit Of Sun. The album marks the Minneapolis-based trio’s first full-length in over two decades. The 12-song follow-up to 2001’s All About Chemistry and their 2020 EP You’re Not Alone features My Morning Jacket’s Jim James who played guitar on a song he co-wrote, “Beautiful Sky.” Also joining frontman/guitarist Dan Wilson, bassist John Munson and drummer Jacob Slichter on a track was guitarist Jason Isbell. Fully extinguishing an old beef between Wilson and Isbell, the latter contributed to the song “Out Of The Dirt.” Regarding that song, Wilson described the writing and recording process for “Out Of The Dirt”:

“I wrote ‘Out of the Dirt’ with the amazing Lori McKenna. I told Lori I was hoping to make something with a stomping beat and a hypnotic, mesmerizing lyrical chant. The result was even more stomping and mesmeric than I had hoped. The track is pretty simple, just me on the piano, John on fretless bass and Jake on drums. As we were cutting the track, everyone agreed it needed some hot lead guitar. But instead of adding a guitar of my own later, we reached out to Jason Isbell to see if he wanted to throw down. The answer was yes (what a day!) and the results speak for themselves: Jason fucking rocks, as we already knew.”

Neal Francis – Francis Comes Alive

Neal Francis’ live album Francis Comes Alive is out today via ATO Records. The keyboardist and singer-songwriter captured the record live to tape on March 25, 2023 with an 11-piece band at Thalia Hall in his homebase of Chicago. The expanded lineup featured guitarist Kellen Boersma, bassist Mike Starr and drummer Collin O’Brien as well as a horn section — trumpeter Parris Fleming, saxophonist Corbin Andrick and trombonist Alex Wasily — keyboardist Cole DeGenova and percussionist Daniel Villarreal. Backing vocalists Thair Thompson and Carlile rounded out the band. Francis Comes Alive boasts songs from throughout the keyboardist’s catalog including favorites “Can’t Stop The Rain” off 2022’s In Plain Sight and “Changes Pts. 1 & 2” from 2019’s Changes.


Laura Veirs – Phone Orphans

Singer-songwriter Laura Veirs issued her 13th solo album, Phone Orphans, today through her own label, Raven Marching Band Records. The Portland, Oregon-based musician recorded the 14-track album herself in the living room of her century-old bungalow. According to the album announcement, “Veirs used to write in the attic of the much larger foursquare-style home she shared in Portland with her musical partner and husband, at least until they split four years ago.” The songs on Phone Orphans emerged from over 900 voice memos recorded Veirs recorded to her phone over the last eight years. Regarding Phone Orphans, Veirs shared:

It feels good, on my 50th birthday and after 30 years of writing songs, to bring these “Phone Orphans” into the light. These songs have been hiding out on my phone, some of them for over eight years. They are about my family, my lovers and me. I recorded them alone in my living room into my voice memo app. I like their relaxed feel. These songs were mastered but we made no edits to the recordings. I hope you enjoy this intimate glimpse into my artistic process. All songs by me except “Up is a Nice Place to Be” by Rosalie Sorrels and “The Archers” with lyrics adapted from a poem by Federico García Lorca.

Faithfully yours,
Laura Veirs

Kevin Drew – Aging

Broken Social Scene‘s Kevin Drew released, Aging, his third solo album. Described as “darker and more contemplative” than any of Drew’s prior works, the eight-song collection was produced and engineered by Nyles Spencer. The minimalist piano ballads were influenced by the recent deaths of Drew’s mentors and friends, as well as close family members’ deteriorating health. The result is a set of songs written over the past 10 years “marked by the signifiers of midlife – love, loss, and illness – all while wrestling with the hard truths of aging.”

Shooter Jennings – Shooter Jennings and the Werewolves of Los Angeles Do Zevon

Though nominated, Warren Zevon will not be among those inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame tonight. In response to Zevon not making it in this year, Shooter Jennings honored the late singer-songwriter by performing his songs live in concert. A live album capturing one of those performances, Shooter Jennings and the Werewolves of Los Angeles Do Zevon, arrived today through BCR Media. The live album was recorded at at 2022’s Rebels & Renegades Music Festival in Monterey, California. Shooter Jennings and the Werewolves of Los Angeles features Jennings on keyboards, multi-instrumentalist Brian Whelan and longtime Jennings collaborators drummer Jamie Douglass, bassist Ted Russell Kamp and guitarist John Schreffler. In addition to the Rebels & Renegades set, the band has performed Zevon’s songs at the Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood and earlier this week at Brooklyn Made in Brooklyn. Regarding the concerts honoring Zevon, Jennings stated:

“This last year we had a blast doing two separate shows paying tribute to one of my favorite artists of all time, Los Angeles legend Warren Zevon. When Zevon was picked to be potentially inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this year we, along with millions of Zevon fans, were hoping that he would finally get his due in the halls of Rock & Roll History. Unfortunately, Zevon didn’t make it in this year and won’t be honored tomorrow night in New York City at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ceremony. Upon hearing this news, the Werewolves of Los Angeles gathered in our Wolfcave to discuss what we could do about it. We decided that even though Warren wasn’t going into the Hall of Fame, we could take a special trip up to New York City this week and do our own celebration of Warren’s bad-ass music.”


Compiled by Scott Bernstein, Nate Todd and Andy Kahn.

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