Lucinda Williams, Grateful Dead, JGB & Frank Zappa Among Today’s New Releases

Don’t miss this new music out today, Friday, June 30.

By Team JamBase Jun 30, 2023 6:15 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 Lucinda Williams, Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia Band and Frank Zappa. Read on for more insight into the records we have all queued up to spin.

Lucinda Williams – Stories From A Rock n Roll Heart

Acclaimed singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams returns with a new album, Stories From A Rock n Roll Heart, which arrived today via Highway 20 Records/Thirty Tigers. Williams co-produced Stories From A Rock n Roll Heart with her husband Tom Overby and Ray Kennedy, who also engineered. The 10-track album is the follow-up to Williams’ album Good Souls Better Angels, which came out in 2020. Also in 2020, Williams’ Nashville home was damaged by a tornado weeks before COVID-19 forced worldwide lockdowns. In November, she suffered a stroke that partially impaired the left side of her body, leaving her unable to play guitar. Williams co-wrote three songs on Stories with Jesse Malin (who recently suffered a rare spinal stroke), while her longtime road manager Travis Stephens co-wrote six songs on the pending album. The track “Where the Song Will Find Me,” was orchestrated and arranged by Lawrence Rothman.

Guests include Bruce Springsteen, Patti Scialfa, Margo Price, Jeremy Ivey, Angel Olsen, Buddy Miller, Siobhan Maher Kennedy, Sophie Gault and the Replacements’ Tommy Stinson. Williams dedicated the album to the Replacements’ co-founder Bob Stinson who is honored on the track “Hum’s Liquor.” The song “Stolen Moments” honors Tom Petty. Williams started recording the new album in November 2021 and as her strength improved, continued into 2022. Sessions included Williams’ longtime touring guitarist Stuart Mathis, keyboardist Reese Wynans, bassist Steve Mackey (Dolly Parton), and pedal steel guitarist Doug Pettibone and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers drummer Steve Ferrone. Regarding the writing and recording process for the new album, Williams stated:

“My process has always been to come up with some lyrics, then get the guitar and come up with a melody and some kind of structure. Once I get that, then I’d go back and edit the lyrics and add more. Pretty much like when you write and revise a story, except the guitar is added to it. It was very rare that I’d ever write all the lyrics completely without the guitar.

“Like Jesse, Travis is a singer and a songwriter, so he threw his bit in and that led to the co-writing of some songs. I was comfortable writing with them. Jesse knows me pretty well now, so he was able to anticipate certain things when we worked together – the same with Tom and Travis. I could contribute the melody and all.

“Since I couldn’t teach the band the songs on guitar, I would sing it to give an idea of the feel and the vibe. We’d do it a few times until we got the right groove. It was really challenging because I wasn’t playing guitar. But sometimes when things are challenging like that, good stuff can come out of it.”

Grateful Dead – RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C. 6/10/73

Five previously unreleased Grateful Dead from spring 1973 are the focus of Here Comes Sunshine 1973, a massive 17-CD boxed set that arrived today. One of those five shows — RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C. 6/10/73 — is out now on streaming services, in physical formats and as a digital download. The Grateful Dead’s June 10, 1973 performance was the second of two nights played at the huge multi-purpose stadium in the District of Columbia. The Allman Brothers Band shared the bill each night. Highlights from June 10, 1973 include an impactful “Morning Dew” opener along with jam-filled versions of “Bird Song,” “Playing In The Band,” “Eyes Of The World” and the beloved “Dark Star.”

A third set saw the band — guitarists Bob Weir and Jerry Garcia, bassist Phil Lesh, drummer Bill Kreutzmann, vocalist Donna Jean Godchaux and keyboardist Keith Godchaux — joined by Allman Brothers Band guitarist Dickey Betts and drummer Butch Trucks as well as longtime Garcia collaborator Merl Saunders on organ. The assembled musicians treated fans to a run of covers that included Bob Dylan’s “It Takes A Lot To Laugh It Takes A Train To Cry,” the Elvis-popularized “That’s Alright Mama,” Chuck Berry’s “Promised Land” and “Johnny B. Goode” and Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away.” Both “Drums” and “Goin’ Down The Road Feelin’ Bad” were encapsulated by “Not Fade Away.” Plangent Processes tape restoration and speed correction were used on the original recording with mastering by Jeffrey Norman.

Jerry Garcia Band – GarciaLive Vol. 20

Jerry Garcia’s archival GarciaLive series continues with its 20th volume featuring the Jerry Garcia Band’s performance on June 18, 1982 at the Cape Cod Coliseum in South Yarmouth, Massachusetts. In addition to the eight-song set JGB played on June 18, 1982, GarciaLive Vol 20. is rounded out with, for the first time in the series, “filler” from another show. Culled from JGB’s June 1, 1981 concert at The Stone in San Francisco, the bonus tracks include previously uncirculated/unheard recordings of Jimmy Cliff’s “Sitting In Limbo,” J.J. Cale’s “After Midnight,” Bob Dylan’s “Tangled Up In Blue” and Garcia’s “Deal.” Regarding the June 30, 1982 show’s selection for the GarciaLive series, a description of the release follows:

The early ‘80s marked a transitional period for the Jerry Garcia Band. After beginning the decade with the lean & mean quartet showcased on After Midnight and GarciaLive Volume One, Garcia & John Kahn would go on to experiment with personnel configurations expanding the line-up considerably.

By the time the Jerry Garcia Band rolled into the Cape Cod Coliseum co-headliners [with] Bobby & the Midnites, the lineup included Grateful Dead bandmate Bill Kreutzmann (drums), Melvin Seals (organ), Jimmy Warren (electric piano) and Liz Stires and Julie Stafford (backing vocals). While the co-headline format limited each group to a single 90-minute set, Garcia’s eight-song set packed plenty of punch. The requisite “How Sweet It Is” opener wastes no time getting down to business with a galloping tempo punctuated by crisp solos from Garcia, Warren, & Seals.

The relative rarity “Valerie,” marking its first appearance here on an archival release, and extended, show-stopping takes on “Dear Prudence” and “Don’t Let Go” follow to the crowd’s obvious delight. Other highlights from Cape Cod include a poignant take on Dylan’s “Simple Twist of Fate” and the freshly written “Run for the Roses.”

Frank Zappa – Funky Nothingness

Fresh out of the late Frank Zappa’s archives today is Funky Nothingness, a set compiling recordings from previously unreleased sessions the guitarist purportedly planned for a potential sequel to his famed Hot Rats LP. Zappa assembled a core band consisting of Mothers Of Invention member Ian Underwood (keyboard, saxophone, rhythm guitar), violinist and vocalist Don “Sugarcane” Harris, Wrecking Crew bassist Max Bennett and young English drummer Aynsley Dunbar to record at Los Angeles’ recently opened Record Plant primarily in February and March 1970. Vaultmeister Joe Travers and Ahmet Zappa, co-producers of the set, used Frank’s notes and a title Zappa himself came up with to select the 11 tracks from the sessions found on Funky Nothingness. An expanded deluxe edition adds two discs worth of outtakes, alternate edits and unedited masters of songs from the same era.

“Funky Nothingness, as an album, is special in that it features at least three written compositions, two cover versions and multiple instrumental jam-oriented segments, all previously unreleased,” Travers stated. “It’s very rare to find that amount of music from one set of sessions that has gone unheard for such a long period of time.” Twenty-three of the 25 tracks included on the deluxe edition were never-before-heard by the general public.

Compiled by Scott Bernstein, Nate Todd and Andy Kahn.

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