Don’t Miss New Albums Out Today From Oteil Burbridge, Willie Nelson, Woods, Bahamas & More

Stephen Marley, Jim Lauderdale & The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys, Joshua Redman, Explosions in the Sky, Jack Johnson and Stephen Wilson Jr. also have new records out today, Friday, September 15.

By Team JamBase Sep 15, 2023 6:28 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 Oteil Burbridge, Willie Nelson, Woods, Bahamas, Stephen Marley, Jim Lauderdale & The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys, Joshua Redman, Explosions in the Sky, Jack Johnson and Stephen Wilson Jr. Read on for more insight into the records we have ready to spin.

Oteil Burbridge – Lovely View Of Heaven

Dead & Company bassist Oteil Burbridge decamped to the serene setting of Floki Studios in Iceland to put his own stamp on nine different ballads written by Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia and lyricist Robert Hunter. The resulting album, Lovely View Of Heaven, is out today. Burbridge on bass and vocals is joined on the LP by Jason Crosby (piano, organ and strings), Tom Guarna (guitar), Steve Kimock (guitar), Pete Lavezzoli (drums) and Adam Tenenbaum (guitar sounds). The final track, “High Time,” features posthumous contributions from Oteil’s late brother, Kofi Burbridge, on flute, and is dedicated to his memory. Oteil tapped Soulive’s Alan Evans to produce Lovely View Of Heaven, which marks Burbridge’s first time on lead vocals for a full album. The 59-year-old musician poured his grief from the loss of his father, his brother Kofi and mentor Col. Bruce Hampton into his singing.

“Looking back, I don’t feel like I was able to really process all the pain from these huge losses until I started working on these ballads,” Burbridge explained. “All these arrangements were written through many tears. And all the vocal tracks were recorded that way as well.”

Willie Nelson – Bluegrass

Willie Nelson released his album Bluegrass today through Legacy Recordings. The legendary singer-songwriter’s 151st album, according to Texas Monthly, contains 12 grassy reworkings of some of Willie’s most iconic songs including “On the Road Again,” “Yesterday’s Wine,” “Still is Still Moving to Me,” “Bloody Mary Morning,” “Good Hearted Woman” and more. Helmed by longtime producer Buddy Cannon, Bluegrass features an ace band including Barry Bales (upright bass), Ron Block (banjo), Aubrey Haynie (fiddle), Rob Ickes (dobro), Josh Martin (acoustic guitar), Mickey Raphael (harmonica), Seth Taylor (mandolin), Bobby Terry (acoustic guitar, gut string guitar) and Dan Tyminski (mandolin) with Wyatt Beard, Buddy and Melonie Cannon providing backing vocals. As per a press release:

Willie’s new album is a salute to the Appalachian old-time string band music which crystalized into a genre and was given a name by Kentucky songwriter/performer/recording artist Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys, whose post-war recordings profoundly influenced Willie’s songwriting sensibilities and the direction of American country music in general.

Woods – Perennial

Woods released their new studio album, Perennial, through their Woodsist record label. The album evolved out of guitar, keyboard and drum loops created by Jeremy Earl, which he eventually shared with bandmates Jarvis Taveniere and John Andrews. Recording sessions were initiated at Earl’s home studio in New York before transplanting to the scenic Panoramic House in Stinson Beach, California where their last album, 2020’s Strange To Explain, was also recorded. Switching instruments, the three musicians jammed over Earl’s loops, creating the foundations of the 11 tracks that make up Perennial.

“Perennial plants and flowers are nature’s loops,” said Earl.

Bahamas – Bootcut

Bahamas, the nom-de-plume of Canadian singer-songwriter Afie Jurvanen, adds the classic country sound to his genre-defying music on his new album, Bootcut. The 11-track follow-up to 2020’s Sad Hunk was recorded at Nashville’s Sound Emporium with producers Robbie Lackritz (Feist, Jack Johnson, Alvvays) and Dan Knobler (Allison Russell, Rodney Crowell). Jurvanen recruited an impressive array of Nashville-based musicians to contribute to the LP including guitarist Vince Gill, harmonica player Mickey Raphael, pedal steel guitarist Russ Pahl, bassist Dave Roe, mandolinist Sam Bush, keyboardist Jen Gunderman and drummer Jon Radford. Jurvanen discussed the impressive group of contributors, stating:

“I love being the weakest link in the room, in terms of being a musician. I mean, I feel quite confident in what I’m able to do in any sort of musical situation, but at the same time, I never want to be the Michael Jordan in the room. I might be the Steve Kerr. It’s just nice to have other players in the room who are just so obviously heavy, and that’s what they do. They’re not the songwriter, they’re the bass player. The guy shows up, and he always nails it and just makes everyone play better. And when you have a room full of people like that, it really just elevates everything.”

Stephen Marley – Old Soul

Stephen Marley offered his first full-length project since 2016 today. Old Soul boasts an impressive array of guests including Eric Clapton, Bobby Weir & Wolf Bros, Jack Johnson, Ziggy Marley, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, Buju Banton and Slightly Stoopid. Marley captured most of the music on Old Soul during the COVID lockdown in a new studio on a remote family farm in the Florida countryside with a stripped-down ensemble. The album contains original songs as well as covers including his father Bob Marley’s “I Shot The Sheriff” along with classic tunes by The Beatles, Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra and more.

On the eclectic song selection Stephen said, “You have to be true to yourself. I refuse to be put into any category. I am inspired by everything. So if I feel like I want to play some jazz music, I will go play some jazz music. Who dig it, dig it.”

Jim Lauderdale & The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys – The Long And Lonesome Letting Go

Veteran singer-songwriter Jim Lauderdale’s 36th album is a collaborative effort with bluegrass outfit The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys. Released today, The Long And Lonesome Letting Go features 12 songs co-written by Lauderdale. Half of the songs were co-written with Po’ Ramblin’ Boys guitarist Josh Rinkel. Other co-writers included Becky Buller, Joe Newberry, Jimmy Ritchey, Logan Ledger and Alex Leach. The title track, which opens the album, was co-written by Lauderdale and Bob Minner and features bluegrass legend Del McCoury, marking the first time Lauderdale and McCoury have recorded together.

“Po’ Ramblin’ Boys just really speak to and resonate with me,” Lauderdale stated. “I hear so much of the great traditional bluegrass sound in them and it makes me so happy to see a younger band of their generation carrying the style forward so well. They’re all so great in what they all do, both individually and as a performing band. I’ve always been blown away by them, so I was just very excited that they were interested in collaborating with me.”

Joshua Redman – where are we

Joshua Redman makes his Blue Note debut with where are we, which is also the acclaimed saxophonist’s first vocal album. Redman recorded where we are with featured singer Gabrielle Cavassa, pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Joe Sanders and drummer Brian Blade. Additional guest players making appearances include vibraphonist Joel Ross, trumpeter Nicholas Payton and guitarists Kurt Rosenwinkel and Peter Bernstein. Redman previewed the geographical album with the lead single “Chicago Blues” — a mashup of Count Basie’s “Goin’ to Chicago” with Sufjan Stevens’ “Chicago” that features Ross. Redman shared the following regarding the album’s concept:

“The surface concept of where are we is rather simple: each of the songs on the album is about, or at least makes reference to, a specific geographical location (city or state or region) in the United States: Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Streets of Philadelphia,’ Count Basie’s ‘Going To Chicago,’ Rodgers & Hart’s ‘Manhattan,’ John Coltrane’s ‘Alabama,’ etc… So, on one level, this is an album ‘about’ America — at once a celebration and a critique. But it is also, to varying degrees, a ballads album, a standards album, an album of romantic longing, an album of social reflection, an album of melodic invention, an album of improvisational adventure, an album of mashups, perhaps even a tribute album of sorts.

“The magic of this particular gathering of musicians was that we were able to come together from points afar, to converge (physically and creatively) in a particular place at a particular time; and to embrace, with fullest imagination and without slightest reservation, the ethic of ‘serving the songs.’ In this sense, where are we is perhaps above all a meditation on the power and importance of place — the unique human beauty created when we locate ourselves in shared physical spaces together with others; the loss, anomie, and angst suffered when we divide ourselves unnaturally and unjustly apart.”

Explosions In The Sky – End

Instrumental post-rock band Explosions In The Sky return with a new album entitled End. The eight-song set out today on Temporary Residence is the Austin, Texas-based quartet’s first album since 2016’s The Wilderness and follows their 2021 Big Bend soundtrack album. Produced by John Congleton and the band — Chris Hrasky, Michael James, Munaf Rayani and Mark Smith — despite its title, End does not signal a conclusion. Instead, the band’s statement regarding the new record explains it is a new beginning:

“Our starting point was the concept of an ending — death, or the end of a friendship or relationship. Every song comes from a story, or an idea one of us has had that we’ve all expanded on and made its own world. Maybe it’s our nature, but we kept feeling that the album title was ultimately open to a lot more interpretation — the end of a thing or a time can mean a stop, but it can also mean a beginning, and what happens after one thing ends might pale in comparison to what it becomes next.”

Jack Johnson – Songs For Maui

Hawaii native Jack Johnson’s efforts to provide assistance to Maui after recent deadly wildfires devastated the island include today’s release of a live album recorded there several years ago. Songs For Maui features Johnson’s performance at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center’s Castle Theater while on a Hawaiian Islands Tour in 2012. The 10-track record features Hawaii’s own Paula Fuga and John Cruz. Fuga and Cruz will also join Johnson and his band for an intimate benefit concert on September 18 at The Republik in Honolulu with 100% of the proceeds from Songs For Maui and The Republik concert benefiting fire relief efforts and ongoing aid for Maui. Johnson issued the statement below regarding the live album:

“All our love is going to our friends and family on Maui right now. As we began to brainstorm ways we could support the community, we found tracks from an acoustic show from 2012 that Paula, John and I played at the MACC on Maui. While listening to the songs we thought back to the time we spent that spring, both on stage but also bonding with our Maui ‘ohana. We know it will be a long road ahead. We hope the positive energy from this show can carry on to help raise funds and support families in need. Aloha, Jack”

Stephen Wilson Jr. – søn of dad

Southern Indiana-born, Nashville-based artist Stephen Wilson Jr. released his debut double album, søn of dad, on Big Loud Records. The album’s arrival is exactly five years to the day of the death of his father, Stephen Wilson Sr., an auto-body mechanic and single father who raised two sons and a daughter. Like his two-time Indiana State Golden Gloves Champion father, the younger Wilson is a boxer. Wilson Jr. also holds a degree in microbiology and chemistry from Middle Tennessee State University. Leaving his job as a lab scientist and landing in Nashville, Wilson Jr. scored a publishing deal that led to his songs being performed by Brothers Osborne, Caitlyn Smith, Old Dominion and others. Represented through 22 tracks, søn of dad presents his self-proclaimed “Death Cab For Country” approach to songwriting and recording.

“You don’t have to put Jr. after your name. It’s an optional suffix. But it is very powerful,” Wilson said. “It carries a lot of weight in the sport of boxing, because it means you’re an extension of your father. I’m an artist now , but when I see my name on a show poster, I still look at it like a fight card. My first stage wasn’t a stage at all, it was a boxing ring.”

Compiled by Scott Bernstein, Nate Todd and Andy Kahn.

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