Don’t Miss New Albums From The String Cheese Incident, Tyler Childers, Allison Russell, Jonathan Wilson & More
Blind Boys of Alabama, Courtney Barnett, James Blake and Heavy MakeUp also have new music out today, Friday, September 8.
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 The String Cheese Incident, Tyler Childers, Allison Russell, Jonathan Wilson, Blind Boys of Alabama, Courtney Barnett, James Blake and Heavy MakeUp. Read on for more insight into the records we have ready to spin.
The String Cheese Incident – Lend Me A Hand
The String Cheese Incident released their first studio album in six years, Lend Me A Hand, today via their own SCI Fidelity Records. The follow up to 2017’s Believe was produced by renowned musician and producer Brad Cook at SCI’s Sound Lab studio near Boulder, Colorado. Lend Me A Hand saw the band focusing more on songcraft and less on virtuosic play, something Cook emphasized. Lend Me A Hand was also an album of reflection for SCI as it was the first following the sudden death of longtime crew member and friend Jesse Aratow. The band paid tribute to Jesse on Lend Me A Hand with the song “One More Time.” Additional singles included the title track, “Eventually” and “Ain’t I Been Good To You.” Bassist Keith Moseley recalled the sessions in a recent interview with JamBase. Read an excerpt below:
“Brad said right off the bat, ‘everybody knows you guys can jam and play cool solos and are a great live show. But I want to make it like the listener is sitting in the living room with you and you’re playing the tunes for them.’
“[One of the] first things he did was he went thrift store shopping and brought in a bunch of lamps and turned off all the overhead lights and tried to vibe the place out. [He] brought in a few colored moving lights and he was all about creating a vibe from the start.”
Tyler Childers – Rustin’ In The Rain
Tyler Childers released a new album entitled Rustin’ In The Rain through Hickman Holler Records/RCA Records. Rustin’ In The Rain follows Childers’ 2022 triple LP, Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven?. The new album was produced by Childers and his longtime band The Food Stamps — pedal steel player James Barker, bassist Craig Burletic, guitarist CJ Cain, drummer Rodney Elkins, keyboardist Chase Lewis and guitarist/fiddler Jesse Wells and recorded at Dragline Studio in Huntington, West Virginia, where Can I Take My Hounds To Heaven? was recorded as well. The seven-track Rustin’ In The Rain features covers of Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It Through the Night” and S.G. Goodman’s “Space and Time.” Guest contributors include backing vocals from Goodman, Margo Price and Erin Rae on “Luke 2:8-10” and The Travelin’ McCourys’ mandolinist Ronnie McCoury, fiddler Jason Carter and bassist Alan Bartram on “Percheron Mules.”
“This is a collection of songs I playfully pieced together as if I was pitching a group of songs to Elvis,” Childers said. “Some covers, one co-write, and some I even wrote in my best (terrible) Elvis impersonation, as I worked around the farm and kicked around the house. I hope you enjoy listening to this album as much as I enjoyed creating it. Thank you. Thank you very much.”
Allison Russell – The Returner
Singer-songwriter Allison Russell issued a new album, The Returner, today through Fantasy Records. The album follows the multi-instrumentalist’s acclaimed 2021 solo debut album, Outside Child. Russell tapped dim star (her partner JT Nero and Drew Lindsay) to co-produce The Returner, which was recorded at Henson Recording Studios in Los Angeles during winter solstice week in December 2022. Russell, who plays banjo and clarinet on the album, is backed on The Returner by her “‘Rainbow Coalition’ band of all female musicians” consisting of Elenna Canlas (keyboards/synth, backing vocals), Elizabeth Pupo-Walker (percussion), Chauntee Ross (violin, backing vocals) & Monique Ross (cello, backing vocals) aka SistaStrings, Ganessa James (bass, backing vocals), Joy Clark (guitar), Kerenza Peacock (violin), Larissa Maestro (cello, backing vocals), Lisa Coleman (piano), Mandy Fer (guitar, backing vocals), Meg Coleman (drums), Meg McCormick (guitar), Wendy Melvoin (guitar, bass) and Wiktoria Bialic (drums). The Returner also features guest spots from Wendy & Lisa as well as Brandi Carlile, Brandy Clark and Hozier, who add vocals on closing track, “Requiem.” Russell detailed the new record:
“My goal with The Returner – sonically, poetically, and spiritually – is a radical reclamation of the present tense, a real time union of body, mind, and soul. This album is a much deeper articulation of rhythm, groove, and syncopation. Groove as it heralds the self back into the body, groove as it celebrates sensual and sexual agency and flowering, groove as an urgent call to action and political activism.
“In just a word, it’s funkier. But as is the history of anything funky, it’s never just a party. It is a multiverse of energies that merges the celebration and the battle cry. For while an embrace of the present tense is a celebration, it is equally an unquestioning leap into battle – cultural, political, environmental.”
Jonathan Wilson – Eat The Worm
Singer-songwriter Jonathan Wilson released Eat The Worm, via BMG. The renowned producer, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist produced and played most of the instruments on the 13-track follow-up to 2020’s Dixie Blur. Wilson, who is currently on tour as part of Roger Waters‘ band, recorded Eat The Worm at his own Fivestar Studios facility in California’s Topanga Canyon. Guitar, piano, drums and keyboards were among the instruments Wilson played in making his new album. Wilson recruited Jake Blanton (The Killers) on bass with string and horn sections featuring the likes of C.J. Camerieri (Bon Iver), Rita Andrade (Kanye West), Wynton Grant (Miley Cyrus, Hans Zimmer) and Paul Cartwright (Lana Del Rey, Mary J. Blige). Wilson, who worked on the album over the course of the past two years, described Eat The Worm by stating:
“There are a lot of details to the songs. I felt like this album was also time for me to expand my sound, so there are way more strings and horns than I’ve ever done before. I wanted to apply some of the sonic palette of some of the productions I’ve worked on to my own shit. There’s a lot of experimentation, and almost none of the songs started as me with a guitar. I really wanted something that sounded fresh and new.
“A lot of this batch of songs is a reaction to the production stuff that I do. I would be in the studio, doing long days with folks, and I’ll have some wild off-the-wall ideas and they’re like, ‘no, no, no, that sounds crazy, JW.’ So I would save them up for my album. I’m finally at a place to feel totally free to take chances and resist the urge to dumb things down. It’s got to be kind of strange.”
Blind Boys of Alabama – Echoes Of The South
Titled after the Birmingham, Alabama radio show that aired the Blind Boys Of Alabama’s first professional performance in 1944, Echoes Of The South is the acclaimed vocal group’s latest album, arriving today via Single Lock Records. The new release is the final album recorded by Ben Moore (1941-2022) and Paul Beasley (1944-2023), who died after the recording sessions. Echoes Of The South is also the final album recorded by 91-year-old Jimmy Carter who retired after recording the album at The Nutthouse in Sheffield, Alabama. The 11-track effort was produced by Matt Ross-Spang, Ben Tanner and Charles Driebe. Backing the Blind Boys, whose lineup also includes Ricky McKinnie, Rev. Julius Love and Joey Williams, were drummer Chad Gamble of Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit, keyboardist/guitarist Phil Cook (Brad’s brother), renowned bassist Dennis Crouch, and vocalist Kerry Gilbert. Williams also played electric guitar, Tanner played multiple instruments on a few tracks and Ross-Spang played electric guitar on “The Last Time” and “Paul’s Prayer.”
“The spirit of the Blind Boys isn’t about what you can’t do; it’s about what you can do,” McKinnie stated. “As long as we stay true to that, as long as we sing songs that touch the heart, this group will live on forever.”
Courtney Barnett – End Of The Day
Out today from Courtney Barnett is End Of The Day, an album consisting of 17 seamless improvisations which the Australian musician originally created to serve as part of the score for the 2021 film Anonymous Club. The Danny Cohen-directed movie described as “the antithesis of a rock biography” documents the period of Barnett’s career between the release of 2018’s Tell Me How You Really Feel and 2021’s Things Take Time, Take Time. Courtney Barnett entered the studio with drummer Stella Mozgawa and came up with the music for Anonymous Club while watching Cohen’s final edit of the flick. The pair then reworked the score to form a single piece of music.
Barnett described the process that led from the score to End Of The Day in an interview with The Music. “I found myself listening to the tracks for hours on end,” the guitarist explained, “and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to add new instrumentation, or how much I wanted to change. But in the end, Stella and I – and Cal Barter, who mixed the album – we just made a few minor adjustments and additions. It was a bit like a puzzle, I think, putting it all together in the end – just finding those transitions and figuring out how to make it all flow very naturally. I wanted all the songs to bleed into each other and not have a sense of pause or distraction in between them.”
James Blake – Playing Robots Into Heaven
British singer-songwriter and producer James Blake released his sixth studio album, Playing Robots Into Heaven, today via Republic and Polydor. The 11-track follow-up to his 2022 ambient album Wind Down is said to “hark back to his days releasing dance records via labels like Hessle Audio and R&S, and shows the singer-songwriter-polymath fully leaning into the club culture that he fell in love with during his late teenage years,” as per DIY Magazine.
Blake proclaimed the new record is “music for people stuck in the queue outside the club. Basically half of it’s when you’re stuck outside and half of it’s when you finally get in.” James Blake recorded the music on Playing Robots Into Heaven without any collaborators in contrast to past releases. Nine of the 11 tracks were written and produced solely by Blake with “Loading” and “Big Hammer” the only tracks with credit for other songwriters and producers.
Heavy MakeUp – Heavy MakeUp
Heavy MakeUp, the new group made up of Edie Brickell, CJ Camerieri and Trever Hagen, make their debut with today’s release of their self-titled album. The album follows the 2022 track “More and More,” which featured Brickell, of New Bohemians, joining Camerieri and Hagen’s project CARM. Camerieri, a trumpeter who his a member Brickell’s husband Paul Simon’s band, has also performed with the likes of Bon Iver, Sufjan Stevens, Ben Folds and Sting. Fellow trumpeter and electronic musician, Hagen has also performed with Bon Iver, as well as Mouse on Mars, Marijuana Deathsquads, Flock of Dimes, Aero Flynn and Banks. According to press materials:
Written and produced by the trio, Heavy MakeUp features 11 tracks filled with sonic exploration, capturing the artists’ improvisational spirit and shared curiosities through voice, synths, drum machines and brass.
Compiled by Scott Bernstein, Nate Todd and Andy Kahn.