Today’s New Albums: Tedeschi Trucks Band, Drive-By Truckers, Lettuce & More
Andrew Bird, Nicki Bluhm, Angel Olsen, The Suffers and The Blue Dogs also dropped new music today.
By Team JamBase Jun 3, 2022 • 6:21 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 Tedeschi Trucks Band, Drive-By Truckers, Lettuce, Andrew Bird, Nicki Bluhm, Angel Olsen, The Suffers and The Blue Dogs. Read on for more insight into the records we have all queued up to spin.
Tedeschi Trucks Band – I Am The Moon: I. Crescent
Out today from Tedeschi Trucks Band is I Am The Moon: I. Crescent, the first of four new studio albums due in the coming months. Each of the four I Am Moon installments will be accompanied by a companion visual put together by acclaimed filmmaker Alix Lambert. Crescent features five new originals, including the project’s title track and its lone instrumental, the sprawling “Pasaquan.”
Guitarist Derek Trucks handled production duties for I Am The Moon with longtime collaborator Bobby Tis recording and mixing. The Fantasy Records albums were tracked at Derek and Susan Tedeschi’s Swamp Raga home studio in Jacksonville, Florida in 2021. The material was penned collectively by the ensemble who took inspiration from Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi’s “Layla And Manjun” poem. It was the same poem that led Eric Clapton to the title Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs for the iconic 1970 Derek & The Dominos album.
“It’s amazing because we wrote most of this music in a pretty short time span,” explained Derek Trucks. “There are even chord changes that mirror other tunes – themes and variations, lyrical allusions, that pop back up. You always want to do something bigger and thematic. This is the first time it happened naturally.”
Drive-By Truckers – Welcome 2 Club XIII
Welcome 2 Club XIII is the Drive-By Truckers’ 14th studio album that arrived today via ATO Records. The nine-song LP serves as the follow-up to 2020’s The Unraveling and The New OK. Co-founding members Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley along with fellow DBT members, multi-instrumentalist Jay Gonzalez, bassist Matt Patton and drummer Brad Morgan, recorded Welcome 2 Club XIII over three days last summer. Margo Price, Mike Mills (R.E.M.) and Schaefer Llana contributed additional backing vocals. Longtime collaborator David Barbe was once again recruited to produce the album, which was made at his studio in Athens, Georgia. The new record took its title from the Muscle Shoals, Alabama club where Hood and Cooley honed their skills performing as part of the pre-DBT band Adam’s House Cat.
“There were no cool bars in town and Club XIII was the best we had, but it wasn’t all that good, and our band wasn’t particularly liked there,” Hood stated. “From time to time the owner would throw us a Wednesday night or let us open for a hair-metal band we were a terrible fit for, and everyone would hang out outside until we were done playing. It wasn’t very funny at the time, but it’s funny to us now.”
Lettuce – Unify
Lettuce is back with Unify, the funk collective’s new studio album that was self-produced by the band. Drummer Adam Deitch, saxophonist Ryan Zoidis, guitarist Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff, trumpeter Eric “Benny” Bloom, bassist Erick “Jesus” Coomes and keyboardist Nigel Hall recorded Unify at Colorado Sound Studios in Denver — the same facility where they recorded 2019’s Elevate and 2020’s Resonate — with Jesse O’Brien engineering the sessions. Guests on Unify include legendary Parliament Funkadelic bassist Bootsy Collins on vocals for “Keep That Funk Alive,” acclaimed Dumpstaphunk bassist Nick Daniels on “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” and Berklee professor Jeff Lockhart on guitar for “The Lock.” The roots of some of the songs on Unify can be traced back to the Elevate sessions. Those tunes and other material were fully fleshed out in the studio after the members spent time writing and doing pre-production from their respective homes while locked down due to COVID.
“Dealing with the pandemic, being in separate places, trying to survive without our best friends, without touring, not to mention the political divide in this country, we really needed to unify,” explained Deitch.
“This album came together at a time when we were away from each other longer than we had been in years,” added Zoidis.
Andrew Bird – Inside Problems
Andrew Bird is back with a new album, Inside Problems, which is out today via Loma Vista Recordings. Bird and his four-piece band cut most of the 11-track record live with Mike Viola handling production duties. Singer-songwriter Madison Cunningham also contributed vocals in one of the few overdubs on the album.
Inside Problems sees Bird delving into liminal spaces as well as the unseen. Andrew further detailed the new LP:
You just don’t know what’s under the surface, be it the land, the sea, our skin. You could be whistling away, projecting contentedness, when really there’s a swirling twisted mess underneath. Looking up, there’s the knowable universe but unless you get into astrology, you’ll find the stars don’t owe us anything and you’re left less assured than when we thought gods threw down lightning bolts. ‘Underlands’ introduces an album that deals with the unseen underneath and the membrane that separates your outside problems from your inside problems.
The song “Underlands” Bird mentioned arrived as a single in April following March’s “Atomized.” Bird also put out “Make A Picture” in May.
Nicki Bluhm – Avondale Drive
Singer-songwriter Nicki Bluhm returns with Avondale Drive, the follow-up to her 2018 studio album, To Rise You Gotta Fall. Bluhm recorded the 10-track LP, which arrives today, in East Nashville. Jesse Noah Wilson both produced and contributed to Avondale Drive. Nicki also enlisted A.J. Croce, Karl Denson, Oliver Wood, James Pennebaker, Jay Bellerose, Jen Condos, Eric Slick, Kai Welch, Richard Millsap and Erin Rae to lend their talents to the Compass Records release.
“This album is a lot about building trust back in myself. Finding my own inner compass and aligning it to my authentic self,” revealed Bluhm. “When you go through a lot of trauma, divorce, estrangement… you learn that you don’t have to repeat the patterns of the past or continue to identify with the old story.”
Angel Olsen – Big Time
Angel Olsen released her new album Big Time today via Jagjaguwar. The singer-songwriter and guitarist co-produced the LP’s 10 tracks with Jonathan Wilson at his Fivestar Studios in Topanga, California. Angel’s longtime bandmate Emily Elhaj handled bass on the record while multi-instrumentalist Drew Erickson contributed piano, organ and string arrangements.
Olsen wrote Big Time at an intersection in her life “when both fresh grief and fresh love occur,” as per press materials for the album, “written during the time Olsen was coming out as queer, and having her first experience of queer love and heartbreak,” the press release continued. “But this brightness and optimism is tempered by a profound and layered sense of loss; both of Olsen’s parents passed within weeks of each other, just after Olsen came out to them.”
Angel previewed Big Time with the title track, “All The Good Times” and “Through The Fires.” A short film accompanying the album directed by Kimberly Stuckwisch also premiered yesterday.
The Suffers – It Starts With Love
A new album from Houston-based soul outfit The Suffers arrived today. The 13-track LP boasts mixing from Black Pumas’ Adrian Quesada, who also transferred the sessions to analog tape, and mastering from Chris Longwood (Khruangbin, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic).
“It Starts With Love tackles issues of racism, misogyny and the music industry, while at the same time chronicling growth, evolution and self-acceptance,” press materials for the LP noted. Frontwoman Kam Franklin also detailed the new album:
“I wanted to make a record that sounded like Houston to me,” Franklin said. “You’ve got the hard edges and tough exteriors and hip-hop swagger, but then you’ve also got the sounds of the choir and the soulfulness and even a little bit of twang. I wanted to make something beautiful out of hardship.”
The Suffers teamed up with Son Little and Bryce The Third for It Starts With Love track, “How Do We Heal, as well as Sweedish producer and longtime collaborator Johan Karlberg for “Don’t Bother Me.” The album also sees contributions from Sugar Joiko and The Vapor Caves.
The Blue Dogs – Big Dreamers
Charleston, South Carolina-based rock band The Blue Dogs released their first album in 16 years, Big Dreamers. Headed up by guitarist Bobby Houck and bassist Hank Futch, who co-founded The Blue Dogs in 1987, the album sees the pair joined by longtime drummer Greg Walker, as well as guitarist Dan Hood and pedal steel guitarist Charlie Thompson. Former member Phillip Lammonds is credited with co-writing several of the songs on the 11-track LP. “That’s How I Knew,” was written by Houck, Jay Clementi and Radney Foster, the latter is also featured on the recording. Charleston singer-songwriter Finnegan Bell appears on the song “The Good Road,” and dobro master Jerry Douglas contributed to the track “The Road You Don’t.” The long-awaited album was produced by guitarist and fellow Charleston native Sadler Vaden, who did a stint with The Blue Dogs and currently is a member of Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit.
“I have a history with these guys,” Vaden stated. “They used to hire me when I was 18 or 19 years old to play with them. I’ve always admired their sound, even on their albums before I started playing with them, but this record represents the best part of The Blue Dogs in my mind. It’s a return to form that also brings out the highlights of their last record. Some things are polished and some things are a little more raw.
Compiled by Scott Bernstein, Nate Todd and Andy Kahn.