Today’s New Albums: Yonder Mountain String Band, Tears For Fears, Judy Collins & More
Fruition, Swamp Dogg, Band of Heathens and The Wooks also have new albums out today.
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 Yonder Mountain String Band, Tears For Fears, Judy Collins, Robert Glasper, Fruition, Swamp Dogg, Band of Heathens and The Wooks. Read on for more insight into the records we have all queued up to spin.
Yonder Mountain String Band – Get Yourself Outside
Get Yourself Outside is the new studio album from veteran jamgrass outfit Yonder Mountain String Band. Get Yourself Outside began with online sessions held remotely by the band members during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. The group assembled after nine months apart at Cinder Sound Studio in Gunbarrel, Colorado for sessions with co-producer/engineer John McVey. The 11-track LP, which takes its title from a lyric in the song “Suburban Girl,” is the band’s first recorded with mandolinist Nick Piccininni, who joined his bandmates, guitarist Adam Aijala, banjoist Dave Johnston, bassist Ben Kaufmann and fiddler Allie Kral.
“Nick is an incredibly talented multi-instrumentalist,” Aijala stated. “He’s also a great singer with a magnetic stage presence. And he’s in such a creative space right now, something that has brought a whole new vibe and dynamic to the band. But, at the same time, it’s such a natural fit, where he hits that sweet spot of the Yonder Mountain sound we’ve come to be known for.”
Tears For Fears – The Tipping Point
1980s pop icons Tears For Fears have released their first album in 17 years, The Tipping Point. The duo of Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith previously reunited in 2004 for the album, Everybody Loves A Happy Ending. In the nearly two decades since its release, Orzabal and Smith went through several years of conflict, resulting in a change of management that ultimately helped ease the tension between the two musicians. The Tipping Point sees Orzabal and Smith again working with longtime collaborator Charlton Pettus and producers and songwriters Sacha Skarbek and Florian Reutter.
“Before everything went so right with this album, everything first had to go wrong,” Orzabal said. “It took years, but something happens when we put our heads together. We’ve got this balance, this push-me-pull-you thing – and it works really well.”
“If that balance doesn’t work on a Tears For Fears album, the whole thing just doesn’t work,” Smith added. “To put it in simple terms, a Tears For Fears record and what people perceive to be the sound of Tears For Fears – is the stuff we can both agree on.”
Judy Collins – Spellbound
1960s folk legend Judy Collins adds to her remarkable catalog, her first album consisting of entirely original material, Spellbound. The singer-songwriter’s 29th album was co-produced by the 82-year-old Collins and Alan Silverman. Collins also worked with frequent collaborator, singer-songwriter and guitarist Ari Hest, as well as multi-instrumentalist Thad DeBrock, bassist Zev Katz and drummer Doug Yowell. Spellbound, which Collins dedicated to fellow folk giants Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie, arose from Collins’ practice of writing a poem a day that began in 2016 and became the source of several songs on the album. Additional songwriting took place during the downtime resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“They say after the plague came the Renaissance,” Collins said. “Now felt like the perfect time to make this record because, after all that’s happened in the world, we need something beautiful and inspirational to lift us up … I always knew I was going to be a late bloomer.”
Robert Glasper – Black Radio III
A decade after the release of Black Radio, keyboardist Robert Glasper continues his series of albums that celebrate “Black joy, love and resilience” with the release of Black Radio III through Loma Vista Recordings. While Black Raido and its 2013 follow-up, Black Radio II were credited to the Robert Glasper Experiment, the third record was issued as a Glasper solo release. Though it is a “solo” album, Glasper once again is joined by an all-star roster of special guests. Those who can be heard across the LP’s 13 songs include Q-Tip, Common, Musiq Soulchild, Jennifer Hudson, Killer Mike, Ty Dolla $ign, Meshell Ndegeocello, India.Arie, Esperanza Spalding, Gregory Porter, BJ The Chicago Kid, Big K.R.I.T., Ledisi, H.E.R., Lalah Hathaway, PJ Morton, Ant Clemons, Amir Sulaiman, D Smoke, Yebba, Tiffany Gouch and Posdnuos. Glasper discussed Black Radio III with Vinyl Me Please, stating:
“Whenever I put a record out, I don’t really hope for a specific thing. I just hope this record does something for you. Whatever that thing is that you need. I hope this record can fill that void for you. Because a lot of times when I’m traveling, I get to hear what a record did for them. They could tell you a story versus something I might not ever see on IG. But I know if it’s a meet and greet or I’m walking down the street, somebody might come up to me and say, ‘Hey man, let me let you know, this record, so and so song, my mom was sick or we gave birth to the music or I was going to kill myself and that song came on.’ I’ve heard all these things. And so those things are important to me. Whatever this record can do for you, that you need at this specific time, that’s what I want it to do.”
Fruition – Live, Vol. 1
Fruition released their first live album today, Live, Vol. 1. The live recording comes from the Portland, Oregon-based band’s February 11, 2019 concert in Bosie, Idaho. The 13-track live LP features Fruition favorites like “Santa Fe,” “Fire,” “Mountain Annie” and more along with “Forget About You” which would later appear on the band’s 2019 album, Wild As The Night. Fruition previewed the record with a video for the Mimi Naja-fronted “I Don’t Mind,” which bassist Jeff Leonard captured for posterity after he began setting GoPro cameras up to film every show on the tour. As Thompson and the title suggest, Live, Vol. 1 is likely the first in a series of archival recordings from the hard-touring band.
“It was the end of a long tour, so we were definitely firing on all cylinders,” drummer and mixing engineer Tyler Thompson said of the recording. “Luckily, we didn’t even know the show was being recorded to multitrack, so the energy couldn’t be more honest and rowdy. It was so fun going back through these live tracks that it makes us feel there may be many more live albums in future.”
Swamp Dogg – I Need A Job… So I Can Buy More Autotune
Swamp Dogg, the moniker of veteran soul/R&B musician Jerry Williams, released his latest album, I Need A Job… So I Can Buy More Autotune, through Don Giovanni Records. Williams’ seven-decade career started in 1954 at age 12 when he made a recording as Little Jerry Williams. Some success came in the 1960s with his singles “I’m the Lover Man” and “Baby You’re My Everything.” Williams debuted his Swamp Dogg stage name in 1970 and released his album, Total Destruction to Your Mind. Nearly a half-century later, Swamp Dogg released Love, Loss, and Auto-Tune in 2018 and Sorry You Couldn’t Make It in 2020. Promotional materials regarding today’s release stated:
At 78, Swamp Dogg is as sharp of a singer and songwriter as ever. His raunchy yet charismatic sense of humor takes a more forward role on I Need a Job… So I Can Buy More Autotune, with earnestly delivered lyrics about all-day sex and an entire song dedicated to the perils of “Cheating in the Daylight.” Many of the record’s most charming moments emerge from the juxtaposition of Swamp’s left-field humor with genuine messages of love, such as “She Got That Fire,” which weaves descriptions of imagined sex acts, including but not limited to an encounter involving edible underwear, in between relatively wholesome proclamations like “she must be an angel on earth,” and “when she looks at you, it’s like sunshine from her eyes.” I Need a Job… does more than prove that Swamp’s still got it, it proves he’s still getting better.
Band Of Heathens – Remote Transmissions Vol. 1
Remote Transmissions Vol. 1 is the new guest-fused album from Band Of Heathens out now on their BOH Records imprint. The new album consists of 10 covers recorded during the Band Of Heathens’ Good Time Supper Club livestream series that started in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each episode saw BOH collaborate with other musicians on recordings of covers that now make up the new LP. Among the joint covers that appear on the album include “Joy” (Lucinda Williams) with Margo Price, “Rock And Roll Doctor” (Little Feat) with White Denim’s James Petralli, “Tumbling Dice” (Rolling Stones) with Nicki Bluhm, “Night Moves” (Bob Seger) with Butch Walker and “The Man In Me” (Bob Dylan) with Hayes Carll. Others who appear on the 10-song first volume are Ray Wylie Hubbard, Todd Snider, Robert Ellis, Mark Wystrach and Blackberry Smoke’s Charlie Starr
“It was nice to be able to use music as a connective thread and something that’s healing,” Band Of Heathens guitarist/vocalist Ed Jurdi said of both the livestream series and collaborative covers. “We were doing it for ourselves, but the greatest benefit was how it created this community for us to hang out with our fans.”
The Wooks – Flyin’ High
Nashville-based bluegrass outfit The Wooks are Flyin’ High with today’s release of their new studio album. The quartet consists of guitarist CJ Cain, mandolinist Harry Clark, banjoist George Guthrie and dobro player Allen Cooke. The new 12-track album was recorded over two sessions held with producer and bluegrass guitarist Jake Stargel at his Nashville home studio. The album, which is The Wooks first since 2018, was mastered by Tony Rice collaborator Bill Wolf.
“Jake recorded us way more live than I have ever gotten to record,” Cain stated. “This album has a lot of solos and vocals and all kinds of stuff that’s just the raw take. There’s no click track. We were trying to get a sound like Bela Fleck’s Drive album or Tony Rice’s work at Arch Studios with Bill Wolf. That live feeling. So much of bluegrass these days is almost autotuned and fixed to the point of perfection. We were trying to run away from that quickly as possible.”