Release Day Picks: October 4th New Album Highlights
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 Wilco, North Mississippi Allstars, The Avett Brothers, Old Crow Medicine Show, Los Lobos, Bill Frisell, Angel Olsen and Kelsey Waldon. Read on for more insight into the records we have all queued up to spin.
Wilco – Ode To Joy
The Scoop: Twenty five years after Wilco formed out of the ashes of Uncle Tupelo, the band is still going strong. Wilco’s 11th studio album, Ode To Joy is out today via their dBpm Records label. Frontman Jeff Tweedy wrote all 11 songs on the LP, which comes out after the group took an extended hiatus from live performances that spanned all of 2018 and ended in June. The group recorded the album at their famed Loft space in Chicago earlier this year. “I think it is something worth acknowledging and working to accept in order to avoid dismissing joy and friendship and our communities because to me that’s the thing we’re fighting for,” Tweedy told KEXP about the decision to name the album Ode To Joy. “We’re fighting to preserve that world and share it and promote it as something that everybody should be able to have.”
North Mississippi Allstars – Up And Rolling
The Scoop: North Mississippi Allstars are back with Up And Rolling via New West Records. Brothers Cody Dickinson and Luther Dickinson recorded and produced the album at The Zebra Ranch, the recording studio founded by their late father, the legendary Jim Dickinson, in Independence, Mississippi. The new LP features guest contributions from Mavis Staples, Jason Isbell, Duane Betts, Cedric Burnside and Sharde Thomas. Up And Rolling sees the roots-rock group returning to those roots with the help of their friends. NMA covers The Staple Singers’ 1965 track “What You Gonna Do?” with Mavis Staples herself and also “Mean Old World,” a song Jim Dickinson recorded with Eric Clapton and Duane Allman during the Layla sessions. NMA’s version features guitarists Jason Isbell and Duane Betts.
The Avett Brothers – Closer Than Together
The Scoop: The Avett Brothers return with Closer Than Together out now on American/Republic Records. It’s the follow up to their Grammy-nominated 2106 album True Sadness. The Avetts teamed back up with renowned producer Rick Rubin for Closer Than Together, their fifth collaboration overall, and prefaced the LP with the single “High Steppin.’” As described in a letter penned by Seth Avett, Closer Than Together is at once an album of reflection on the wider world as well as an introspective look on how that world has affected the group on an individual level. “The Avett Brothers will probably never make a sociopolitical record,” Seth Avett wrote. “But if we did, it might sound something like this.”
Old Crow Medicine Show – Live At The Ryman
The Scoop: Old Crow Medicine Show has a long and illustrious history of performing at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville that dates back to 2001. In 2005, the group started headlining the venue and have played The Ryman on New Year’s Eve since 2009. Live At The Ryman, available on Columbia Records via The Orchard, features highlights from the group’s headlining performances at the venue. Among the 11 tracks on the LP are OCMS classics and new gems such as “Wagon Wheel,” “Take ‘Em Away” and “Sweet Amarillo” as well as covers that nod to The Ryman’s past including “CC Rider,” “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” and “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man.”
Los Lobos – Llegó Navidad
The Scoop: East L.A. legends Los Lobos enter the world of holiday music with Llegó Navidad. Sourced from 150 Christmas songs from North, Central and South America, the new album features a total of 12 tracks. The band, which consists of David Hidalgo, Louie Pérez, Cesar Rosas, Conrad Lozano and Steve Berlin, also recorded a new original, “Christmas And You,” which was written by Hidalgo and Pérez.
Bill Frisell – Harmony
The Scoop: Renowned guitarist Bill Frisell makes his Blue Note Records debut with his new album, Harmony. Frisell’s longtime collaborator Lee Townsend produced the record that was recorded with Tucker Martine at his Flora Recording facility in Portland, Oregon. Joining Frisell for the sessions were fiddler/vocalist Petra Haden, vocalist/cellist Hank Roberts and multi-instrumentalist Luke Bergman. The project was born from Frisell’s receiving the first Freshgrass Composition Commission, which resulted in “Frisell creat[ing] a 90-minute concert that freely ranged across the American folk cannon, blending original material with eloquent and novel reimaginings of everything from Pete Seeger’s ‘Where Have All the Flowers Gone’ to the early 19th century traditional piece ‘Oh Shenandoah.’ The results were achingly beautiful. Harmony premiered at the Strand Theater in San Francisco in November of 2016 and went on to tour the country,” including a performance at the 2017 FreshGrass Festival at MASS MoCA.
Angel Olsen – All Mirrors
The Scoop: Singer-songwriter Angel Olsen recorded a stripped-down solo version of her “vulnerable” new album All Mirrors in Anacortes, Washington with producer Michael Harris. Initially intending to release two versions of the album, Olsen then worked with producer John Congleton, arranger Jherek Bischoff, multi-instrumentalist/arranger/pre-producer Ben Babbitt and a 14-piece orchestra to record the planned second version of All Mirrors. After the second sessions were held, Olsen decided she “needed to separate these two records and release All Mirrors in its heaviest form,” scrapping the planned dual release follow-up to 2016’s My Woman. “It was impossible for me to deny how powerful and surprising the songs had become,” Olsen stated. “The truth is that I may have never allowed this much sonic change in the first place had I not already made an account of the same songs in their purest form.”
Kelsey Waldon – White Noise/White Lines
The Scoop: Singer-songwriter Kelsey Waldon considers John Prine one of her heroes, so she was thrilled when Prine recruited her for his Oh Bay Records label. Kelsey’s Oh Boy debut, White Noise/White Lines, features 10 songs written by the Kentucky native as well as a cover of Ola Belle Reed’s “My Epitaph.” Waldon is backed by her touring band of Mike Khalil, Alec Newnam, Nate Felty and Brett Resnick on the release, which she co-produced with Dan Knobler. The ensemble recorded White Noise/White Lines at Goosehead Palace in Nashville. “It’s hard for me to put into words what it truly means to me to be signed to Oh Boy Records,” explained Waldon of her role as the label’s first new artist signing in 15 years. “To have someone like John, who I have looked up to my whole life, who I have set my songwriting standards after and my general music making standards after, to have someone like him endorse my music and care enough about it to make sure it reaches a wider audience…that means everything.”
Compiled by Scott Bernstein, Nate Todd and Andy Kahn.