Release Day Picks: August 14th New Album Highlights

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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 Bruce Hornsby, Arlo McKinley, Whitney, Kathleen Edwards, Twisted Pine, and Jerry Garcia & John Kahn. Read on for more insight into the records we have all queued up to spin.


Bruce Hornsby – Non-Secure Connection

The Scoop: Bruce Hornsby returns with new album Non-Secure Connection, the follow up to his critically-acclaimed 2019 LP, Absolute Zero. Both albums represent a paradigm shift of sorts for the legendary singer-songwriter and pianist which began when he composed film music for Spike Lee. Hornsby builds on this new aesthetic with Non-Secure Connection, which sees him addressing themes as wide raining as “civil rights to computer hackers, mall salesmen and the Darwinian aspects of AAU basketball.” Bruce — who produced much of the album — brings in a slew of guest artists to help him expand on said themes. The record features additional production from Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Brad Cook (Sharon Van Etten, Hiss Golden Messenger) Wayne Pooley (Bon Iver, Jack DeJohnette) and Tony Berg (Phoebe Bridgers, Andrew Bird, Aimee Mann). Additionally, Non-Secure Connection sees contributions from James Mercer on lead single “My Resolve” and the late great Leon Russell on “Anything Can Happen” (culled from a demo the iconic keyboardists recorded over 25 years ago). Hornsby co-wrote the title track and “Porn Hour” with Chip deMatteo and the song “Bright Star Cast” drew inspiration from James Weldon Johnson’s “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing.” Jamila Woods, Vernon Reid, Rob Moose, Hideaki Aomori of yMusic, The Orchestra of St. Hanks (Frost School/Univ. of Miami) and Hornsby’s longtime band The Noisemakers also contribute to the album.

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Arlo McKinley – Die Midwestern

The Scoop: Cincinnati-native Arlo McKinley was the final artist signed by John Prine and his son Jody Whelan to Oh Boy Records before Prine’s tragic death in April due to COVID-19. Oh Boy today releases McKinley’s 10-track debut studio album Die Midwestern. “John was reserved in his praise for songwriters,” said Whelan. “I played him a couple of Arlo’s songs and he heard ‘Bag Of Pills’ and said, “that’s a good song” which for him, was very high praise. He loved Arlo’s voice, this big guy with a sweet, soulful, gospel voice. He loved the dichotomy of the hard life lived, presented through such beautiful songs and John was very excited about the promise of the album’s release.” Arlo recorded the album with producer Matt Ross-Spang at the historic Sam Phillips Recording Service in Memphis. His band for the LP includes a number of musicians from Memphis including Ken Coomer, David Smith, Will Sexton, Rick Steff, Jessie Munson and Reba Russell.

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Whitney – Candid

The Scoop: WhitneyJulien Erlich and Max Kakacek — releases a covers collection today entitled, Candid, via Secret Canadian. The homage LP is the follow up to the Chicago-based duo’s sophomore album, Forever Turned Around. The record sees the band nodding to a bevy of their favorite songs and artists, some that exist outside the group’s musical comfort zone. Candid includes covers from David Byrne/Brian Eno (“Strange Overtones”) and SVW (“Rain”). Whitney also tapped Waxahatchee (Kate Crutchfield) for John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” Additionally,

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Kathleen Edwards – Total Freedom

The Scoop: Canadian singer-songwriter Kathleen Edwards took what she calls a “working sabatical” from her music career shortly after the release of her acclaimed 2012 album, Voyager. During that time she opened a successful restaurant in her hometown of Stittsville, Ottawa. Now, Edwards returns with her long-awaited follow-up album, Total Freedom, out today on Dualtone. The 11-song Total Freedom was co-produced by Edwards and her frequent collaborator, guitarist Jim Bryson, as well as Ian Fitchuk. Regarding her absence, Edwards stated:

I had no desire to write, no desire to play. It allowed me all the time and space I needed to even just enjoy listening to music again. There were so many times where, if I was thinking about my own writing or playing, my heart just wasn’t in it. I don’t want to write songs that are going to keep me in a dark place for two years. I didn’t have to carry a lot of the pressure of whatever course I was on previously … There’s a pressure sometimes to keep that ball rolling, and that’s what was so freeing about stopping altogether and starting again. I realized I’m entirely in control and deciding what my course of action is.


Twisted Pine – Right Now

The Scoop: Boston-based Twisted Pine move beyond their familiar bluegrass sound on their second full-length, Right Now. Elements of pop, funk and rock are found across the record’s 10 tracks. The album was co-produced by Dan Cardinal and the band — fiddler Kathleen Parks, mandolinist Dan Bui, bassist Chris Sartori and newcomer, Anh Phung on flute. Right Now was recorded in the Twisted Pine’s hometown at Dimension Sound in Jamaica Plain. The album contains a pair of covers, “Well, You Can Do It Without Me” by Father John Misty and “Come Along Judy” by Tex Logan. “[Right Now] is easier to feel than describe,” Sartori stated. “We’re rooted in bluegrass, continually inspired by explorers like Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, and Sierra Hull. Right Now takes this heritage into a new dimension. Our bluegrass is jazzy, our indie folk is poppy, our grooves are funky.”


Jerry Garcia & John Kahn – GarciaLive Volume 14: January 27th, 1986 The Ritz

The Scoop: The latest installment of the GarciaLive archival series features a Jerry Garcia and John Kahn acoustic performance. GarciaLive Volume 14: January 27th, 1986 The Ritz is out today on vinyl via Round Records following a digital release last month. The Grateful Dead guitarist and his longtime collaborator embarked on a short tour of the Northeast at the beginning of 1986 that included two nights at The Ritz in New York City on January 27, 1986. Both sets from the 27th are featured on GarciaLive Volume 14, which contains liner notes penned by Billy Strings.


Compiled by Scott Bernstein, Nate Todd and Andy Kahn.