Release Day Picks: August 28th 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 Mike Gordon & Leo Kottke, Toots and the Maytals, The Avett Brothers, The Allman Betts Band, Molly Tuttle, Angel Olsen, Josh Ritter, Colter Wall, Black Pumas and Shovels & Rope. Read on for more insight into the records we have all queued up to spin.
Mike Gordon & Leo Kottke – Noon
The Scoop: A long and fruitful musical relationship between Phish guitarist Mike Gordon and acclaimed fingerstyle guitarist Leo Kottke continues to bear fruit 18 years after their 2002 collaborative debut, Clone. The pair today issues Noon via ATO Records, their first studio album together since 2005’s Sixty Six Steps. Mike and Leo recorded a mix of each other’s songs and covers of Prince’s “Alphabet St.” and The Byrds’ “Eight Miles High” for the 11-track LP. Jared Slomoff produced Noon, which was tracked during sessions in New Orleans and Vermont. Contributors include Mike’s Phish band mate, drummer Jon Fishman as well as pedal steel guitarist Brett Lanier and cellist Zoe Keating. “The vibe is very different from the other two albums,” explained Gordon. “I was hearing a darkness in the material Leo was bringing, and some of the material that I wanted to bring, that I thought just reflected going through 10 more years of life. There are overdubs, but it’s still more like you’re in a cafe or a living room with these two guys. And even when we had drums, we wanted to maintain that feeling.”
Toots & The Maytals – Got To Be Tough
The Scoop: Frederick “Toots” Hibbert signed to the Trojan Jamaica record label prior to the release of the 24th Toots & The Maytals album, Got To Be Tough. The first new music from the reggae icon since 2010’s Flip And Twist, was produced by Toots, who also played several instruments on the album. Trojan Jamaica co-founder Zak Starkey played guitar on the album, and Starkey’s father, The Beatles’ legend Ringo Starr, also made a guest appearance. Others contributing to the ablum include one half of Sly and Robbie, Sly DunbarCyril Neville on percussion and horn section performing arrangments written by Toots. A cover of Bob Marley’s classic “Three Little Birds” features Marley’s son Ziggy Marley.
The Avett Brothers – The Third Gleam
The Scoop: The Avett Brothers release the third installment in their Gleam series today via Loma Vista Recordings. The Third Gleam sees The Avetts getting back to their roots, with Scott Avett and Seth Avett returning to their trio format with longtime bass player Bob Crawford. But one thing that remains the same is Scott and Seth’s candor in their music and message. “The Third Gleam was finished before a virus and its carnage swept through humankind in the spring of 2020,” Scott and Seth shared in an album announcement video. “It was finished before the most recent injustices against black lives inspired outrage and a much-needed call for social reform and revolution. Through the fever pitch of fear over the pandemic, outcry in the wake of widely observable bigotry, and mourning over the death caused by both, we are united in conflict…put to task in the arenas of our fortitude, our morality, indeed the strength of our own souls, individually and collectively. It is a time of heightened experience; heightened response; heightened resolve. If you are reading or hearing this statement now, you are a part of it.” The sentiment expressed above is echoed sonically on tracks like “Back Into The Light” and “I Go To My Heart” proving once again that The Avett Brothers practice what they preach.
The Allman Betts Band – Bless Your Heart
The Scoop: The Allman Betts Band didn’t waste time getting to work on the follow-up to their 2019 debut studio album, Down To The River. Led by Devon Allman and Duane Betts, today the band issues Bless Your Heart via BMG less than 15 months after their first LP came out. The 13-track Bless Your Heart was recorded mainly at the famed Muscle Shoals Sound Studio with extra tracking held in Memphis and St. Louis. Devon and Duane are joined in the seven-piece ABB by bassist Berry Duane Oakley, guitarist Johnny Stachela, keyboardist John Ginty, percussionist R. Scott Bryan and drummer John Lum. “I think we definitely challenged ourselves, pushed ourselves artistically, and widened the spectrum on all levels. We wanted something that was a little more sweeping. A deeper experience,” noted Duane Betts. “I hope what people hear on Bless Your Heart is a band that’s having a love affair with being a band,” added Devon Allman.
Molly Tuttle – …but i’d rather be with you
The Scoop: When the COVID-19 pandemic began in March after a devastating tornado tore through East Nashville, Nashville-based musician Molly Tuttle took solace in song. Tuttle set about recording an album of covers to “remind [herself] why I love music.” The resulting collection, …but i’d rather be with you is out today via Compass Records. Molly taught herself Pro Tools and recorded and engineered her portions before sending the results to L.A.-based producer Tony Berg. Tony recruited a band of acclaimed studio musicians to contribute to a diverse array of tunes from the likes of the Grateful Dead, Rancid, Yusuf/Cat Stevens, The National and more including keyboardist Patrick Warren and drummer Matt Chamberlain. Guest vocals were provided by Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith and Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show. “I have been working on writing for another original album and am still planning to record that this year,” Tuttle revealed, “but in the meantime I wanted to share these covers that have lifted my spirits, in hopes that you’ll find some much-needed joy as well.”
Angel Olsen – Whole New Mess
The Scoop: Angel Olsen’s new album features just her voice and guitar, marking her first truly solo LP since 2012. Whole New Mess features 11 tracks including reworked versions of nine songs that appeared on 2019’s All Mirrors. Olsen recorded the Jagjaguwar release at “The Unknown” in Anacortes, Washington — a Catholic church converted by Mount Eerie’s Phil Elverum and producer Nicholas Wilbur into a studio. “I hadn’t been to The Unknown, but I knew about its energy. I wanted to go sit with the material and be with it in a way that felt like a residency,” Angel Olsen said of the facility. She was joined during the process by Michael Harris. “I didn’t need a lot, since it was just me and a guitar. But I wanted someone else there to hold me accountable for trying different things,” Olsen explained of the decision to work with Harris.
Josh Ritter – See Here, I Have Built You A Mansion
The Scoop: Josh Ritter offers up his EP, See Here, I Have Built You A Mansion today. The eight-song collection contains rare and previously unreleased songs from the acclaimed singer-songwriter including lead single “Time Is Wasting,” which Ritter wrote for a film. While it wasn’t used, Josh found new meaning in the tune during the isolation of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. The track “Miles Away” is also infinitely relatable in a quarantined world. Additionally, the EP contains a cover of Dire Straits’ “Brothers In Arms” — one of Ritter’s favorite Mark Knopfler songs — and a tune called “Be of Good Heart” Ritter originally penned for Joan Baez. “Heaven Knows” sees renowned multi-instrumentalist Josh Kaufman (Bonny Light Horseman, Muzz) on slide guitar and the collection also features a live take on “Lawrence, Kansas” — from Ritter’s 2008 album Golden Age Of Radio — recorded in the titular Kansas college town.
Colter Wall – Western Swing & Waltzes And Other Punchy Songs
The Scoop: Canadian-singer-songwritre Colter Wall self-produced his third album, Western Swing & Waltzes and Other Punchy Songs which is out today through La Honda Records/Thirty Tigers. The follow-up to Wall’s Dave Cobb-produced 2018 album, Songs Of The Plains, was recorded at Yellow Dog Studios in Wimberley, Texas. Wall enlisted his touring band for the sessions, which is made up of Patrick Lyons (pedal steel, dobro, mandolin), Jake Groves (harmonica), Jason Simpson (bass) and Aaron Goodrich (drums). Guest musicians Emily Gimble (piano) and Doug Moreland (fiddle) aslo contributred to the record. The 10-track release features five new Colter Wall originals alongside covers including “Cowpoke” by Stanley Davis Jones, “High & Mighty” by Lewis Martin Pederson, “Big Iron” by Marty Robbins and the traditional tunes “Diamond Joe” and “I Ride An Old Paint” / “Leavin’ Cheyenne.”
Black Pumas – Black Pumas (Deluxe Edition)
The Scoop: Much has changed in the world of Black Pumas since the duo of Eric Burton and Adrian Quesada issued their self-titled debut studio album just over a year ago. Now, after Grammy and Americana Honors nominations and sales of over 150K copies, the pair give Black Pumas the deluxe edition treatment. The 2-LP deluxe edition contains the original 10-track album in addition to a slew of bonus tracks. Black Pumas’ bonus tracks include three previously unreleased originals, a trio of in-studio versions of tracks from the album, a live version of “Know You Better” and a handful of covers including takes on the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby,” Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” and “Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City” by Bobby “Blue” Bland.
Shovels & Rope – By Blood (Deluxe Edition)
The Scoop: Wife/husband duo of Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent had plans to tour this year in further support of their latest Shovels & Rope album, last year’s By Blood. The shows billed as “An Evening With Shovels & Rope” were set to feature the couple performing “a stripped-down set of songs in intimate settings from their body of work.” With touring on hold for now due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the pair utilized their home studio to revisit some of the songs on By Blood. Those acoustic recordings are included on the deluxe edition of the album, which features their stripped-down arrangements of “Come On Utah!,” “The Wire,” “I’m Comin’ Out,” “Mississippi Nuthin’” and “Carry Me Home.”
Compiled by Scott Bernstein, Nate Todd and Andy Kahn.