Release Day Picks: September 14th 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 Willie Nelson, Medeski Martin & Wood & Alarm Will Sound, Richard Thompson, Marc Ribot, Erik Deutsch, Asleep At The Wheel, Hawkwind, The Jauntee, Magic In The Other and Blitzen Trapper. Read on for more insight into the records we have all queued up to spin.
Willie Nelson – My Way
The Scoop: Willie Nelson has a long-standing relationship with the Great American Songbook. The country music legend first dabbled with it for his critically-acclaimed 1978 release Stardust and again with 2016’s Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin. Nelson is revisiting the Great American Songbook one more time by putting his spin on a collection of standards and classics made famous by Frank Sinatra with My Way. Produced by Buddy Cannon and Matt Rollings, the 11-track effort finds Nelson tackling some of The Chairman Of The Board’s signature tunes like “Fly Me To The Moon,” “Summer Wind” and “Young At Heart” along with the record’s title track. Additionally, the album also sees Nelson once again teaming up with Norah Jones for a duet on “What Is This Thing Called Love.”
Medeski Martin & Wood with Alarm Will Sound – Omnisphere
The Scoop: Avant-improv-jazz trio Medeski Martin & Wood teamed with chamber orchestra Alarm Will Sound to create Omnisphere, which is out on MMW’s Indirecto Records label. Five of the collaborative LP’s songs are new original compositions prepared by members of both groups. The other two tracks are Alarm Will Sound’s reworked arrangments of “Anonymous Skulls” and “End of the World Party” from MMW’s 2004 album End Of The World Party (Just In Case). “The more we worked together, the more I realized how perfect this is,” said John Medeski. “How they are, for their universe, very much like us. We have a certain connection that’s like family and they’re like a family, so it’s like these two families coming together.”
Richard Thompson – 13 Rivers
The Scoop: Richard Thompson may not be as famous as some of his contemporaries, but he’s arguably one of the more influential artists of the last 50+ years. The singer, songwriter and guitarist is on the short list of “musician’s musicians” for his work in Fairport Convention, his string of albums with his now ex-wife Linda as well as his solo output. For his latest, Thompson along with Michael Jerome (drums, percussion), Taras Prodaniuk (bass) and Bobby Eichorn (guitar) set up shop at Los Angeles’ Boulevard Recording Studio. The results can be heard on the self-produced 13 Rivers a collection of songs that Thompson wrote during a dark time in his life. In a press release about the record, the musician explains,”They reflected my emotions in an oblique manner that I’ll never truly understand. It’s as if they’d been channeled from somewhere else. You find deeper meaning in the best records as time goes on. The reward comes later.”
Marc Ribot – Songs Of The Resistance 1942 – 2018
The Scoop: Guitarist Marc Ribot tapped an impressive roster of guests to augment his latest ANTI- Records release, Songs Of The Resistance 1942 – 2018. The protest album features Ribot joined by Tom Waits, Steve Earle, Meshell Ndegeocello, Sam Amidon, Justin Vivian Bond, Fay Victor, Tift Merritt and Ohene Cornelius. The 11 songs are a mix of new Ribot originals and traditional songs of protest. “I am alarmed by Trump and the movement he’s part of,” Ribot stated. “I’ve spent a good chunk of my life running around the world on tour — I’m kind of an accidental internationalist — and I see that he’s not an isolated phenomenon. And if we don’t deal with what is going on, it is going to deal with us.” Proceeds from the self-described “Anti-Trump” LP will be donated to the Indivisible Guide organization.
Erik Deutsch – Falling Flowers
The Scoop: Leftover Salmon keyboardist Erik Deutsch has collaborated with a who’s who of musical stars over the years including Steven Bernstein, Rosanne Cash, Nels Cline, Charlie Hunter, Shooter Jennings and Norah Jones. Yet Deutsch strikes a balance in his career by continuing to write, record and release his own music. Erik’s latest album Falling Flowers is out today on LoHi Records and finds him leading a band that features Mike McGinnis on saxophone and clarinet, trombonist Brian Dyre, guitarist Avi Bortnick, bassist Jesse Murphy and drummer Tony Mason. The nine-track effort was recorded at Brooklyn’s Trout Recording with engineers Bryce Goggin and Adam Sachs. Guitarist Scott Metzger guests on the title track and “Big Bongos,” while Erik’s LoS band mate Andy Thorn adds banjo to the title track and “Ghostfeather.”
Asleep At The Wheel – New Routes
The Scoop: The 11-track New Routes marks the first album of new material by Asleep At The Wheel in more than 10 years. The venerable country act consistently led by frontman Ray Benson has seen more than 100 members pass through its ranks and currently features Katie Shore on fiddle and vocals, Eddie Rivers on steel guitar and saxophone, David Sanger on drums, Dennis Ludiker on fiddle/mandolin and vocals, Josh Hoag on bass, Connor Forsyth on piano and vocals and Jay Reynolds on saxophone and clarinet. The new record includes a few covers, including takes on songs by Johnny Cash, Guy Clark, Paolo Nutini, Seth Walker and Moon Mullican. Guests on the album include The Avett Brothers’ Seth Avett and Scott Avett who contributed to the Willie Nelson-inspired album closer, “Willie Got There First.”
Hawkwind – The Road To Utopia
The Scoop: For their 31st album legendary British rockers Hawkwind incorporated an orchestral element into their classic space rock sound by recruiting songwriter and conductor Mike Batt to repurpose songs from their nearly 50 year career. “Reinventing these familiar songs has been an interesting experience,” stated sole remaining (and only consistent) Hawkwind member Dave Brock, “we hope you like them.” Batt played piano accompanied by a string quintet, a sax quintet and a brass section, alongside Brock on vocals and electric/acoustic guitars, harmonica and keyboards, Richard Chadwick on drums/percussion and vocals, Mr Dibs on vocals, Haz Wheaton on bass and Magnus Martin on acoustic guitar. Fellow legendary English musician, guitarist Eric Clapton, contributed to the reworked “The Watcher,” which originally appeared on the 1972 album Doremi Fasol Latido that the late Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister on bass.
The Jauntee – Always Never Knowing
The Scoop: How does a band known for their live performances capture that energy in the studio? For Boston-birthed jam quartet The Jauntee the answer to that question came by inviting fans into the recording process. Always Never Knowing was tracked live on July 12 and 13, 2017 at The Bridge Sound & Stage in Cambridge, Massachusetts in front of a small audience of devotees shortly before The Jauntee moved to Colorado. The band tapped Alex Allinson to record and mix the 16 songs featured on the LP, many of which are staples of their live shows. In keeping with the untraditional nature of the record, there’s plenty of improvisation included on Always Never Knowing with one track — “Puppy In My Pocket” — nearly hitting the 20-minute mark.
Magic In The Other – What We Know Is Possible
The Scoop: Less than a year after forming, Bay Area post-rock trio Magic In The Other assembled at John Vanderslice’s Tiny Telephone studios to record their debut album. The result is the nine-track Mighty-O Records release What We Know Is Possible. Drummer and bandleader Ezra Lipp (ALO, Phil Lesh & Friends), guitarist Roger Riedlbauer and bassist Steve Adams (ALO, Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers) went the all-analog route in collaborating with producer James Riotto. However, MITO decided to focus on “capturing the most magical performance rather than doing a bunch of takes and slicing something together.” Lipp credits Riotto as “an invaluable asset in crafting the sonic landscape of What We Know Is Possible” who “worked his magic with pre-amps and analog effects.”
Blitzen Trapper – Furr (10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)
The Scoop: Portland, Oregon’s Blitzen Trapper signed to the venerable Sub Pop label in 2007 after releasing their first three albums through the band’s own LidKerCow imprint. Sub Pop issued Furr in 2008 and celebrates the critically-acclaimed LP with a 10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition. Furr (10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) pairs the 13 tracks from the original album with 10 songs recorded during the same sessions. The set also includes versions of “Furr” and “God & Suicide” performed by the band live at KCRW as part of a promotional tour in support of Furr. Lead singer-songwriter Eric Earley contributes new liner notes and descriptions of all the songs, plus there’s a Q&A with Blitzen Trapper superfan Rainn Wilson of The Office fame.
Compiled by Jeffrey Greenblatt, Andy Kahn and Scott Bernstein.