Today’s New Albums: The War On Drugs, Hayes Carll, Johnny Cash & More
Chakourah and Thesis Heists also have new music 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 The War On Drugs, Hayes Carll, Johnny Cash, Chakourah (Alecia Chakour) and Thesis Heists. Read on for more insight into the records we have all queued up to spin.
The War On Drugs – I Don’t Live Here Anymore
The Scoop: In 2018, The War On Drugs won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Album for A Deeper Understanding. Initial work on what became its follow-up, I Don’t Live Here Anymore, began shortly after receiving the noteworthy accolade, when bandleader/guitarist Adam Granduciel, bassist Dave Hartley, and multi-instrumentalist Anthony LaMarca embarked on a recording retreat in Upstate New York, jamming and creating new demos. Over the course of the next three years, the band subsequently held over 10 additional recording sessions with producer/engineer Shawn Everett. The sessions took place at seven different recording studios, with additional bandmates — saxophonist Jon Natchez, keyboardist Robbie Bennett and drummer Charlie Hall — at times participating, including one particularly successful session held in May 2019 at Electro-Vox Recording Studios in Hollywood. Among the other facilities the band utilized were Sound City in Los Angeles and Electric Lady in New York City.
“It just reminded me of all the things I love about making music, collaborating with my friends, and letting everybody shine,” Granduciel stated. “I keep coming back to it as a record of movement, of pushing forward, of trying to realize that version of our most fulfilled life, in spite of forces at every turn pushing down and trying to break you.”
Hayes Carll – You Get It All
The Scoop: Singer-songwriter Hayes Carll is back with, You Get It All, the follow-up to his 2019 album, What It Is. Singer-songwriter Allison Moorer (Hayes’ wife) co-produced the 11-track LP with Nashville guitar and recording ace Kenny Greenberg.
“A lot of musical styles found their way onto this record, but my first and most formative influences came from country music,” Carll said. “This is a country singer-songwriter record. It’s just unapologetically me.”
Additionally, Hayes worked with a number of songwriters on the album including Moorer, Brandy Clark, Brothers Osborne, Sean McConnell, Adam Landry, Craig Wiseman and Josh Morningstar. The lead single and title track is a co-write with Wiseman, while Morningstar collaborated with Carll on “Help Me Remember,” a song written from the perspective of someone with Alzheimer’s dementia and aiming to raise awareness for the affliction.
Johnny Cash – Bear’s Sonic Journals: Johnny Cash, At The Carousel Ballroom, April 24 1968
The Scoop: A live perfomance by country legend Johnny Cash is the latest Bear’s Sonic Journals archival release from the Owsley Stanley Foundation. Recorded by longtime Grateful Dead sound engineer Owsley “Bear” Stanley, the previously unheard Bear’s Sonic Journals: Johnny Cash, At The Carousel Ballroom, April 24, 1968 is out today. Cash’s performance at San Franciso’s Carousel Ballroom occurred mere days before Cash’s At Folsom Prison was released and six months before the release of At San Quentin. The San Francisco concert’s setlist included “The Ballad Of Ira Hayes” as well as two Bob Dylan covers: “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright” and the earliest known recording of “One Too Many Mornings.” Cash can also be heard on his classics such as “Ring of Fire,” “Big River,” “Don’t Take Your Guns to Town” and “I Walk the Line,” among several others. Cash was backed by The Tennessee Three — guitarist Luther Perkins, bassist Marshall Grant and drummer W.S. Holland — as well as his wife, June Carter Cash.
Chakourah – lotusland
The Scoop: Tedeschi Trucks Band vocalist Alecia Chakour released her EP lotusland today under her Chakourah nom de plume. Best known for her collaborations, the record marks Chakour’s first solo effort in over a decade. Alecia — who is also a percussionist and arranger — co-produced lotusland with her brother, multi-instrumentalist Alex Chakour (Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, Brittany Howard). The six-song EP features Alecia and Alex’s father Mitch Chakour on piano and also sees contributions from drummer Homer Steinwess, guitarist Sam Cohen as well as special appearances from Jared Samuel on organ and Cochemea Gastelum on saxophone and flute.
Press materials for lotusland described it as “a lush, dreamy and playful exploration of grief, rebirth and beginning again. Equal parts psychedelic folk and avant-soul, the EP honors, but never replicates, life-long influences as wide-ranging as Marc Bolan, Junie Morrison, Fairuz and the Muppets.” Alecia previewed the record with the single “West St,” premiered by American Songwriter. While a fantastical tale, the song reflects on the all too difficult but necessary process of letting go.
Thesis Heists – Songs We Don’t Know
The Scoop: Today, Cooperstown, New York-based instrumental jazz-rock trio Thesis Heists put out their debut studio album, Songs We Don’t Know. The group consists of guitarist Amar Sastry, bassist Brian Bean and drummer Orion Palmer. Phish fans may know Sastry from the amazing “Anatamy Of A Jam” videos he put together or his contributions to “Vultures” on JamBase’s Cluster Flies project. Thesis Heists is a purely improvisational act that “wrote” all seven tracks featured on the double-LP in the studio in real-time.
“We would sometimes start with a chord or a certain groove in mind, but more often than not we were flying blind. We’d hit record, start playing, and see what happened. This album is what happened,” explained Orion Palmer. Songs We Don’t Know spans 99 minutes and is also available in unedited form as a single NFT.
Compiled by Scott Bernstein, Nate Todd and Andy Kahn.