Alabama Shakes released their sophomore LP Sound & Color earlier this year, and now frontwoman Brittany Howard has just followed that up with the surprise self-titled debut from her side-project Thunderbitch.
Sometimes there comes along a talent that’s just too big to ignore. In this instance the talent belongs to Manchester based singer/songwriter Lauren Housley whose debut album, Sweet Surrender, is simply rich, satin coated chocolate for the ears.From the opening Country styled Nice To See Ya – which has undertones of Shania Twain at her most vampish but is no way a parody, such is the stamp Lauren has placed upon her own style – through to Face The World Alone, a heart-breaking song of such powerful simplicity in its message, but a complex emotional delivery ensures it is one of the most evocative songs out there.
Orchestral pop group Mother Falcon may be building momentum in anticipation of their forthcoming LP, Good Luck Have Fun, due out in August, but the Austin-based band has been rapidly expanding both in number and in reach since many of its members were just in high school. Now with 22 members (yes, 22), Mother Falcon are still impressing crowds at events like South by Southwest and hitting airwaves in Texas, but if the latest glimpse into their upcoming release, “Water,” is any indicator, Mother Falcon’s biggest accomplishments are still ahead of them.
A 2CD set featuring three albums Link Wray recorded in the early 70s. Wray, his brother Vernon and band decamped to his farm in Maryland where Vernon set up a three-track recorder in an outhouse the eponymous three-track shack. Three albums resulted from the recording sessions. 1971’s Link Wray was originally mooted for release on the Apple label but eventually came out on Polydor, as did Mordecai Jones a pseudonymous title that featured pianist Bobby Howard on vocals. Beans and Fatback was released by UK Virgin in 1973. The music was radically different to what Link had previously recorded raw and basic, but with vocals and acoustic instruments. His fan base didn’t quite know what to make of it resulting in these albums being the rarest of Link’s catalogue. These three albums have appeared on a 2CD set before but one track was not the correct one and all three albums were dubbed from LPs. This time, Ace has managed to track down the master tapes for all three and, at some expense; they present them in the finest sound possible.
It has been four years since the Indigo Girls released a new studio album. With the help of visionary new producer Jordan Brooke Hamlin (Lucy Wainwright Roche) and mixer Brian Joseph (Bon Iver, PHOX, Kathleen Edwards), Amy Ray and Emily Sailers have created a landscape of truly original sounds.The album was recorded in studios in Nashville, TN and mixed at Justin Vernon’s April Base Studios in Fall Creek, WI and at the Parhelion Recording Studios in Atlanta, GA. Musicians Brady Blade and Carol Isaacs from the Indigo Girls’ Beauty Queen Sister returned, along with the Indigo Girls’ touring band. Additionally, Amy and Emily brought in Lex Price (k.d. lang, Mindy Smith), Butterfly Boucher (Ingrid Michaelson, Katie Herzig, Mat Kearney), Fred Eltringham (Sheryl Crow, The Wallflowers, Gigolo Aunts) and Chris Donohue (Dave Matthews, Patty Griffin, Lucinda Williams, Robert Plant) to bring a good dose of infectious energy and creativity to the scene.
One of the many Nashville-based singer-songwriters whose respected stature among critics and fellow artists stands in stark contrast to his rather meager commercial acclaim, Greg Trooper has quietly built a catalog of superbly crafted albums. On his second release for the Sugar Hill label (his eighth overall), Trooper teams up with legendary songwriter/producer Dan Penn for a collaboration so natural, it’s a wonder it hadn’t happened before.Trooper’s music already combines strains of R&B, country, and folk, which Penn acknowledges by infusing a subtle yet palpable tenderness into these songs. Sung in a honeyed, gritty voice that combines the tough, yet resigned style of Guy Clark and longtime friend Buddy Miller with the vulnerability of Paul Simon, Trooper’s songs straddle the dusty roads between Austin soul and Nashville twang–both of which cities he has called home.