Extraordinary songwriting, brilliant production, remarkable performances and a voice that sounds as confident as it did when she debuted 40 years ago in Nashville mark one of the years best albums from a country legend pushing 70 and produced by one of rock’s alternative hot shots. Loretta Lynn’s collaboration with Jack White of the White Stripes, Van Lear Rose, is a collaboration that far exceeds any expectations about the album when it was being produced and recorded and word started circulating in the music world about the project.
The Wolves are back!
Los Lobos’s latest album pulls together some of the best songs from their back catalogue, throws in a handful of new tunes and features collaborations with some all-time great musicians.
Joining Lobos are guests with as wide-ranging musical styles as eclectic as those of Los Lobos themselves. New songs like “Kitate” feature Tom Waits, “Somewhere In Time” with Dave Alvin, “Hurry Tomorrow” was co-written with Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, and “Ya Se Va” with Ruben Blades on vocals and Alberto Salas of Los Super 7 on piano.
Singer-songwriter Bob Schneider has been a fixture on the Austin music scene who made his solo debut in 1999 with the underrated album Lonelyland. Prior to his solo career a band project he’s most noted for was as a member of the Ugly Americans, a jam-influenced band that had some success opening for Dave Matthews and the HORDE festival.
Jem Griffiths hails from Cardiff, Wales - home of Tom Jones, and if you’re a fan of Beth Orton, Dido, or even The Sundays, and Everything But The Girl, you’ll appreciate Jem’s wonderful debut collection of pop-oriented and orchestrated beats.
On his new album, Eric Clapton covers 14 of the 29 songs that legendary bluesman Robert Johnson wrote during his lifetime. Robert Johnson has always been one of Clapton’s primary musical influences. “It is a remarkable thing,” writes Clapton in the liner notes to this record, “to have been driven and influenced all of my life by the work of one man. His music is like my oldest friend.” During his career - from John Mayall's Bluesbreakers to Cream and his own solo records
One of true architects and legends of reggae, Toots Hibbert & The Maytals are responsible for some of the reggae classics of our time, including “Pressure Drop,” ”Time Tough,” “Monkey Man,” “Funky Kingston,” and “54-46 Was My Number.”
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Toot’s musical legacy precedes this collection, True Love, a stunning, well executed star-studded affair. Taking a page out of Carlos Santana’s play book in his making of the Grammy award winning Supernatural, Toots gathered a wide range of guest stars for the making of True Love.
Ollabelle is a six piece New York based band that draws on gospel, blues, R&B, folk, rock and jazz. Formed as a side project of singer-songwriters and musicians from New York that played informally at a Sunday night gospel show at a club, 9C, located in the East Village, the band was signed by T-Bone Burnett to his label, DNZ records.
All Of Our Names is Sarah Harmer’s second album, the follow-up to her wonderful 2000 debut You Were Here. The Canadian singer-songwriter received great critical acclaim for her very personal debut; Time magazine called it “the year’s best debut,”
Music lovers are walking away speechless and awestruck from her live shows. The music press is tripping over its feet in jubilation, praising her eclectic debut as one of the best of the year so far. And with good reason: 19 year old Nellie McKay’s tin-pan alley-esque social commentaries are draped in comparisons to Doris Day, Randy Newman, Eminem, even Linkin Park and Tom Lehrer.
Since the early 1970’s multi-instrumentalist, ace studio musician and singer and songwriter Randall Bramblett has been a significant footnote in rock history. Not everyone can stand in the spotlight, yet Randall has had a substantial studio career performing with Widespread Panic, Elvin Bishop, Government Mule, the reunited Traffic, Robbie Robertson, and Steve Winwood.
Like Maxwell, D’Angelo, Anthony Hamilton, Jill Scott, Musiq, and Macy Gray, Van Hunt is a member of the “neo-soul” generation - a new generation of young artists who draw on R&B’s rich past yet give it their own unique spin.
For the uninitiated - and those unfamiliar with her music - Jonatha Brooke has been making solo records that bridge folk and pop since the mid-Nineties. Prior to her solo career, Jonatha was a member of The Story, a duo that also included Jennifer Kimball. Their 1989 debut, a collection called Grace In Gravity, was originally released on the folk-based Green Linett record label, and the band was promptly signed to Elektra Records.
One Moment More is the striking debut album from singer-songwriter Mindy Smith. It's an album filled with intelligent well-crafted songs characteristic of releases by artists like Norah Jones, Alison Krause, Gillian Welch, and Patty Griffin. Drawing on a variety of acoustic genres including country and folk the songs are honest, organic and from-the-heart - a winning combination for any artist to touch listeners regardless of the genre.
What do you say to a new artist who won a handful of Grammies for her debut album that sold over 12 million copies globally..."What do you do for encore, Norah?"
What is so exciting about Norah Jones ‘s 2002 mind blowing climb to fame is that it really came out of nowhere. Her debut album Come Away With Me beat the odds and musical trends - and deserved to.
July 14, 2001 approximately 11 months (count ‘em – 11) after Five For Fighting and John Ondrasik released America Town, John was on stage at XPN’s Singer-Songwriter Weekend and still on the brink of commercial success. John sat down at the piano and played the opening chords to “Superman,”
Wendell and Sherman Holmes, and Popsy Dixon have been playing their funkified and gospel inspired blues and R&B since the Sixties and released their first album in 1989 on Rounder Records. In The Spirit was an instant classic, showcasing their tight rhythm playing and vocal harmonies. Early supporters included Peter Gabriel and Van Morrison, while Joan Osborne produced their last album and hired them as her backing band in 1997. It has taken them almost a quarter of a century, but now The Holmes Brothers are internationally acclaimed performers.
Hailing from Taunton, Massacheusetts – South of Boston – the three piece band Wheat formed in 1997 and released their first two albums on the Chicago-based independent label Sugarfree. Wheat is made up of singer/guitarist Scott Levesque, drummer Brendan Harney and guitarist Ricky Brennan.
The soundtrack to the Civil War film Cold Mountain is a collection of old-timey traditional country, folk, blues and gospel music in the same vein as the soundtrack to O Brother Where Art Thou. Produced by the extraordinary T-Bone Burnett whose work as producer of 'O Brother' has equal import to his work with Counting Crows, Wallflowers and other pop bands, Cold Mountain is a slightly darker, more bucolic first cousin to O Brother.
Sweetheart is an excellent collection of covers of love songs featuring many favorite XPN artists. Recorded especially for this collection, it includes a mix of classic love songs and more recent tunes.
The Scottish indie-pop band Belle & Sebastian have been critic’s darlings and since the mid-Nineties have released a handful of adventurous, whimsical albums influenced by folk-rock and 60’s pop. Led by guitarist and vocalist Stuart Murdoch, roots of Belle & Sebastian’s “twee-pop” can be traced back to the jangly-pop punk of The Smiths, The Go-Betweens, Orange Juice, and the enigmatic British singer/songwriter Felt. Today, Belle & Sebastian’s colleagues include bands like Stereolab, the High Llamas, Elliot Smith (RIP), even Nashville’s eccentric Lambchop.
Beneath These Fireworks is singer-songwriter Matt Nathanson’s sixth album in ten years. Born in Massachusetts and based in San Francisco, Nathanson has built a loyal and impassioned grassroots following over the last few years.
Comparisons to John Mayer, Howie Day and Jason Mraz notwithstanding, Nathanson has his own completely unique musical identity that includes a live show that literally has him taking unsuspecting audiences by storm. He knows how to entertain, and his performances take his recorded songs to a completely intense level.
Every year around the December holiday time, it seems that almost every musician releases a Christmas album or single. Some have stood the test of time, others seem like a commercial cash-in on the emotions and meaning of the holidays.
If there’s ever a band moved by the true spirit of Christmas, it is the Blind Boys of Alabama – one of the greatest gospel groups of our time.
After his reign of the R&B and pop charts in the 70’s with classics like “I’m Still In Love With You,” “Let’s Stay Together,” “Tired of Being Alone,” and “Here I Am,” Al Green decided to join the ministry and by the 1980’s was only releasing Gospel records and has been primarily been a religious performer since then.
David Dye, host of the World Cafe says it best: "This is the best World Cafe CD yet." And on the CD, David and the World Cafe staff present 17 of the most incredible live performances recorded exclusively for the national syndicated show. Train, Steve Winwood, Phil Roy, Daniel Lanois, Ben Harper, Los Lonely Boys, John Eddie, Alexi Murdoch, Rosanne Cash, Joe Jackson, Pete Yorn, Amy Rigby, Azam Ali, Damien Rice, Mark Knopfler, Richard Thompson and Ziggy Marley make the all-star cut on this all-star edition, Three Flights Up.
An understated gem, Josh Ritter’s second album Hello Starling is an album not to be missed this year.First listens to this Idaho-born singer-songwriter will reveal touchstones as familiar as Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, even Tim Hardin.