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Singer-songwriter Joshua James may be more an artist than he is simply a musician. As you listen to his new album, Build Me This, it's evident that his compositions take shape more as musical portraits than just plain songs.
It comes with slight hesitation to say that Brandi Carlile has fully realized her potential on her new album Give Up The Ghost. Her gutsy brand of country-tinged, roots and rock is utterly appealing and her talent undeniable. Yet, as she takes another leap forward on Give Up The Ghost you get the sense that this is a singer-songwriter whose musical well is far from dry.
It's easy to be fooled on Death Won't Send A Letter, the debut full length album from Cory Chisel and his band The Wandering Sons. The singer-songwriter from rural Wisconsin makes a strong first impression. From his confident road-tested vocals to his textured compositions, Chisel sounds more like a veteran performer on his proper debut.
Blending their acoustic folk tendencies with an abandon and spirit of a punk rock act, The Avett Brothers grew to prominence due in part to their raucous, high-energy live shows. They've also been prolific writers and road-warriors for nearly 10 years now. And on their major label debut, I And Love And You, which is produced by Rick Rubin, the Avett Brothers propel their irreplaceable brand of folk-rock to a new level.
Over 10 years since the release of White Ladder, the man who brought us "Babylon" returns with arguably his most engaging collection of songs since that 1999 breakthrough album. Draw The Line is the new release from David Gray. The new album was patiently recorded over two years in the North London studio, The Church, which Gray purchased from the Eurythmics' Dave Stewart. A new setting, a new band and a new record label result in a refreshed batch of songs.
Often the hype that precedes an album's release ends up overshadowing the impact of the actual arrival. The announcement of collaboration between My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James, M. Ward, Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis was sure to leave some expectations unreasonably high. Yet the resulting album from the proclaimed Monsters Of Folk still offers plenty of surprises amongst a wealth of dreamy compositions.
If Joy, the new studio album from Phish, is any indication of what to expect when a band takes an extended breather, perhaps there is a lesson to be learned. Fans relished the band's return to the stage this past year, and will undoubtedly embrace the lively, inspired new studio album that is Joy.
Growing up just outside Detroit, Michigan, Mayer Hawthorne fell in love with the sound of soul music as a kid. Listening to old Motown classics on the radio inspired Hawthorne to not only embark on a music career of his own, but renovate the music he adored with a modern relevancy. On his new album, A Strange Arrangement, Hawthorne strikes that balance between then and now in stunning fashion.
Presently, there is arguably no singer-songwriter that writes songs with as much visual perspective as Ingrid Michaelson. A success story born out of a new generation of fans on MySpace and strategic television placement, Ingrid's cinematic love tales have crossed the ears of millions, whether knowingly or unknowingly. And her second proper full-length album, titled Everybody, has the potential to set the proverbial scene yet again.