- Gary Louris and Mark Olson, Ready for the Flood (New West)
If we can’t have a Jayhawks reunion the renewed friendship of Gary Louris and Mark Olson currently touring in support of their new album. Its no surprise that the two masters could put together a rock solid effort though much was riding on the two getting along. You can hear and see the influences that preceeding folk duos like Simon & Garfunkel had on the perfectly harmonized Louris and Olson. Its no Rainy Day Music but that’s a record that former members of the Jayhawks may never live up to. Regardless a solid production aided by Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes.
Favorite track: “Chamberlain, SD”
- A.C. Newman, Get Guilty (Matador)
In his second solo effort the New Pornographer A.C. (Carl) Newman delivers. Newman is in full control of this record with the help of some indie troubadours like Jon Wurster (Superchunk), Mates Of State and Nicole Atkins. As a sonic exploration of indie pop its the drums and collective chants that make this album not-to-mention a fully charged Carl. This record gets better on every listen.
Favorite track: “Like A Hitman, Like A Dancer”
- Ben Nichols, The Last Pale Light in the West (Rebel Group)
This album is a shame. A shame in that its only seven songs long. The Lucero frontman brings us an EP inspired by Cormac McCarthy’s novel, “Blood Meridien”. The combination of Nichols whiskey soaked vocals, illustrative lyrics, and acoustic guitar make for a great slice of Americana. On first listen you might think it just a low tempo Lucero album, but digging deeper will prove that it is so much more.
Favorite track: “Tobin”
- Justin Trawick, Starting Over (self)
Emerging singer-songwriter Justin Trawick recently put out a new EP with five new songs. Heartbreak is a common theme in Trawick’s songs and Starting Over is no exception. Jean Finstad continues to add depth on the upright base as Trawick has truly found solid ground as a musician if the EP is any indication. There’s a new depth and layering to the music and the title track shows off his acoustic abilities as well.
Favorite track: “Starting Over”
- Eric Brace & Peter Cooper, You Don’t Have To Like Them Both (Red Beet)
Last Train Home frontman Eric Brace teams up with Peter Cooper on their first record together. The pair trade lead throughout the album showcasing their songwriting skills and singing talents. The album says a lot about the friendship between the two Nashville artists and their ongoing enjoyment of playing together. In addition to their own songs the album features songwriting from Todd Snider, Kris Kristofferson, Jim Lauderdale, Paul Kennerley, Karl Straub, Kevin Gorden, Colin Linden, and David Olney.
Favorite track: “The First in Line”
About the author: Washington, D.C. area web designer by day. Music freak by night. I host Twangville‘s weekly Readers‘ Pick.