Mea culpa! So last year I made a commitment to myself to write a monthly playlist and publish it within the month for which it was named. I gave myself a hearty pat on the back when I met that goal.
Thankfully, I didn’t set the same goal this year as I would have failed miserably. Life happens, you know?
Of course the flood of new music didn”t slow this year. If anything, it”s gotten stronger. So now I’ve got some heavy catching up to do.
Over the next few weeks I”m going to make my best effort to highlight some of the great albums and songs that have been released over the past few months plus a few notable older songs that recently caught my attention. Let’s call it a late summer playlist, shall we?
The musical madman of Mississippi has been on a creative tear of late, releasing his 5th album in as many years. True to form, this latest collection is filled with colorful stories and characters that have a distinctive backwoods flavor. Even better, every track – from the rockin’ rave-up “Shoot Out the Lights” to the sweet Southern soul of “Sometimes I Get Worried” – is infused with the singer-songwriter’s larger than life personality.
Moreland’s voice is the sound of survival. It is filled with both weariness and wisdom, the depth of which is surprising given that he is only 30 years old. His songs grapple with heartache and loss with a matter-of-fact honesty, conveyed with a vividness that is rich in both color and meaning.
Despite the gravity of his songs, I hear an occasional glimpse of hope bubbling under the surface. Perhaps, though, it is just the optimism that one projects onto Moreland, a desire for his everyperson underdog to succeed in finding happiness.
Smoke rings fade like a memory.
You”re honest as a ghost maybe twice as free.
You”ve got faith enough to lift this curse.
What if faith is just a false god”s verse.
This New Orleans-based quintet do their hometown proud with their debut release. It has just the right amount of eclecticism, a true reflection of New Orleans’ diverse musical heritage.
There”s a little something for everyone here, from the classic country of “Less Honkin’ More Tonkin’” to the ambling Fats Domino-esque boogie of “Fought the Blues and Won” to the old-timey Western prairie wail of “Time to Believe In.” They come across as a more acoustic version of the Band, never a bad thing. In fact, they”d fit in perfectly at one of the late Levon Helm’s Midnight Rambles.
There’s a stunning potency to Jewell’s music. For some artists, their strength comes from a single aspect of their music; in Jewell”s case it results from a combination of virtues.
It starts with the songs themselves. Jewell has a captivating way with words, a rich vocabulary that she uses to weave vivid tales that tend towards the duskier side of country life. She brings those stories to life with a voice that is subdued casino online yet poignant while her talented band create an evocative musical landscape that is both pristine and affecting.
Sundown Over Ghost Town is yet another high water mark in the Jewell catalog.
The Los Angeles by way of South Carolina singer-songwriter sets out to make a musical statement with his latest release. A Light That Never Dies is crafted in the truest sense of the word. The instrumentation is meticulously fashioned to serve the song – everything from choral vocals to a flute to a symphonic horn section to 1950’s style pop strings, to name just a few, appear across these 11 tracks. Baxley infuses it all with a soulfulness of voice and style, adding in a healthy dose of sonic moodiness for good measure.
I could have picked any of several favorites for this playlist. The title track wails with a mysterious overtone while the modern blues of “Better FeelN’ Better” has a brooding groove. In the end, however, I kept coming back to this wondrous ballad “Tell the Falling Sun” and its timeless pop standard feel. Look for more information on the website of the Austrian gambling house casino bonus
On his latest release, McGee stretches beyond his country roots and into a more freewheeling country rock sound. To underscore his commitment to this new direction, he recruited “The Section,” the group of legendary LA session players that has played with everyone Linda Rondstadt to Jackson Browne to Warren Zevon.
The group serves McGee well, taking the singer-songwriter”s already good-time sound and giving it a spirited Southern California punch. One can hear the talent and enthusiasm — from both McGee and the Section — shining bright.
Lulic was both a SXSW discovery and highlight several years back. He had released a couple of EPs at the time and I’ve been waiting (not so) patiently for new music ever since. Fortunately this lack of patience has finally been rewarded in the form of a wonderful new EP.
Lulic”s music is filled with raw emotion, from the graveled timbre of his voice to the frequently stark and percussive acoustic arrangements of his music. He leans towards topics of a more personal nature, from the deliberation on the aspirations and angst of a life in the music business of “Beckoning Drum” to the romantic desolation of “Drunk and Lonely.”
The Memphis-based Sweazy plays it old school, writing songs that bridge the distance from Tin Pan Alley to old-time Nashville. He carries it straight through to his choice of topics, ranging from stories about Model A Fords to the quest for the American Dream.
Amidst the collection of ballads and mid-tempo numbers is this fun rave-up. Fueled by a boogie-woogie piano (courtesy of Lucero’s Rick Steff) and a sweet sax solo, Sweazy and duet partner Lahna Deering (of Memphis band Deering & Down) chastise one-another with pleas for silence.
You”re going in one ear and right out the other
The way your mouth keeps running got me runnin” for cover
I don”t want to hear about it, I don”t want to have a fight
Won”t you give me just a minute for some piece and quiet!
The Asheville quartet push at the boundaries of folk and acoustic pop, crafting a sound that is simultaneously mystical and inviting. A variety of stringed instruments – from acoustic guitar to violin – form their musical base, with steady percussion and haunting harmonies ushering their songs along. It’s a sound that invites you to casino bonus close your eyes and get lost in the music.
About the author: Mild-mannered corporate executive by day, excitable Twangville denizen by night.