John McLaughlin & the 4th Dimension - Now Here This CD -
McLaughlin's latest creative venture with The 4th Dimension, reflects a slight, yet significant, alteration of the dynamic, specifically the recruitment of powerhouse Indian drummer Ranjit Barot. Cameroon-born/Paris-resident bassist Etienne M'Bappe is back from To the One, as is keyboardist/drummer Gary Husband. This 8-track set of McLaughlin originals testifies to the guitarist's decades-long fascination with Indian music, through his effortless virtuosity, and relentless lyricism, even when the guitarist is shredding at near-light speed.
As John himself simply states, "Now Here This is the culmination of my life's work till now."
Gov't Mule - The Georiga Bootleg Box (6 CDs) - "Those of you that have followed the Mule's history know that our connection with the state of Georgia is a deep one. Our first rehearsals were at the one-time living quarters of the Allman Brothers Band known as The Big House (now the ABB museum) in Macon, GA. Some later rehearsals took place at what used to be the legendary Capricorn Recording Studio in Macon while recording the song GONNA SEND YOU BACK TO GEORGIA for the HOUND DOG TAYLOR Tribute CD. A lot of our earliest shows were in Georgia as well so a lot of our growth as a band took place in front of Georgia audiences. Having recently been reminded of these 3 shows from '96, and of the fact that they had been recorded and mixed by Doug Oade back in the day, I found myself listening to these recordings for the first time in fifteen years. I was instantly taken with the visceral nature of the music along with the rawness of the way that it was captured. The Mule was barely two years old at this time and what we hear here, along with many songs from our first CD, are the works in progress of many songs that would later wind up on DOSE and in some cases LIFE BEFORE INSANITY. This was at a time in our career when our repertoire was small but constantly growing, not unlike our fan base."
Trey Anastasio - Traveler CD - Traveler, Trey's newest studio album, was co-produced with Peter Katis (The National, Interpol, Jonsi) at Tarquin Studios in Bridgeport, CT. Musicians include Trey Anastasio Band, Mates of State s Kori Gardner, The National s Bryan Devendorf and Matt Berninger, Bon Iver's Rob Moose, and Icelandic percussionist Samuli Kosminen.
Infamous Stringdusters - Silver Sky/We'll Do it Live (2 CDs) - Silver Sky - the recent studio recording in The Infamous Stringdusters' constant, relentless, revelatory musical evolution -- is released in Fall 2012 in a very special Silver Sky-Deluxe Edition. Delivered by SCI Fidelity and the band's own High Country label, Silver Sky-Deluxe Edition includes a previously unreleased bonus track, "He's Gone," and the bonus live album, We'll Do It Live.
Working with an unlikely studio partner - hip-hop producer Billy Hume (Ludacris, Nas) - Silver Sky finds The Infamous Stringdusters' powerful rhythms and vocal melodies at the forefront of the music. Paired with We'll Do It Live - a seamless live recording culled from four epic 2011 performances - Silver Sky-Deluxe Edition eloquently demonstrates a band whose artistic voice has fully emerged, and offers a riveting glimpse of just how, and where, The Infamous Stringdusters are leading the bluegrass revolution.
Widespread Panic - Wood CD - In January and February 2012, Widespread Panic embarked their final performances of 2012 with the 11-date, four-city "Wood Tour". The acoustic tour ran through the Washington, DC area, Atlanta, GA, Denver, CO and ended with three special nights at the Belly-Up Tavern in Aspen, CO. Since then Panic has been on a long-overdue hiatus for the rest of 2012.
Widespread Panic fans are sure to be pleased with the announcement of WOOD. The set features acoustic versions, and some new arrangements of Panic originals, including "Tall Boy", "Ain't Life Grand" and "Climb To Safety". Covers of fan favorites, such as Jimmy Cliff's "Many Rivers To Cross" and Sonny Boy Williamson's "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" are stand out highlights. Wood also features first time renditions of John Lennon's "The Ballad of John and Yoko" and former Animal Alan Price's "Sell Sell" from the legendary British film O' Lucky Man.
Hackensaw Boys - The Old Sound of Music Vol 2 CD - The group's latest efforts, The Old Sound of Music, Vol. 1 and The Old Sound of Music, Vol. 2, deliver original material that draws upon the songwriting talents of its members. These six-song collections are the result of recording sessions held at the decaying but comfortable Sound of Music studios on Broad Street in Richmond, VA before it moved to its new location. The recordings were mastered by Grammy award winner Charlie Pilzer at Airshow Mastering in Takoma Park, MD.
The Lee Boys - Testify CD -
This family group consists of three brothers, Alvin Lee (guitar), Derrick Lee and Keith Lee (vocals) along with their three nephews, Roosevelt Collier (pedal steel guitar), Alvin Cordy Jr. (7-string bass) and Earl Walker (drums). "Sacred steel" is a type of music rooted in Gospel, but infused with rhythm and blues, jazz, rock, funk, hip-hop, country and African music driven by the pedal steel guitar. Testify features 11 tracks of new songs along with fan favorites from their live show. Stellar production, expanded instrumentation, and a slew of special guests result in a captivating mix of gospel, rock and R&B that will surely appeal to the most discerning music fan. Guest players include: Warren Haynes on vocals and lead guitar; Jimmy Herring on lead guitar; female vocalist Gia Wyre; Matt Slocum on organ, piano, and keyboards; Nate Worth on percussion; and producer/engineer/mixer Matt Grondin on electric and acoustic guitar, keyboards, backing vocals. Horns were arranged by Mark Mullins.
Cast of Clowns - Have a Heart CD - Cast of Clowns, recognized nationally as a "supergroup" of performers, is part fun machine, part harbinger, and all in. Their original songs stand strong and unflinching while their creative live approach shoves the envelope into a bucket of confetti.
Founded by singer, songwriter, guitarist and fiction writer, Craig Wright, in 2008, The Clowns have played from British Columbia to Hawaii, developing particularly strong followings in Oregon and the Bay Area.
Featuring world-class players like Greg Anton, (Zero), Jeff Pevar, (Ray Charles, CS&N), Melvin Seals, (Jerry Garcia Band), Hutch Hutchinson, (Bonnie Raitt), Bill Kreutzmann, (Grateful Dead), Robin Sylvester, (Ratdog), Barry Sless, (Dave Nelson), Damien Erskine, (Peter Erskine, Gino Vanelli) the Clowns shows are always surprising and fun.
The Rock Collection - Live at the Oregon Country Fair CD -The Rock Collection is a brand new all-star group that features Mark Karan, electric guitar (RatDog), Dan "Lebo" Lebowitz, acoustic guitar and pedal steel (ALO), Greg Anton on drums (Zero), and Paul Lamb on bass (Burnt Noodle). They headlined the fair on the main stage in 2011 and this high fidelity live recording captured the magic.
These accomplished live performers have an outstanding musical chemistry on stage, interweaving vocal harmonies, double guitar work and extended improvisation; their original songs include new Robert Hunter lyrics. The band takes an audience on a musical journey from emotive blues to delicate ballads to blow-the-roof-off rock and roll.
Gary Clark Jr. - Blak & Blu CD -Rarely does an artist explode onto the music scene with the force and impact of a comet. But when it does happen -- as it did when 27-year-old singer-guitarist Gary Clark Jr. delivered an incendiary debut performance of his song "Bright Lights" at Eric Clapton's 2010 Crossroads Guitar Festival last June -- the result is magical.
Funky, hip, and badass, Gary Clark Jr. is a rocking soul man for a new generation. Weaned on John Lee Hooker, Lightnin Hopkins, and T-Bone Walker, Clark fuses his deep blues influence with a love of classic hip-hop and contemporary soul. His voice weaves between a melodic lilt and a seasoned blues howl with his guitar licks dancing and dodging between and behind the beat as if the essence of Snoop and Dre loom in his head by way of the Mississippi Delta.
Medeski Martin & Wood - Free Magic CD - For its latest effort, MMW dip into their archives to present a collection of recordings documenting their first-ever acoustic tour in 2007. The set, stretching out over five expansive tracks, captures the three intrepid improvisers--keyboardist John Medeski, bassist Chris Wood and drummer Billy Martin--exploring the telepathic hookup and deep groove sensibility that has defined MMW since its inception in 1991.
"There's a rhythmic and sonic connection that we have," says Martin of his MMW colleagues. "Listening is the most important thing for us. We're having a conversation when we're playing. The dynamic range is much greater in the acoustic setting. When we play electric, everything is turned up to 11 and it's screaming. But with John on piano and Chris on upright, we can play with a much more nuanced touch. It's a very different world, but I love it."
*Nov 10-13 - Bear Creek Music & Arts Festival - Live Oak, FL
*Look for the HGMN Booth at this event!
Video of the Week:
Hackensaw Boys live at Music on the Mountaintop festival
Thanks for reading! Treat yourself to some good music this week.
- Lee Crumpton