The Rockingbirds have never seemed a band particularly interested in exciting and inspiring album titles. Just take their latest effort. After a break of nearly two decades, one of the most important British country-rock outfits in recent times have chosen to go with the rather simple ‘The Return Of…’. Brilliant!
Still, the good news is that The Rockingbirds are back and even more excitingly they’re as great as they ever were. ‘The Return Of The Rockingbirds’ sees the band carrying on from pretty much where they left off 17 years ago. From the first notes of opener ‘Till Something Better Comes Along’, the listener is whisked into a journey of vintage country rock and fine Americana ballads, all combined with lashings of pedal steel and rockabilly guitar lines.
Alan Tyler still leads the band, his voice unchanged with its distinctive low tone that lies somewhere between the likes of Willy Nelson and Johnny Cash. And while his songs may not now carry some of the bite of earlier times, tracks like ‘Brand New Plan’ and ‘Juliet’ demonstrate that he certainly has not lost the knack for writing great country tracks which led to the band being compared to groups like The Jayhawks and Uncle Tupelo in the 1990s. Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rockingbirds have returned and the world is a much better place for them.
Tales of a Grass Widow, CocoRosie’s fifth full-length album and first since 2010’s excellent Grey Oceans, is scheduled to be released on May 28th. The album is being self-released, features appearances by Antony Hegarty, and was produced by CocoRosie with extraordinary Icelandic composer Valgeir Sigurdsson—so I expect greatness in sound and music.
If the first single, “Gravediggress,” serves as an indication, I think expectations will be met. The song, like my favorite work from CocoRosie, utilizes jazz, folk, pop, and experimental elements to match an uninhibited, childlike playfulness with an underlying darkness—an unsettling but compelling sound.
Nasty Habits and Dirty Little Secrets, features eleven new songs immaculately produced and penned by Barrett who tag teams lead vocals duties with Morgan equally and offers a bonus instrumental track for good measure. The album kicks off with the Texas BBQ styled funk of the title track featuring Morgan belting out vocals as gritty as the guitar riffs. The six eight blues of “the Best You Couldn’t Do,” burns icey hot with a feel reminiscent of Robert Cray including a jagged guitar solo from Barrett and moaning B3. Barrett pushes his baritone to the max on the low down blues of “Hard To Be a Man,” matching notes with the guitars on an infectious turn around hook, a nice touch on a classic theme. After the clever but maybe too cute sing along of the funky “Baby Wake Up,’ Morgan gets to stretch out on the mournful “Baby’s Gone.” Barrett gives us a fine twist on a classic lazy shuffle feel with his own “My Rider,” featuring some great barrelhouse piano from Doug Scarborough. The surf rock boogie “That Hot Daddy,” is bound to be popular dance floor filler. The album hits it’s highpoint with the sweet southern fried backyard lullaby “Afternoon Sun,” with a laid back groove so smooth you can taste the ice tea and feel the warm summer breeze. The Album ends with the poignant honky tonk blues “Am I Getting’ Wise,” which finds Barrett doing his best Delbert McClinton and preaching the blues of an experienced road dog. Nasty Habits and Dirty Little Secrets will satisfy long time fans of the Coyote Kings and its high production value should win over some new ones as well.
Expert musicianship and a keen ear for melody propel Bow Thayer and Perfect Trainwreck on this epic-sounding collection of bluegrass and jam-band tinged Americana.In a different era, Bow Thayer and Perfect Trainwreck would have some well-deserved gold records on their walls. This onetime Levon Helm compatriot is the best artist to come from New England […]
With a career stretching back nearly four decades, and a catalog of more than 20 albums, Tom Russell is already considered one of the great singer/songwriters of our time. But his album, Blood and Candle Smoke, recorded in Tucson with members of the indie-rock band Calexico, takes his work to another level entirely with tremendous […]
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are set to release their seventh studio album, Specter At The Feast, on March 18th via their label Abstract Dragon Records. The follow-up to 2010′s Beat The Devil’s Tattoo is tinged with personal loss as the songwriting catalogs a period of emotional recovery following the August 2010 death of frontman Robert […]
Fans of early albums from Shooter Jennings will appreciate the singer’s return to center on ‘The Other Life,’ his sixth studio album. Still far from mainstream, the collection of songs isn’t quite as experimental as projects that followed ‘Put the “O” Back in Country.’ With the exception of the first two minutes of the opening […]