Cowboy Junkies: All That Reckoning With their album, All That Reckoning, the Cowboy Junkiesonce again gently shake the listener to wake up. Whether commenting on the fragile state of the world or on personal relationships, this new collection may be the most powerful album the Cowboy Junkies have yet recorded. “It’s a deeper and a more complete record than we’ve ever done before,” says songwriter/guitarist Michael Timmins. “These songs are about reckoning on a personal level and reckoning on a political level.”
Rodney Crowell: Acoustic Classics Throughout his more than 40 years as a songwriter, producer and recording artist, Rodney Crowellhas explored an expansive musical landscape from intimate, heartbreaking ballads to spirited honky-tonk rockers. For his 19th album, the Grammy-winning musician, whose health issues forced the cancellation of several 2017 tour dates, finds himself unplugged and recharged all at once with the release of Acoustic Classics, a 12-track collection of some his most recognizable songs in all-new settings.
Holly Near: 2018a collection of outspoken songs performed with simplicity and wisdom from singer songwriter Holly Near. Near’s work has been synonymous with social change activism for well over 45 years. Her new songs dig deep into subjects like bullying, domestic violence and flood destruction in Puerto Rico. Still there is a twinkle long identified with Holly’s view of life as she brings laughter and tenderness to the human condition – as in “Coup d’Etat” that Holly delightfully rhymes with Mardi Gras and Menage a Trois. Fire flies, an old fashioned front porch, pondering on the moon and a goose bump duet with her nephew Quinn Van Antwerp. Then there is her voice, which is more powerful and clearer than ever. With Tammy Hall (piano), Jan Martinelli (bass), Nina Gerber (guitars) and outstanding guest instrumentalists.
Punch Brothers: All Ashore their first album since 2015’s The Phosphorescent Blues. The band wrote all nine songs on the album, which they self-produced and recorded in Los Angeles. “It’s a meditation on committed relationships in the present day,” says Chris Thile, “particularly in the present climate.” Punch Brothers was formed in 2006 by Chris Thile. It’s first Nonesuch record, Punch, was released in 2008 and combined elements of the band’s many musical interests: indie rock, folk, jazz, bluegrass, classical, etc. In 2009 they began a residency at NYC’s Living Room, trying out new songs and ultimately spawning the Grammy-nominated Antifogmatic. In 2012 the band released Who’s Feeling Young Now?, of which Rolling Stone said, “The acoustic framework dazzles-wild virtuosity used for more than just virtuosity.”
Kanye West: Ye the eighth studio album by rapper/producer Kanye West. The album features guest vocals by Ty Dolla Sign, PartyNextDoor, Kid Cudi, Jeremih and 070 Shake, among others. West produced the album in it’s entirety, with additional production by Mike Dean, who serves as a co-executive producer, as well as Francis and the Lights, Benny Blanco, Irv Gotti, 7 Aurelius, Noah Goldstein, Che Pope, Caroline Shaw, Pi’erre Bourne and Ty Dolla Sign, among others. Ye is the second of five seven-track albums produced by West in what have been referred to as the “Wyoming Sessions”. West explained the album title, which is a diminutive of his own name commonly used in his songs, by stating: “I believe “ye” is the most commonly used word in the Bible, and in the Bible it means “you”. So, I’m you, I’m us, it’s us. It went from Kanye, which means “the only one,” to just Ye – just being a reflection of our good, our bad, our confused, everything. The album is more of a reflection of who we are.” Yenius
The Internet: Hive Mindthe follow up to 2015’s critically acclaimed and Grammy nominated album Ego Death. With this album, The Internet present enormous growth in their creative chemistry and prove they are a five-person force whose singular talents created one phenomenal whole. The album is written and produced entirely by The Internet – Syd (vocalist/songwriter), Matt Martians (producer), Steve Lacy (guitarist/vocalist/songwriter), Patrick Paige II (songwriter/bassist), and Christopher Smith (songwriter/drummer). And it is with a sense of togetherness – not just for them, but for everyone – that the band chose to highlight as a major theme for Hive Mind. “After making a few songs we realized that we really want to use this album to live by example and promote camaraderie amongst young black people,” Syd reveals. “We realized that we’re the only band of our kind. And we want to really solidify ourselves as that, as the best.” With the chaos of the current world considered, all of The Internet wanted to champion good feelings and the joy of following your heart and passions, in addition to using their own positive relationships and experiences to inspire their community. The band unearthed an even deeper purpose as they collaborated on Hive Mind. The result is not just one of the greatest records in the band’s already phenomenal catalogue, but is easily one of the best albums of 2018, from five amazing people already leaving an indelible mark on pop music.
Lori McKenna: The Tree Home and the people who make it have captivated Lori McKenna for years. Over the last three decades, as she became a wife and mother of five, she has also emerged as one of the most respected, prolific singer-songwriters in popular music. Her 2016 release The Bird and the Rifle netted three Grammy nominations, along with Americana Music Association nods all firsts for McKenna as an artist. Then, she made history: In 2016, she became the first woman ever to win the Country Music Association’s Song of the Year two years in a row thanks to co-writing Little Big Town’s ‘Girl Crush’ and penning Tim McGraw’s #1 ‘Humble and Kind’. Both songs also clinched back-to-back Grammy wins for Best Country Song. In 2017, she became the Academy of Country Music’s first female Songwriter of the Year. The Tree is her much-anticipated eleventh studio album. Produced by Dave Cobb, The Tree takes one of McKenna s signature themes family and builds a tapestry of experiences she has lived and overheard, been told and dreamed up, to create a stunning ode to life’s defining relationships.
Ty Segall and White Fence: Joy ! Six years after their fun favorite Hair collaboration, and jeez, almost four years after Ty produced the last White Fence record For the Recently Found Innocent, they’re back at it. But the second time around, it’s no Hair 2 – Joy is it’s own reward. Tim Presley and Ty take it up a notch, with fifteen wild tracks that share space in a effortless fashion, dispersing doses of the fabled vintage obsessions, but threading them together instead with their own sound of today. Joy, indeed!