Are you ready for some good news? I thought so.
Folks that have lived around these parts since the 1970’s and 1980’s might remember the folk duo, The Perfect Crime.
They were contemporaries of the late, great Kate Wolf. Members Hugh Shacklett and John Brandeburg played lots of shows and festivals,
and recorded one album, “Friends”, that featured Kate and Norton Buffalo. John eventually moved to Utah and passed away in 2019, and Hugh long ago got a degree in Physics from Sonoma State.
The Perfect Crime did perform a few years back at the Kate Wolf Music Festival, and it might have seemed reasonable to think that Hugh might retire from music. And then The Muse showed up.
Hugh Shacklett has written a bunch of great new songs. He partnered with multi-instrumentalist Steve Della Maggiora, and booked time with producer-engineer Blair Hardman at Zone Recording, and voilà! a new CD called Given Enough Time. 13 tunes, very laid-back, mostly acoustic.
I highly recommend it.
MORE NEW RELEASES out January 24, 2020 (now):
G.Love: The Juice
Recorded in Nashville with a slew of special guests including Robert Randolph, Marcus King, and Roosevelt Collier, ‘The Juice’ is indeed diploma-worthy. Co-produced and co-written with GRAMMY-winning icon Keb Mo’, it’s an electrifying collection, one that tips its cap to more than a century of blues greats even as it offers its own distinctly modern pop spin on the genre, mixing programmed beats and hip-hop grooves with blistering guitar and sacred steel. G. Love’s lyrics are both personal and political here, artfully balancing his appreciation for the simple joys in life with his obligation to speak out for justice and equality, and his performances are suitably riotous and rousing to match, with infectious call-and-response hooks and funky sing-along choruses at every turn. Easy as it is to succumb to cynicism these days, the songs on ‘The Juice’ refuse, insisting instead on hope and determination in the face of doubt and despair.
“I’ve always tried to make music that’s a force for positivity,” G. Love explains. “It was important to me that this album be something that could empower the folks who are out there fighting the good fight every day. I wanted to make a rallying cry for empathy and unity.”
Born Garrett Dutton in Philadelphia, PA, G. Love grew up equally enthralled with folk, blues, and rap, devouring everything from Lead Belly and Run D.M.C. to John Hammond and the Beastie Boys. After migrating to Boston, he and his band, Special Sauce, broke out in 1994 with their Gold-selling self-titled debut, which earned widespread critical acclaim for its bold vision and adventurous production. Over the next twenty-five years, G. Love would go on to release seven more similarly lauded studio studios albums with Special Sauce (plus four solo albums on his own), solidifying his place in music history as a genre-bending pioneer with a sound The New York Times described as “a new and urgent hybrid” and NPR called a “musical melting pot.” G. Love’s magnetic stage presence, meanwhile, made him a fixture on festival lineups from Bonnaroo to Lollapalooza, and his relentless appetite for tour and collaboration landed him on the road and in the studio with artists as diverse as Lucinda Williams, Dave Matthews, The Avett Brothers, Jack Johnson, and DJ Logic.
While G. Love has covered considerable sonic ground during his prolific career, he’s always found himself drawn back to the blues, and to one bluesman in particular.
“Keb Mo’ and I got signed to the same label at the same time back when I first started out, and we toured together early on in my career,” G. Love remembers. “He used to introduce me onstage as ‘a true American original,’ and I could tell that he got a kick out of what I did. We didn’t see each other for a while after that, but a few years ago we reconnected and did a co-headline tour, which was really special for me.”
Two decades after they’d first hit the road together, the unlikely duo picked up right where they left off, and after a couple late-night jam sessions, G. Love pitched Keb Mo’ on producing his next album. The pair decided to test the waters with a writing session first, teaming up with GRAMMY-winner Gary Nicholson (famed for his work with B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Willie Nelson, and Ringo Starr among others) for a week in Nashville, where they penned a handful of tunes based on phrases G. Love had saved in his phone or rough demos he’d recorded at home on Cape Cod. Those tracks quickly became fan favorites on the road, and G. Love knew he was on to something special.
“I got wrapped up in touring and in my Jamtown project with Donovan Frankenreiter and Cicso Adler after that first session, and even though I really enjoyed working with Keb Mo’ and Gary, it was a year-and-a-half before I was able to get back down to Nashville to finish writing the album with them.”
When it came time to record, Keb Mo’ was meticulous, working closely with G. Love in the studio on nearly every aspect of his performances. While G. Love was used to creating raw, loose albums by the seat of his pants, Keb Mo’ worked in a much more deliberate, methodical fashion, building songs up like a hip-hop producer. He’d create a beat on his keyboard, lay down a bass line, and then coach G. Love through the tracks sometimes line-by-line.
“He was always impressing on me where to place the emphasis and how to phrase my lyrics and guitar playing in relation to the beat,” G. Love explains. “He’d tell me to sing like I had a shovel in my hands and I was digging on the one.”
The resulting mix of G. Love’s idiosyncratic style and Keb Mo’s old-school influence proves intoxicating on ‘The Juice,’ which opens with the shuffling, anthemic title track. “We got the juice / We got the love / We got the dreams / We had enough,” G. Love sings, setting the stage for an album all about recognizing your power to impact the world around you in ways both big and small. The infectious “Birmingham,” for instance, is an ode to perseverance when , while the funky “Go Crazy” cuts loose in the face of our maddening 24-hour news cycle, and the relentless “Shake Your Hair” rattles off a head-spinning list of modern ills before declaring “donate, don’t wait, spread love don’t hate.”
“I’ve never been the kind of guy who thinks he’s going to change the world with his guitar,” reflects G. Love. “But maybe I can write the kind of songs that give strength and encouragement to the people who are out there doing the work to make this planet a better place. Those are the people I want to lift up with my music.”
When G. Love sings about making the world a better place, he’s not just singing about politics, though, and ‘The Juice’ serves as a beautiful exploration of the ways we can brighten our own little worlds and the worlds of those we care about on a daily basis. The gritty “SoulBQue” is a celebration of community and friendship, while the rootsy “She’s The Rock” pays tribute to all the little ways lovers can lift each other up, and the breezy “Diggin’ Roots” spins cultivating a garden into a metaphor for the importance of tending to your home and family and neighbors.
“I was going through a tough time in my life when I met my fiancé, but my whole world seemed to turn around after that,” says G. Love. “I started meditating, we had a son, and we moved out to the Cape. That’s when I stopped writing breakup songs and started writing love songs and family songs and friendship songs.”
Life is good for G. Love these days, and he’s not taking a moment of it for granted. In fact, in just the past few years alone he’s launched his own beer collaboration with Oregon’s Good Life Brewery (The Juice IPA), started his own festival in Massachusetts (The Cape Cod Roots & Blues Festival), and founded his own record label, Philadelphonic, which he aims to use as an outlet for curating both music and visual art (the cover of ‘The Juice’ features a brand new work G. Love commissioned from renowned painter Greg Haberny).
“I’m more inspired right now than I’ve ever been before,” G. Love reflects. “I feel more thoughtful, seasoned, marinated, confident. I’m making the records I’ve always wanted to make.”
GRAMMY® Award-nominated, multi-Platinum artist Halsey released Manic – the follow-up to her chart-topping 2017 album hopeless fountain kingdom – on January 17, 2020. – Manic includes her new single “Graveyard”, of which Halsey said, “The song is about being in love with someone who is in a bad place and loving them so much that you don’t realize that you’re going to that bad place with them. It’s also about learning to care about yourself enough not to follow them there”.
In celebration of the 2020 Grammy nominees, the Recording Academy’s Grammy Recordings and Warner Records join forces to release the 2020 Grammy Nominees album. The 26th installment of the best-selling series features a diverse collection of the year’s most impactful Grammy-nominated music. A portion of album proceeds benefit the year-round work of the Grammy Museum and MusiCares-two charitable organizations founded by the Recording Academy committed to music education initiatives and providing critical assistance for music people in need.
Terry Allen: Just Like Moby Dick
Iconic and iconoclastic Texan songwriter and visual artist Terry Allen’s heartbreaking, hilarious new album, his first set of new songs since 2013’s Bottom of the World, features the full Panhandle Mystery Band, including co-producer Charlie Sexton (Dylan, Bowie, Blaze), Shannon McNally, and Jo Harvey Allen; mainstays Bukka Allen, Richard Bowden, and Lloyd Maines; and co-writes with Joe Ely and Dave Alvin. The connections to Melville’s masterpiece are metaphorical and allusive, as elusive as the White Whale. The masterly spiritual successor to Lubbock (on everything), Just Like Moby Dick casts it’s net wide for wild stories, depicting, among other monstrous things, Houdini in existential crisis, the death of the last stripper in town, bloodthirsty pirates (in a pseudo-sequel to Brecht and Weill’s “Pirate Jenny”), the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (in the “American Childhood” suite), a vampire-infested circus, mudslides and burning mobile homes, and all manner of tragicomic disasters, abandonments, betrayals, bad memories, failures, and fare-thee-wells. The deluxe tip-on gatefold 2×LP package features lyrics, color labels, high-res Bandcamp download code, three sides of music, and a fourth-side vinyl etching artwork by Allen. The gatefold CD edition includes a six-panel lyrics insert with different artwork by Allen.
Haden Triplets: The Family Songbook
Charlie Haden’s supremely talented daughters mine their heritage more than ever before on this new album. Their grandfather Carl E. Haden—patriarch of the singing Haden Family and friend of the Carter Family, Porter Wagoner and other country icons—recently unearthed songs he wrote during the Depression. Those join the Triplets’ takes on heartland standards: “Wayfaring Stranger,” “Who Will You Love,” “Say You Will,” “I’ll Fly Away,” “Ozark Moon,” “Pretty Baby” and more! Trimeter.
Bonny Light Horseman
The timeless qualities of traditional tunes can carry us across oceans and eons, linking us not only to the past but to each other as well. It was under the banner of those eternal connections that the trio of Bonny Light Horseman came together. From festival fields and a German art hub to a snowy upstate studio and everywhere in between, the astral folk outfit-comprised of Anaïs Mitchell, Eric D. Johnson (Fruit Bats, The Shins), and Josh Kaufman (The National, Bob Weir)-is mixing the ancient, mystical medium of transatlantic traditional folk music with a contemporary, collective brush. The resulting album, Bonny Light Horseman, is an elusive kind of sonic event: a bottled blend of lightning and synergy that will excite fans of multiple genres, eras, and ages. The album features fellow 37d03d artists-in-residence Michael Lewis (bass, saxophone) and JT Bates (drums) as well as Justin Vernon, Aaron Dessner, Kate Stables, Lisa Hannigan, The Staves, Christian Lee Hutson, and more. Leaving the 2018 37d03d Berlin event with roughly 60-percent of a record, the band reconvened at Dreamland Studios in Woodstock, NY, in January 2019 to finish, bringing Lewis and Bates as well as engineer Bella Blasko along with them.
Wolf Parade: Thin Mind
Wolf Parade release Thin Mind, the group’s fifth album for Sub Pop. The 10-track record was recorded by John Goodmanson at Risque Disque on Vancouver Island, BC, mixed by Goodmanson at Bogroll Studios in Seattle, WA, and mastered by Noah Mintz at Lacquer Channel Mastering in Toronto, ON. Thin Mind has sci-fi, post-apocalyptic and dystopian narratives interwoven throughout. These themes emerged while working at Risque Disque, which Boeckner jokingly describes as a Dutchman’s failed utopia, a problematic structure with a post-apocalyptic vibe: the studio is housed in a stone barn hand-built by the Dutchman in the middle of the woods, using local materials and based on his memory of a building he loved growing up in the Netherlands. Thin Mind finds the core members of Wolf Parade working as a trio, as they did on past albums Apologies to the Queen Mary and At Mount Zoomer, with songwriting duties evenly split between singers Dan Boeckner and Spencer Krug. The album includes the singles “Forest Green,” “Julia, Take Your Man Home,” and “Against the Day,” the latter of which features a rare, co-vocal performance from Boeckner and Krug.
The Wood Brothers: Kingdom in my Mind
The Wood Brothers have a new studio album ‘Kingdom In My Mind’ January 24, 2020 via Honey Jar/Thirty Tigers. The 11-song collection represents a reckoning of sorts, examining circumstance, mortality and human nature. Finding strength in accepting what lies beyond our control, the material on ‘Kingdom In My Mind’ hones in on the bittersweet beauty that underlies doubt and pain and sadness with vivid character studies and unflinching self-examination. While the lyrics dig deep, the trio draws from across a broad sonic spectrum to create a set of songs that although thoughtful and inward looking is ultimately transportive and effervescent.
Dave Clark Five
The Dave Clark Five’s own unique brand of music sold in excess of one hundred million records during their career. All The Hits is the definitive collection of their biggest-selling tracks including “Glad All Over”, “Bits & Pieces” and “Do You Love Me”. The Dave Clark Five were the first English group to tour the United States, spearheading the British Invasion. During their first two years in the US they scored no less than fifteen consecutive Top Twenty hits, more than anyone except The Beatles. They took the world by storm and helped change the rock scene, blasting hit after hit over the world’s radio airwaves. There stuff has been hard to get over the years; worth checking out…
Pet Shop Boys: Hotspot
the 14th studio album from the British electro-pop duo. Hotspot was mostly written and recorded in Berlin and Los Angeles and produced and mixed by Stuart Price. Features the singles “Dreamland” (featuring Years & Years) and “Burning the Heather”.
thank you The New Yorker !