Brittany Howard – Jaime
The Alabama Shakes front-woman steps out with her powerful solo record. Combining Rock and Soul along with contemporary beats, her debut record goes low Nina Simone Slow one minute, James Brown Funk the next with a lot of Janelle Monáe flair thrown in for good measure. Named after her sister who passed away from retinal cancer when Brittany was 9, this album is a stunner.
Samantha Fish – Kill or Be Kind
Six albums in, and her first on Rounder Records, Samantha Fish is still somewhat of an unknown quantity. Whether she is laying down a greasy blues riff or belting out a Soul screamer, Samantha is a Swiss Army knife of talent. And, and if there is a musical God, her new record should land her on the music radar right alongside Beth Hart and Bonnie Raitt.
Zac Brown Band – The Owl
For some, The Zac Brown band jumped the Jimmy Buffet, Kenny Chesney shark some time ago. For others, what the heck. They are a good-time band with a fan friendly vibe that only serves to increase their popularity. Let the good times roll with more of the same from The Zac Brown Band.
Beth Hart – War in My Mind
Beth Hart has never been one to bury her darkest secrets, and on her latest record she continues to peel away the layers of her soul. This is one of those rare artists that you feel you really know and appreciate simply by listening to her songbook.
Robbie Robertson – Sinematic
For his first new record in 8 years, Robbie Robertson draws inspiration from his friend, Martin Scorsese, performs a duet with Van Morrison, and memorializes the old-time radio serial, The Shadow. The former leader of The Band even waxes nostalgic for his former band mates on “Once Were Brothers.”