Under normal circumstances, when the second week in May rolls around, the release year would be hitting the sweet spot. If you want your record to be semi-fresh in the minds-ear of music fans for the end of the year polls May to July is the definite place to release your album and you get the added benefit of having your earworm of a single added to the soundtrack of the summer.
The bad news, though is that several big-time artists including Norah Jones, Margo, Price, Haim, and The 1975 are delaying the birth of their record until later in the year.
But fear not, there are still a few savory sounds to enjoy this week.
Steve Forbert – Early Morning Rain
The distinct somewhat warbling voice that brought you the terrific “Romeo’s Tune” brings you a mostly solid set of cover songs curated nicely for the range and genre identity of an artist that is pretty much criminally ignored when it comes to mainstream success. The highlights here include Americana versions of The Dead’s “Box of Rain,” “Pick Me Up On Your Way Down,” and the spectacular “Good Time Charlie’s Got The Blues,” where it sounds as if the song was written for Steve to sing. The lowlights, well, do your ears a favor and just skip “Your Song.” Only Leon Russell should be allowed to do a cover of this one.
Mark Lanegan – Straight Songs of Sorrow
Mark Lanegan has a dark poetic sensibility that brings to mind Nick Cave or Scott Walker. His latest record coming on the heels of the release of his no holds barred bare-knuckle autobiography features guest turns from the likes of John Paul Jones, Greg Dulli, and Ed Harcourt.
Hayley Williams – Petals For Armor
As the frontwoman for decades now with her band Paramore, it is a bit surprising that Petals For Armor is her debut release as a solo artist. With touches of Baroque Pop in the Kate Bush and Tori Amos mold, Haley Williams delivers a deeply personal song-set that covers a tumultuous period in her life that includes marriage, divorce, and her mother’s life-altering injury.
David Myles – Leave Tonight
There is a bit of a timeless quality in the ten song-set that David Myles delivers on Leave Tonight. With a slight nod of the fedora to the ’50s crooners of days gone by along with a West Coast Jazz and Laurel Canyon vibe, the resulting collection paints a picture that a collaboration between Joao Gilberto might have generated.
Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen – Hold My Beer, Vol. 2
Carrying the torch for the lighter side of Country songs, Texas Honky Tonk legends Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen partner up once again for a deliciously fun set of tunes that laments losing a woman to a rodeo clown instead of the Marlboro man, pays tribute to Mighty Merle on “Let Merle Be Merle,” and gets their bar-fight on with the title track, “Hold My Beer.” If you are looking for that mid-set joy of throwing your head back and guzzling a couple of long-necks at warp speed, then this is your honky-tonk jam.