Five Cool Ones: Five New Records Released This Week (May 20, 2022)

The halls of Rock is the New roll are simply.buzzing over the upcoming new Def Leppard record set to hit our shores next week. But, in the meantime.

The mighty Sheepdogs are out front and center with yet another single from their up and coming sure to be a stunner of an album. “Scarborough Street Fight” represents everything we love about The Sheepdogs.

If Maggie Rogers and her Alanis Morissette evoking “That’s Where I Am” has not hit your ear holes yet, that miss-step should be rectified immediately.

And, Train jumped the AOR shark some time ago, but they still put out pleasant sitting at the beach tunes with the best of them. Case in point, “AM Gold.”

But, enough of all of that, let’s move on to the main event. Here are five new albums we are getting jiggy with this week.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – Dirt Does Dylan

If , like many musos of our ilk, your first exposure to folk, bluegrass, and roots music was likely courtesy of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and their Will The Circle Be Unbroken series of releases. Here, they put their Americana-tinged coating on a set of carefully curated Bob Dylan covers.

Meaning no disrespect to Mr. Dylan, his songs presented by singers that you can actually understand often times take on a new meaning, and such is the case here.

The opener, “Tonight, I’ll Be Staying Here With You” is a fiddle-enhanced stunner from Nashville Skyline, “The Girl From North Country” is stretched out a bit yet doesn’t stray too far from the reservation, and the iconic “The Times They Are A-Changing” is a must- listen for any set of years with Steve Earl, Isbell, The War and Treaty, all joining the party on gang vocals. This one is worth the price of admission alone.

Take this record, absorb it, and use it as a jumping off point to rediscovering a band that has been doing there thing since 1966 and are still going strong.

This Nashville by way of Alabama band combines Blues- Rock boogie, Americana, and Roots- Rock into a blender that mixes drinks for the common man.

Banditos – Right On

With Right On, the bands third proper record, dynamic front-woman Mary Beth Richardson channels her Motels by way of Beth Hart back of the barroom vocals on a set of songs that range from Americana Brandi Carlisle style to Pretenders Indie Rock all the way to Indigo Girl inspired Jingles.

“On My Way” has a bit of Sheryl Crow in the DNA, “Deepend Weekend” is a ramshackle in all the best of ways tune, and on the closer, Ozone” Richardson does her best Maria Muldaur ‘50s chanteuse impersonation ex.

With the diversity and texture-hopping represented here it is no wonder that Banditos are one of the hottest live acts in Nashville.

Eliza and the DelusionalsNow And Then

Another of the great Aussie bands, Eliza and the Delusionals spin the time machine back to late ‘90s early ‘00’s Indie Rock on their latest long player, Now and Then.

With a wild range of touchstones from Alanis Morrissete all the way to The Breeders and The Motels, “Sad Song” would have fit in quite nicely on Jagged Little Pill, “Get A Hold Of You” is ABBA on steroids, and “Circles” would be a perfect complement to the Sheryl Crowe oeuvre.

Don’t sleep on this record or this band.

Mavis Staples and Levon Helm – Carry Me Home

Recorded during one of his famous upstate New York Midnight Rambles concert from his Woodstock, N.Y. Studios, Levon Helm partnered up with Mavis Staples.

Designed to emulate the traveling musical road shows traversing the country in the 1940’s “Handwriting On The Wall” is church revival music at its finest, and “This Is My Country” is as relevant today as it was when Curtis Mayfield wrote it when it was performed here in 2011.

Highlights are plentiful, but the supreme stars of the show are the laid back, low and slow version of “It May Be The Last Time,” and the closer of closers, The Bands own, “The Weight” with Levon in surprisingly strong voice doing his best Joe Cocker impersonation is epic,

When two musical icons are at the top of their respective games as they are here, the results can only be sublime.

Seth Walker – I Hope I Know

A Blues man dressed in a suit of Americana, Seth Walker has produced a guest drenched slice of topical tunes written for the Everyman. Produced by Jano Rox of the Wood Brothers. The lead off track, “The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be” features the great Alison Russell, and the sparse Dylan cover of “Buckets of Rain” is a sparse delight.

A highlight, for these ears anyway, is the Van Morrison cover of “Warm Love,” and while Walker doesn’t wring all of the emotion out of the standout track from Hard Nose The Highway, he does more than do the song justice with his delicate picking. And, yes there is flute.

As a new set of ears to Seth Walker and his oeuvre, I am prepared to say that if you like laid back Americana Blues in the J.J. Cale mode you will love Seth Walker.