Five Cool Ones: Five New Albums Released This Week (March 19,2021)

It’s official, we have just entered the beginning of the summer music releases. More (almost) music is coming out than we can keep up with and the creativity that is hitting our ears is very much next-level.

All is right with the musical world when Charlie Starr and the boys blend their Lynyrd Skynyrd meets Dr. Hook mantra on a new song like they do on “Hey Delilah.”

And, up and coming Blues Man Zach Person is pretty much scorching the earth with his new single, “Can’t Stop Running.”

To top things off,  The Screaming Cheetah’s spend some time in the record store on the Punk, Rock, and Soul “We Are The Ones (We’ve Been Waiting For).”

And, if all of that is not enough, here are five groovy albums we are all going mobile with this week.

Midland – The Sonic Ranch

When a band like Midland transcends its influences and embraces the sound and the fury of a specific musical moment in time as holistically as they do on their new record, The Sonic Ranch, it is a supreme pleasure to spend some time in the way-back machine that they provide. ’80s George Strait Country is the Joie-de-vie here most notably on “Champagne For The Pain” along with “Worn Out Boots.” The vibe drifts back to Lefty Frizell honky-tonk on “Texas is the Last Stop” and the opener “Fourteen Gears” harkens back to the ’70s trucking tunes.

This is a lose yourself in nostalgia record in all the best of ways.

Black 47 – After Hours

Although no longer together as a proper band Larry Kirwan and Black 47 have produced a Celtic-crisp tribute set of reworked songs from the back catalog. Celebrating the 30th anniversary of their eponymous first album, here a shamrock full of iconic Irish artists including Celtic Cross, The Gobshites, Pat McGuire, and Martin Furey join in on the fun.

If you can mention CBGB’s and still pull off a proper folk ballad, the feat is certainly accomplished on the opener “40 Shades of Blue,” a song that features Katerine Fee and her legendary N.Y. 7 piece band Celtic Cross.  And, the New York-centric songs “Sleep Tight In New York City” and “Rockin The Bronx” weaves that bridge between The Emerald Isle and The Big Apple quite nicely.

Austin Meade – Black Sheep

Refreshingly cool Rock and Roll having been raised on Judas Priest, Whitesnake, and other like-minded rockers of the Day, Austin Meade’s new record, Black Sheep, delivers a sonic palate rock-centric songs including “Deja Vue,” a song that has a 90’s rock vibe, and the Blues-Boogie of an opener “Dopamine Drop” that is as varied as it is cool.

Part Pearl Jam, some Black Sabbath with a bit of Outlaw Country thrown in for good measure, this record should be on your bucket list when it comes to finding that next great rock and roll artist to add to your collection.

Andrew Farris – Andrew Farris

Best known as the keyboardist and the main songwriter for INXS, Andrew Farris is finding his own voice on his eponymous debut release of all-original material. Having written songs we all know including “Original Sin,” “What You Need,” and “New Sensation” and largely idle since 2012, now he takes on the mantle of frontman on a solid set of pop-centric mostly Americana based gems. The atmospheric opener “Bounty Hunter-Hummingbird” sets the mood and “Come Midnight” could have easily been an INXS song back in the day.

“Run Baby Run” sounds like a Dave Alvin run for the border epic, and “Drifting” is as good of a song as has been released in 2021. A nicely varied listen recorded between Nashville and Australia there is a certain sense that there is a lot more to come from an artist that is ready to make himself known in his own right.

Middle Kids – Today We’re The Greatest

A sterling combination of Folk and Synth-Pop, with their new record Today We’re The Greatest, Middle Kids and Hannah Joy deliver a thoughtfully optimistic set of songs that pull from the singer’s experiences before, during, and just after her recent pregnancy. A bed of warm synths is the order of the day here that brings forth a certain air of optimism to the proceedings. The lush “Golden Star” is a highlight along with the Breeders influenced “Some People Stay In Our Hearts.” I Don’t Care” could have been on a Pixie’s album.

 

 

 

Song of the Day: Midland – Lost In The Night

Don’t get excited Midland fans. This single is from their 2019 must-hear record Let It Roll not from a soon to be released new album. For those that think Midland is a bit Yacht Rock for your delicate ears, this cust will only serve to enforce your quite accurate assessment of this band on some of their songs.

Live Video of the Day: Midland – Cheatin’ Songs (Live From The Palomino)

We are trying really hard NOT to like this Dripping Springs, Texas band. With their Nudie style outfits and Cosmic Cowboy embracing 70’s Glen Campbell vibe that takes us back in a Honky Tonk time machine, it is almost as if they are trying too hard to be cool. But heck, we don’t care anymore. It is official, we dig this band!

Five Cool Ones: Five New Albums Released This Week (August 23, 2019)

Jason Hawk Harris – Love & the Dark

Another stellar artist from Blood Shot records. He sounds a bit like Jason Isbell, carries with him a Lyle Lovett swagger, and composes a song with the best of them. I will stand on Steve Earle’s coffee table and call out Love & the Dark as one of the best Americana records of 2019.

Tanya Tucker – While I’m Living

Somewhat unbelievably, this is Tanya Tucker’s first set of original songs in 17 years. With production help from Brandi Carlisle and Shooter Jennings on tunes like “Bring My Flowers Now,” a song where Tanya sounds a bit like Lucinda, and “The Wheels of Laredo” that give us all hope that we might be seeing a Johnny Cash/Rick Rubin type career resurrection right before our very ears.

Vince Gill – Okie

When Vince Gill settles into his vocal pocket on a song like he does here over an entire album, the results can be glorious. Stepping out from his Eagles gig, the Oklahoma roots are showing on just about all of these 12 stellar tunes. Highlights abound, but “A World Without Haggard” and “Nothin’ Like A Guy Clark Song” stand above the rest. This Okie has still got it!

Sheer Mag – A Distant Call

From the opening salvo of “Steel Sharpens Steel,” the first song out of the chute here, you are hit between the ears with a Rock and Roll steamroller of a singer that roars like the devil spawn of Suzi Quatro and Joan Jett fronting Thin Lizzy. And yes, this much awaited album is as much of a brilliant guilty pleasure as you would think it would be.

Midland – Let It Roll

The agony of having to wait for the full album after the release of several ear enticing singles is finally over. Think Glen Campbell Rhinestone Cowboy era Country Style with this band of stellar musicians out of Dripping Springs Texas. We have tried very hard not to like this band and are failing miserably.

New Music Friday (August 2, 2019)

Yola – Shady Grove

The latest video from Yola’s debut record, Walk Through Fire.” A top 20 record for sure.

Starcrawler – Bet My Brains

Starcrawler, one of our favorite over the edge Rock Chick bands are back witba new single and video.

Trigger Hippy – Don’t Wanna Bring You Down

In 2014 Trigger Hippy, a supergroup consisting of Nashville session musicians released a self-titled album that was one of the best of the year. Here they pop up out of nowhere with a scorching new single.

Midland – Cheatin’ Songs

Normally, we would cry fowl on a band that travels the 80’s Country landscape, but for Midland all bets are off. We are all in. Here is their latest Garth Meets George gem.

The Allman Betts Band – Shinin’

Formed by the sons of Gregg Allman and Dickie Betts the Southern Rock torch has Ben duly passed. Close your eyes and you will think it is 1975 all over again.

Demob Happy – Autoportrait

This Psych Rock trio turns up the burners on this one to deliver the headbanger of the week.

Moon City Masters – The Price You Pay

A strong 70’s filter on this one picture Blind Faith jamming on stage with The Allman Brothers and you will pretty much get the idea.

Goodbye June – Universal Mega Love

These guys already have the chops to Greta Van Fleet and Rival Sons. A Rock band on the rise look for their new record Community Inn to come out in October.

Elles Bailey – Deeper

A vibrant Blues/Soul singer Elles Bailey could be the younger sister of Beth Hart.

Five Cool Ones: 5 Cool Vintage Country Acts

5With Chris Stapleton between albums and Jamey Johnson continuing to put out material at a snails pace it is up to a new crop of country crooners to catch our ear. Here are five artists that are keeping the Honky Tonk alive.

Midland – Drinking Problem

Straight-Up George Strait vibing is this band from Dripping Springs Texas. They look the part and dress the part. The band name comes from a Dwight Yoakam song, the suits come right out of Porter Waggoner’s closet.

Dawn Landes – Traveling Songs

With the songwriting chops of Lucinda Williams and singing voice somewhere in the Emmylou Harris range, her new record, Meet Me at the River, Just might be the Country record of the year. It doesn’t hurt that the record was produced by the legendary Fred Foster, the producer responsible for hits from Roy Orbison, Willie Nelson, and Dolly Parton.

Courtney Marie Andrews – Kindness of Strangers

In 2017 Courtney Marie Andrews released the highly excellent Honest Life to critical acclaim. This year, she has followed up in fine fashion with May Your Kindness Remain. The voice floats in the like early Linda Ronstadt or a present day First Aid Kit. The entire record is great but pay special attention to thus song as well as “Two Cold Nights In Buffalo”.

Tennessee Jet – Buenas Noches From A Lonely Room

Tennessee Jet is cutting his teeth opening for the big boys of the Outlaw Country revival going fret to fret with Cody Jinks and Whitey Morgan in venues across the country. Never straying too far from his Dwight Yoakam inspired roots, Mr. Jett is an artist on the rise.

Joshua Hedley – Weird Thought Thinker

His new record, Mr. Jukebox, should go to to toe with Dawn Landes for Country record of the year, for our ears anyway. Joshua Hedley could easily have been a Texas Playboy. Here is the latest single from the album.