Five Cool Ones: Five New Albums Released This Week (November 13, 2020)

I don’t mean to be an alarmist here, but this may be the last really good release week until well into January. Stand ready to have your ears insulted with a rash of Christmas releases, greatest hits re-packaging, and, only if you’re lucky, some tasty reissues. But, in the meantime, it is a pretty terrific week of new releases for your ears to savor.

W.E.T – Big Boys Don’t Cry

For those frequent visitors to the Falcon’s Nest or Rock is the New Roll you know that we are big fans of contemporary Melodic Rock in the Night Ranger mold. And, this latest from W.E.T. fits the bill quite nicely.

If you are a Neil Young fan, in recent months you have been having the time of your life with all of the concert releases, archive deep-dives, and artistic videos he is releasing to his public.

And, one of Rock is the New Roll new finds Joyous Wolf is out with a tasty acoustic version of their song Odyssey.

Here are five tasty new nuggets we are enjoying this week.

Chris Stapleton – Starting Over

Chris Stapleton is not messing around with his latest record, Starting Over. Returning to the comfortable environs of RCA Studio A in Nashville with Benmonth Tench and Mike Campbell, a couple of Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers in tow, he continues to deliver his own brand of Outlaw Country blending Classic Country, Country Rock, Soul, and Americana to create a soul-soothing mix of impeccably written and produced tunes. It would be a fools-errand to cull a favorite track from this package, suffice it to say all of them are the best. The title song is great, “Devil Always Made Me Think Twice,” Waylon by way of Steve Earle, is even better, and “Whiskey Sunrise” is a mournful Country-Noir belter.

AC/DC – Power Up

AC/DC is back, mostly better than ever, and it’s like they never left. The national nightmare that was the money-grabbing Axl Rose tour is long behind us, Brian Johnson is belting the songs out with Back in Black quality venom, the late Malcolm Youngs’ son is filling the rhythm guitar shoes quite admirably, and long-time drummer Phil Rudd is back behind the kit after taking a few albums off. Sure, this is reliable ground they are treading, their sound hasn’t really changed since the Bon Scott Days, but in the case of these Rock and Roll Lifers, this one is the welcome adrenaline shot of good old-fashioned, old-school Rock and Roll that we really need right about now.

George Bens0n – Weekend In London (Live)

This one should be on the shortlist alongside Linda Ronstadt’s Live at the Hollywood Bowl for the best live album of 2020 consideration. Pristinely recorded at the famed Ronnie Scott’s in London, there is a sense that you are spending some quality time with a person that you really missed and had let too much time slip away between visits. The band is top-notch, the 10 feet from stardom backing singers are belters, and the overall vibe is that he is singing for you in your living room. All of the standards are here, classics all, with “Give Me The Night,” “Turn Your Love Around,” and “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” setting themselves apart as silky standouts.

L.A. Guns – Renegades

If you are a fan of Sunset Strip Rock and Roll, and if you are not, you really are taking life a bit too seriously, you will relish the chance to be transported back in time to the glory years of L.A.’s Rainbow Room and the Whiskey A-Go-Go. In this 2020 line-up, the Steve Riley/Kelly Nickels/Scotty Griffin version, the band that incubated Guns ‘N’ Roses, the original sound from the Cocked and Loaded days is replicated to a Rock and Roll edge that will have long-time fans of the band headbanging in approval and newcomers to the Glam-Rock sleaziness of L.A. Guns will be scrambling to ingest their back catalog.