Here’s the best of latest flood of new music offerings
This time of year there is a lot of new music to absorb and there are not very many places to find out about it all. So I figure that it’s my job to wade through it and tell you about the good stuff.
So here we go with a few if them.
Neil Young, “Le Noise” — Young is absolutely one of my all-time favorite musicians, and there are several of his records I do not own or would listen to too much if I did.
After the first couple of listens, I wasn’t sure about his newest CD. But I must say that it is growing on me.
I am still not sure if it will become one of my favorite half-dozen or so Young records. Time will tell, but it does contain two excellent songs in “Love and War” and “Peaceful Valley Boulevard.”
Eric Clapton, “Clapton” — How long did it take them to title this CD?
Maybe it is because he is so talented, but at times I have thought that Clapton wasn’t putting forth a full effort on every record. Maybe it’s because of the “Layla” sessions with Derek and the Dominoes.
However, on this new album, the laid back style seems to fit Clapton well.
All 14 songs are covers, and they include songs from Hoagy Carmichael, Irving Berlin, Fats Waller and two from Clapton’s favorite songwriter, JJ Cale.
This is one of my favorite Clapton solo records and, in my opinion, his best in a while.
Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band, “Legacy” — A true musical icon has returned to his roots. Peter Rowan, in my opinion, was the bridge between traditional and progressive bluegrass music in the late 1960s.
Having played with bluegrass legend Bill Monroe from 1964–67 and then with Dave Grisman and Jerry Garcia in Old & In the Way in 1970–71, Rowan stretched the boundaries of bluegrass music.
This paved the way for everybody from New Grass Revival to Alison Krauss, Nickel Creek, String Cheese Incident and even local favorite Stray Grass.
This great 13-song CD is produced by bluegrass giant Alison Brown and features bluegrass legends Del McCoury, Ricky Skaggs, Gillian Welch, Dave Rawlings and Tim O’Brien.
Raul Malo, “Sinners & Saints” — This man is one of my favorite singers. From the very first time I heard him on the Mavericks’ debut record “From Hell to Paradise,” I have been a big fan.
Now, seven records into a solo career, Malo is still seamlessly mixing country, rock’n'roll and Tex-Mex into an extremely infectious and intoxicating sound.
Malo wrote or co-wrote six of the songs and also covered Los Lobos (“Saint Behind the Glass”) and Rodney Crowell (” ‘Till I Gain Control Again”) on this CD.
Santana, “Guitar Heaven” — This CD contains 12 cover songs from Carlos Santana, his band and several guest singers and runs the gamut from Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” through AC/DC’s “Back in Black.”
I like seven of the 12 songs with my favorites being “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and “Riders on the Storm.”
It is hard for me to like a cover version of a song I wasn’t crazy about in the first place, but if anyone could change my mind, it would be Santana so I am holding out hope for the other five tunes.