Recent releases deliver
There has been a lot of excellent music released in the past 60 days that I feel is my duty let you know about. There is a lot more music out there than I can get to today. These are just a few of my favorites.
Madeleine Peyroux: “Standing On the Rooftop.” Ms. Peyroux, whose voice is reminiscent of Billie Holiday, is back with her sixth release and her second recording of mostly self- and co-written songs. Three of the four covers on this new CD are Robert Johnson’s “Love In Vain,” Bob Dylan’s “I Threw It All Away” and Lennon & McCartney’s “Martha My Dear,” which she chose as the album’s opener.
Peyroux’s voice is as elegant as ever and she is backed by a great band. What stands out to me is the strength of her own songs and how well they stand up to the excellent songs she chose to cover.
BoDeans: “Indigo Dreams.” Following the excellent “Mr. Sad Clown” was a challenge for this excellent pop rock group from Wisconsin who really made their name in the 1990s before taking an eight-year break starting in 1996. “Indigo Dreams” finds the BoDeans on familiar ground mixing classic pop-rock with Midwestern roots music, and rock ‘n’ roll with a little humor as evidenced by the song “Sad Eyes” where they spoof the Robert John single as well as some other marginal music from the late 1970s.
Keb Mo: “The Reflection.” Keb Mo is a local favorite and one whose music has always sold well at Triple Play. Calling him a blues artist is too strict of a label for someone who to me is more like Taj Mahal than Robert Johnson.
This is without a doubt Keb Mo’s most accessible release of his career and is a laid back mix of pop, rock, jazz, soul, funk and a little hint of blues. Mo’s excellent cover of the Eagles’ “One of These Nights” changes the whole complexion of the songs and really fits the album’s mellow mood.
John Hiatt: “Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns.” You know what you are going to get from John Hiatt and that is a good thing. Great songs written by one of America’s greatest tunesmith’s and a very soulful man, sung with every ounce of that soul, simply and organically backed by a very tight band.
Hiatt’s voice is as good as it has ever been as he belts out great songs like “Damn This Town,” “Detroit Made,” “Down Around My Place” and “When New York Had Her Heart Broke” which is reflective look back 10 years to 9/11.
Hiatt also finally covers the classic “Train to Birmingham” which according to what Kevin Welch, who covered that song first, told me on Saturday night. “He (John Hiatt) told me he wasn’t going to do ‘Train to Birmingham’ because he said ‘it’s not my song any more, it’s your song now, Kevin.’ “
Imelda May: “Mayhem.” This Irish born chanteuse took the Telluride Blugrass Festival by storm in 2010 and her second release takes up where her smash debut “Love Tatoo” left off.
With an extremely powerful voice and a seamless retro sounding mix of rock ‘n’ roll, rockabilly, early 1900s jazz from torch songs to classic jazz vocals and soul. There are 16 tracks on this CD and every time we play it in the store somebody asks about it. Sort of like the scene about the Beta Band in the movie “High Fidelity.”