It is a little past the midway point for the year and time to let you know about some recorded music releases that might be of interest to you. First of all, the record companies are still making compact discs. Just because the chains are dropping them does not mean production will halt. There are enough independent stores still buying CDs to keep that market going. If you need further proof, just believe me when I tell you that cassette tapes are on the rebound. Yes, cassettes!

■ Ray Davies, "Our Country Americana Act II"

It features 19 more songs that tell stories of his experiences in this country as a member of the Kinks. All of it is expertly backed by the Jayhawks.

■ The Record Company, "All Of This Life"

It's an excellent sophomore effort by a band whose debut was very good. This new release has more texture and depth than their debut that reflects the band's growth. David Crosby says you can tell how good a band is by their second effort. If that is true, this three-piece classic blues rock outfit is headed the direction of others like ZZ Top, Grand Funk Railroad and Cream.

■ Ry Cooder, "The Prodigal Son."

It's produced by his son, Joachim, who also plays drums and percussion. Ry plays everything else on this new record that reminds me of Cooder's early work when he would put together a seamless recording of gospel, blues, folk, country and swing to make a statement. This is Cooder's 36th recording since 1970 and one of his best.

■ The Jayhawks, "Backroads and Abandoned Hotels"

It's a collection of nine songs cowritten by Gary Louris of the Jayhawks with Jakob Dylan, the Dixie Chicks, Scott Thomas and others. It also includes two new tunes written by Louris.

■ Cowboy Junkies, "All That Reckoning"

This year is the 30th anniversary of the Junkies' magnum opus "The Trinity Sessions." In my opinion this is one of their finest recordings since that landmark release. Their 16th album and first in six years takes all the elements of "The Trinity Sessions" and adds 30 years of experience and musicianship, resulting in a seamless recording, making it a must own.

■ Elvin Bishop's Big Fun Trio, "Something Smells Funky Around Here"

The fun-loving Bishop is joined by Bob Welsh and Willy Jordan on what could be the fun record of the summer. The trio present 10 terrific soulful blues tunes with precision, enthusiasm and some serious humor with Bishop's take on life in America right now.

■ Rhonda Vincent and the Rage with Bluegrass Legends, "Live At the Ryman"

This a concert from 2016 featuring Vincent and her band with bluegrass legends Jesse McReynolds, Mac Wiseman, Bobby Osborne and Sonny Osborne. Sixteen songs performed with perfection.

■ Jason Isbell, "Sirens Of the Ditch"

This is a reissue of Isbell's critically acclaimed debut solo record with four unreleased songs from the original recording sessions of this great record.

Other new releases of note include Eliza Gilkyson's "Secularia," the Suffers with "Everything Here" and the Dave Grisman Quintet with "Live At the Great American Music Hall 1979."

Rock Cesario owns Triple Play Records, 530 Main St., and hosts "Acoustic Sunday" from 9 a.m. to noon on 103.9 FM The Planet. Email him at

Recommended for you