Albums Of The Month – May 2020

We reveal our top six

Ruthie Foster – Photo: Supplied

Top Six Releases

May 2020

By Rob Dickens

This month’s new albums have proven to be a blessing and a curse.

So much great new music hitting the streets (or about to), that I have had quite a time to zero in on just six outings. Also, some of those are so worthy that I felt that a mini-review in this format was not appropriate across the board.

Accordingly, I have already published three fuller critiques, links for which you will find below. Apologies for some terrific albums that could not make the cut – Shelby Lynne, Christy Lynn Band, Chris Millam, Adam Gibson, Pam Tillis and Watkins Family Hour.

A thought for all artists whose touring and promotion schedules on the back of these fine albums have been cruelled by the pandemic.

Gretchen Peters

The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs Of Mickey Newbury

Scarlet Letter Records

May 15, 2020

Mickey Newbury passed away in 2002. He is a much-feted songwriter, inducted into the Nashville Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, his songs have been recorded by Jerry Lee Lewis, Kenny Rogers, Eddy Arnold, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Andy Williams and Solomon Burke. Perhaps most famously is his “An American Trilogy”, a medley of three songs associated with the American civil war, with which Elvis Presley frequently closed his concerts. He also released a few albums in the late 60’s/early 70’s.

An outstanding songwriter in her own right, Gretchen Peters has been fascinated for years by Newbury’s work. On The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs Of Mickey Newbury, Peters has carefully chosen twelve of his songs and recorded them in pared-back versions in the same studio that Newbury used to record his own material – Nashville’s Cinderella Sound Studios.

The collection is a wonderfully compiled and loving tribute which enhances even more the reputation of both artists.


Via Thrill Hill Music

Lucinda Williams

Good Souls Better Angels

Highway 20/Thirty Tigers

24 April 2020

A stunning, passionate album which crackles and spits.


Fiona Ross with Shane O’Mara

Sunwise Turn


April 2020

It looks easy when you have this amount of talent. A voice, an acoustic guitar and twelve Scottish traditional songs are the three key ingredients on Sunwise Turn.

Award-winning vocalist Fiona Ross is Glasgow-born and now an Australian resident. Her devotion to keep the fire burning for traditional Scottish music remains undiminished and on Sunwise Turn she turns to one of Australia’s finest guitarists (acoustic or electric) and producer Shane O’Mara to provide serene and authentic versions of truly beautiful songs. The tunes of Robert Burns, John Gray, Lewis Spence and William Glen, as well as un-authored classics are presented here perfectly.

Ross’s gifted and evocative interpretations bring renewed life into these songs and O’Mara’s deft touch fits ideally. Hear “Auld Lang Syne” which is a perfect example of the magic here.


Darrell Scott

Darrell Scott Sings The Blues Of Hank Williams

Full Light

24 April 2020

Darrell Scott dives into the bluesy side of Hank Williams with refreshing effect.


Ruthie Foster

Ruthie Foster Big Band Live At The Paramount

Blue Corn Music

15 May 2020

Put simply, the BIG VOICE meets the BIG BAND.

In a radical and successful career move, Ruthie Foster is up for a challenge. Here she not only fronts a full band – guitarist, keyboardist, bassist and drummer, plus 10 horn players, three backing vocalists and one conductor…and then releases the outcome for all the world to hear.

In January 2019 this collaboration took place in her home town at Austin’s grand Paramount Theatre. The arrangements are by Miles Davis alumni John Beasley and bandleader John Miller

The set list includes some of Foster’s well known originals (“Brand New Day”, “Might Not Be Right” and “Phenomenal Woman”) with classics from the canon of Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington. Her slow take on “Ring Of Fire” is a beauty (see clip below).

Any remaining doubts as to whether Ruthie Foster has one of the most powerful and agile voices on the planet are extinguished on Ruthie Foster Big Band Live At The Paramount.


Via Conqueroo

Sarah Siskind

Modern Appalachia

17 April 2020

A beautiful and long-awaited collection from an under-rated singer/songwriter.



We reveal our top six

We reveal our top six

We reveal our top six

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Author: Rob Dickens

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