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Albums of the Month – July 2020

Our monthly best six

Charley Crockett – Photo: LTTL

Top Six Releases

July 2020

By Rob Dickens

Charley Crockett

Welcome To Hard Times

Son Of Davy

31 July 2020

Hard times, indeed. Crockett grew up in poverty and spent time living homeless and busking making his way from New Orleans to the subway platforms of New York City. Crockett also lost his sister to addiction and he is a twice-convicted felon. Early last year, he had to immediately undergo life-saving heart surgery.

“I look at that scar and all I can think about is the limited amount of time I’ve got left, I wanted to make an album that would try to reclaim the conversation about country music” says Crockett.

The album was recorded in Valdosta, Georgia at Mark Neil’s studio with a studio band consisting of  Kullen Fox, Colin Colby, Alexis Sanchez, Mario Valdez, Nathan Fleming, Billy Horton and Mackenzie Rosser.

This is an irresistible cinematic ode to classic country, honky tonk and spaghetti western mythology. With his silky vocals, Crockett is renewing and rekindling some classic country moments and sensibilities.

OFFICIAL SITE

via Big Feat PR

Bob Dylan

Rough and Rowdy Ways

Sony Music

18 June 2020

Back in March, we get the first single “Murder Most Foul”, a sixteen-minute opus with damning insight and lyrical dexterity. It turns out to be a fascinating prelude to his umpteenth, but first album of original songs in eight years, an uncharacteristically release interval.

At over seventy minutes, this is proof positive that Dylan’s word craft and uncanny ability for social and political commentary remains totally undiminished. The gravelly, swaying waltz of “Key West (Philosopher Pilate” is a dreamy triumph, “Black Rider” hits the target with its sharp rebuttal, while the bluesy “False Prophet” (see clip below) steadfastly declares: “I ain’t no false prophet, I just know what I know, I go where only the lonely go“.

The 60-year career is far from wilting under the pressure of time. Rough and Rowdy Ways has already been catalogued as a commercial and artistic success.

OFFICIAL SITE

The Jayhawks

XOXO

Sham/Thirty Tigers

20 July 2020

The most democratic release of the band’s long and consistently excellent career. With XOXO, the songwriting and vocals are spread among the band members more than is customary over the outfit’s thirty years together.

As a result, there is a refreshing diversity under-pinning the subject matter, without interfering with the famous trademark harmonies. All four members contribute to lead vocals and songwriting for the first time, relieving Gary Louris of his normal predominant role in this space. As well as preserving the harmonies, the diversity does not detract from their authenticity and audience expectations.

With fifteen songs (my version has three worthy bonus tracks), The Jayhawks continue to delight with a combination of jangly pop, Beatlesque harmonies, enticing melodies and Wilco-like aura.

OFFICIAL SITE

via Missing Piece Group

Matt Rollings

Matt Rollings Mosaic

Dualtone Records

14 August 2020

You cannot be serious!? The first solo album in thirty years from the long-time member of Lyle Lovett’s band and a session pianist who has played with Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Mavis Staples, Billy Joel, Dolly Parton, The Chicks (formerly known as Dixie) and even Metallica.

To be succinct, this is as classy a collection as you will find, with Rollings sublime playing the glue that holds this glorious mix together. I will say no more, other than list the tracks and contributors.

1) Take Me To Mardi Gras (The War and Treaty)

2) Accentuate The Positive (Lyle Lovett)

3) Stay (Alison Krauss with Vince Gill)

4) Wade In The Water (The War and Treaty with The Blind Boys of Alabama)

5) If I Had A Boat (Ramblin’ Jack Elliott)

6) Spirits In The Material World (Charlie Greene)

7) When You Loved Me Still (Heidi Talbot)\

8) That Lucky Old Sun (Lyle Lovett, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Willie Nelson)

9) I’ll Come Knocking (Lukas Nelson with Molly Tuttle and Buddy Miller)

10) Slumber My Darling (Heidi Talbot with John McCusker)

11) Pontiac

OFFICIAL SITE

via Missing Piece Group

Sarah Jarosz

World On The Ground

Rounder Records

5 June 2020

The three-time Grammy winner and exquisitely-talented singer/songwriter doubles down on a career already littered with gold. The can-do-no-wrong producer and guitarist John Leventhal takes the production helm in his Manhattan home studio.

Jarosz looks back fondly on her family’s “Blue Ford Escape”, the crisply-observed inner battle in “Johnny” which is one of three ‘name songs’ indicating an ability to write about characters rather than herself and her personal feelings. And there’s the gorgeous “Orange and Blue”.

This is a mellow, beautifully-conceived offering.

OFFICIAL SITE

via Dave Laing Publicity

Will Hoge

Tiny Little Movies

Thirty Tigers

26 June 2020

Blue-collar troubadour Hoge has been prolific lately and Tiny Little Movies is a gathering of small but vivid stories which are perfect for a world in which the pandemic has exacerbated the growing political and religious divide, where national borders have become fortified and we all look more and more within for solutions.

The album contains Tom-Petty-like anthems, ballads that cut like a knife (witness “Even The River Runs Out Of This Town”). There’s no retreat here, no sugar coating, just gut-wrenching commentary.

The songs were arranged over four days in an East Nashville rehearsal space. Hoge, guitarist Thom Donovan, drummer Allen Jones, and bassist Christopher Griffiths converged in Trace Horse Studio and tracked each song live. Grammy-winning legendary producer/engineer Matt Ross-Spang to mix the album at Sam Phillips Recording. 

OFFICIAL SITE

via Cooking Vinyl Australia

ADVERTISE WITH LISTENING THROUGH THE LENS

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Our monthly best six

Our monthly best six

Our monthly best six

Our monthly best six

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Author: Rob Dickens

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2 Comments

  1. Wow – that Jayhawks single is beautiful! Hopefully the album is full of the same goodness… cheers

    Post a Reply
    • Hey Red! Glad you like it, the rest of the collection is excellent too. Stay safe

      Post a Reply

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