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Albums Of The Month – August 2021

Our Top Six Releases Aug 21

Tim Easton – Photo: LTTL

Top Six Releases

August 2021

Our Top Six Releases

By Rob Dickens

The Flatlanders

Treasure Of Love

Rack’em Records/Thirty Tigers/Cooking Vinyl Australia

9 July 2021

It’s been over twelve years since we have heard new music from this heavyweight trio of experienced Texas originals Butch Hancock, Joe Ely and Jimmie Dale Gilmore. All successful artists on their own over give-or-take fifty-year careers, when they join forces the resultant blend of country, honky tonk and locally-spun ballads is a joy. And so it is here with Treasure of Love.

Completed during COVID-19 lockdowns with the help of long-time friend and collaborator Lloyd MainesThe Flatlanders started recording raw, short and sharp takes of songs they enjoyed playing from the early days while each of the members had free time between live shows and recording obligations. Before long they realised that the collaborations were worthy and they had an album of their hands.

The fifteen tracks on Treasure of Love include some originals, carefully-selected covers, songs that have worked well in a live setting and others that go all the way back to the trio’s earliest performances in honky tonks in Lubbock TX. The themes resonate here – heartbreak, rambling, isolation and, of course, the unique Texas landscape. Welcome back.

OFFICIAL SITE

Via Jo Corbett Publicity

Hiss Golden Messenger

Quietly Blowing It

Merge Records

25 June 2021

Quietly Blowing It was written and arranged by Hiss Golden Messenger (aka M.C. Taylor) in his small home studio, taking an enforced break from a ten-year cycle of touring and insulated against a perceived a world of chaos. This solitude was mixed with an ability to enjoy an extended connectivity with his family and this seems to have provided Taylor with a lyrical refresh.

Taylor wrote and recorded over twenty songs, playing all the instruments himself, before filtering some songs out and taking the remaining collection to the HGM band. The musicians, with Taylor in the production seat, went into Overdub Lane in Durham, North Carolina, for a week, where they recorded the album using all their tautness and inspiration from years playing together on the road. Other collaborators include Buddy Miller, Gregory Alan Isakov, Anaïs Mitchell, Josh Kaufman, Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith (Dawes) and Scott Hirsch.

Quietly Blowing It is a lot of things – brooding and bold, soulful and pointed, revelatory and precise.

OFFICIAL SITE

Via Jo Corbett Publicity

Malcolm Holcombe

Tricks Of The Trade

Need To Know

20 August 2021

Malcolm Holcombe‘s visage might be described as a little gruff, weather-worn and honest, but somehow compelling. So too are his musical abilities and it’s easy to convince ourselves that we should listen to the many colourful stories contained within Tricks Of The Trade.

Just days before the world went COVID-haywire, Holcombe spent a week recording what would be his next album. Tracked at Seven Deadly Sins studio just outside Nashville, the album is replete with fascinating narratives and sharp phrasing. The first single is “Money Train”, the video of which was made by gifted songwriter Emma Swift, follows and is an ideal example of what to expect here.

Produced by the team of Brian Brinkerhoff, Dave Roe and Jared Tyler, Tricks of the Trade contains a wonderful studio band that includes Roe on bass and longtime musical cohort, Tyler on electric guitar, dobro and background vocals, with guest vocalists Mary Gauthier and Jaimee Harris.

Be prepared for many insights on this insightful and gritty collection.

OFFICIAL SITE

Via Broken Jukebox Media

Rodney Crowell

Triage

RC1 Records

23 July 2021

Question to start if I may? Rodney Crowell has had a brilliant career, a profound and lengthy trajectory that shows no hint of stopping any time soon. Here’s the query. Are there that many covers of his songs that have been recorded over the years? I’m sure there have been a reasonable number but it appears to be well below his other Texas songwriting cohort – Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark to name two.

If you accept this premise (I know I could well be proven wrong here, but bear with me), is it because his songs are so entrenched in his own persona, that there’s an intimacy and an opinionated boldness that does not translate to other interpretations?

Anyway, enough of that. What we have with Triage is another Crowell tour de force, a powerful work of beauty and cutting observations.

The narrative range is impressive – songs of the politic, songs of the spirit, love, endurance and tenacity. Genre-wise, we have rock, blues and country and a special nod to the guitar work of Joe Robinson which shines throughout. Rodney Crowell – synonymous with passion, depth and another glorious record.

OFFICIAL SITE

Tim Easton

You Don’t Really Know Me

Black Mesa Records

27 August 2021

Troubadour Tim Easton has always moved easily between folkie singer/songwriter, purveyor of blues-tinged ballads and pretty raucous rock ‘n’ roll. He has absorbed many influences and experiences over the journey, busking his way around Europe, eventually settling in the musically hip East Nashville but always appearing to be a little nomadic.

On this, his tenth album You Don’t Really Know Me, he has plenty to say while penning these songs during the pandemic. His life has had some wrong turns and this record is about redemption, or at least putting the record straight – a document on his downs and ups – reflecting on intensely personal matters/mistakes – a divorce, a vice and the ultimate perils of excessive self-gratification. This record is a revolution of sorts, and (hopefully) a therapeutic step to a better state of mind.

The album was produced by Brad Jones and Robin Eaton, both of whom also helmed his 1998 debut album Special 20. The feel here is a very fresh one, like the songs were captured quickly so none of their essence could escape. According to Easton: “I’ve learned that you can do what you want for a living and enjoy the work. It doesn’t have to be a struggle. For me, it used to be — but it’s not anymore”.

That’s good news for the auteur. Those are glad tidings for us. Win win.

OFFICIAL SITE

Via Lucky Bird Media

Vincent Neil Emerson

Vincent Neil Emerson

La Honda Records/Thirty Tigers/Cooking Vinyl Australia

25 June 2021

Like John Prine? Attracted to Hayes Carll? OK, you’re in the right place.

The name Vincent Neil Emerson was new to this writer. No longer.

Produced by Rodney Crowell (see above), the album features ten tracks, all written solely by Emerson
at his home in Fort Worth, Texas. Why listen to me when you can take heed of Crowell:

“I got drawn into this project as a producer because I was immediately drawn to the poetry of the songs that Vincent writes. When I heard Vincent’s songs, I said, ‘I get this. I understand it. I want to be a part of this.’ It’s really
exciting to me that there’s another generation coming up with the sensibilities of really good,
strong language and a respect for the tradition of poetic folk-singing and songwriting.”

Rodney Crowell

There’s a wonderous collage of styles, perhaps beyond a lot of Texas artists. Sure, there’s Western Swing, country and western but also Irish balladry, laconic folk, bluegrass and country blues (all the good stuff). I love his ability to meld humour, tragedy and wonder. Vincent Neil Emerson follows 2019’s Fried Chicken and Evil Women released on La Honda Records, co-founded by Emerson.

OFFICIAL SITE

Via Jo Corbett Publicity

ADVERTISE WITH LISTENING THROUGH THE LENS

LAST MONTH’S BEST ALBUMS

More Music Adventures Await!

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Our Top Six Releases Aug 21

Our Top Six Releases Aug 21

Our Top Six Releases Aug 21

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Author: Rob Dickens

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