Albums Of The Month – March 2024

Our Top Six Albums March 2024

Kyshona – Photo: Anna Haas

Top Six Album Releases

March 2024

Our Top Six Albums March 2024

By Rob Dickens

Jobi Riccio

Whiplash

Yep Roc Records

8 September 2023

A glowing new presence. The Denver-native, Nashville-based Jobi Riccio has released a stunning debut. Riccio has a young Joni-Mitchell assuredness and maturity, already named the 2023 recipient of the Newport Folk John Prine Songwriter Fellowship Award and garnering praise widely for her songwriting, including from one Jason Isbell.

Whiplash was written over several formative and tumultuous years in her late teens and early twenties. She bravely exposes her vulnerabilities and delivers a tour de force, with scatterings of folk, country and a little jazz infusion. A nuanced vocal style and vivid stories lead me to think that Jobi Riccio will be telling us compelling stories for years to come.

Whiplash is a winner.

OFFICIAL SITE

Via Shore Fire Media

John Levanthal

Rumble Strip

Rumblestrip Records/Thirty Tigers

26 January 2024

John Leventhal is an acclaimed multi-instrumentalist, arranger, composer, producer, AND partner and musical confidant to Rosanne Cash (the Rumblestrip label was co-founded by the pair). After forty-five years in most aspects of the music business, the one thing he has not accomplished is releasing a record in his own name. Now he can add another talent to his bursting CV.

There are plenty of groove-soaked instrumentals here – soul, country and soft-spoken Southern rock. If it were necessary to find a comparison, Mark Knopfler comes to mind. There are vocals as well, either Levanthal’s breathy interludes and a wonderful collaboration with Cash in the album’s highlight “That’s All I Know About Arkansas” (clip below).

I listened to this record many times on a recent trip away, locked into the hire car Bluetooth and I swear it made driving more relaxing than anything I can remember. Groove indeed.

Josh Abbott Band

Somewhere Down The Road

Pretty Damn Tough

26 January 2024

A first taste of this band for me, a seventh full-core outing for the Josh Abbott Band.

Produced by Dwight A. Baker, the new album is their first full-length since 2020 and is the first featuring a newly reconfigured lineup.

“For this album we went back to our roots with Dwight Baker and his talent for dialing in tones, challenging someone, and relaxing them, producing the record. With the combination of Dwight, our new band members, and tenured members, we have introduced a whole new sound.”  

Josh Abbott

The Josh Abbott Band has been a staple in the Texas music scene since forming in 2006 at Lubbock’s Texas Tech University, boasting numerous successful singles and albums over the last decade. Somewhere Down The Road has a nice blend of country, country rock with bluegrass-infused hues. Abbott has a commanding vocal presence.

OFFICIAL SITE

Via Missing Piece Group

Kyshona

Legacy

Soundly Music

27 April 2024

I saw Kyshona (pronounced Kuh-SHAUN-Uh) perform at Folk Alliance International, back in 2018. I recollect that it was a small affair, her and a guitar, in the round, in an unofficial showcase in a cramped hotel bedroom space.

Legacy is light years from that experience. It is a full-bodied funk, soul, roots immersive experience with a full body of research to back up the narratives. Kyshona worked with a genealogist to trace five generations, the oldest record dating back to 1860 in the hope of connecting followers and fans with resources and experienced professionals dedicated to helping black Americans trace their ancestry and collect their stories.

Co-produced with Grammy-nominated producer/engineer/mixer Rachael Moore, Legacy houses thirteen songs and features guest contributions including from Keb Mo’, Ruthie Foster and Odessa Settles, along with songs co-written with Aaron Lee Tasjan, Brittney Spencer, Caroline Spence, including her late grandfather Hawthorne “H.T.” Armstrong.

Legacy is a towering document.

OFFICIAL SITE

Via Brooklyn Basement

Sarah Jarosz

Polaroid Lovers

Rounder Records

26 January 2024

Sarah Jarosz was a three-time Grammy Award winner by the age of 28. The Texas native started singing as a young girl and became an accomplished multi-instrumentalist by her early teens.

Her vocals on Polaroid Lovers are supreme, the songs are a classy concoction that all remain riveted in the brain, a smooth and celebratory addition to this wonderful singer’s catalogue.

Polaroid Lovers was produced by Daniel Tashian and musicians on the album include Jarosz (vocals, octave mandolin, acoustic guitar, electric octave mandolin, mandolin, banjo), Tashian, Jeff Picker, Fred Eltringham, Tom Bukovac, Rob McNelley, Jon Randall, Justin Schipper and Emmanuel Valdez.

OFFICIAL SITE

The Steel Wheels

Sideways

Big Ring Records

9 February 2024

At the IBMA in Raleigh 2013, my wife brought back to me a signed copy of the then-latest album from The Steel Wheels. I quickly was blown away by the soulful bluegrass, Americana and folk harmonies and sensibilities and have followed the band relentlessly ever since, having seen them as many times as this Australian can muster (I doubt they will ever tour Down Under).

Sideways may be their most ambitious and best record to date, and that’s saying something. By way of example, the title track (clip below) is a lyrical and melodious tale of identity and personal uncertainty. It still takes my breath away.

Theirs is an expanded sound and The Steel Wheels continue to carve their own highly-creative space. Sideways is one of the albums of the year so far.

OFFICIAL SITE

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LAST MONTH’S BEST ALBUMS

More Music Adventures Await!

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Our Top Six Albums March 2024

Our Top Six Albums March 2024

Our Top Six Albums March 2024

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Author: Rob Dickens

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