Monday Morning Video – Billy Bragg
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The Wind’s Just Gonna Blow, Miranda Lambert, Jon Randall and Jack Ingram (from the Vanner Records / RCA Nashville release The Marfa Tapes)

Lambert, Randall and Ingram. Sounds like a law firm, doesn't it? In this case, it's a trio of songwriters who have just released some intimate recordings from their writing retreats in Marfa, Texas.

There are two types of songs included in the collection. First are those who are gloomy and beautiful. That list begins, of course, with the trio's award-winning and formidable “Tin Man,” an imaginary conversation with the character of Land of Oz about the pain of a broken heart. "‘ Because if you ever had the feeling that someone was breaking, "Lambert sings," you would never want a heart. "

"Winds Just Gonna Blow" and "Breaking a Heart" both tell of the end of a relationship. "Dust won't always settle, the wind will just blow," explains Lambert in the solemn "Winds Just Blow", while Ingram confesses in "Breaking a Heart":

Saying goodbye is never easy
I don't know if the hardest part
Is the heart broken or the heart broken?
To be heartbroken or break a heart

So that nobody thinks that all the songs on The Marfa Tapes are about heartbreak, the trio shares the tender "I Don't Like It". The song contrasts the joy of spending time together with the unhappiness of being apart. "I don't like to be away from you," they sing, "I don't like it when you're not here."

Then there are the songs of the fun and entertaining kind. “Homegrown Tomatoes” is at the top of this list. The trio themselves admit in a little banter after the song that even they don't realize what the song is about. Anyway, it's a lot of fun.

Sit in the shade, loaded lemonade, watch the hummingbirds
Hum me a tune all afternoon, the best song I've never heard
Texas skies and big blue eyes stare over airplanes
Got a big boom box, Bulleit on the rocks, tomatoes from my own cultivation

“Geraldene” is the trio version of Dolly Parton's “Jolene”, while “Tequila Does” is her homage to the fiery drink. "And when I drink doppelgangers, I'm nothing but trouble," admits Lambert, "and anger is so easy to find."

The Marfa Tapes are a great collection of songs captured in their truest – and most beautiful – form.

Everything will be fine, the coincidences (from the Savage Kittens publication Time Out, Session 1)

The pandemic became a time of experimentation for many artists, including The Accidentals. The duo Sav Buist and Katie Larson not only developed expertise in live streaming, but also a who's who of talented songwriters – Kim Richey, Tom Paxton, Maia Sharp, Dar Williams, Mary Gauthier and Jaimee Harris – worked together to create To create the songs that make up the time out, Session 1 EP. The results are as exhilarating as they are beautiful.

Unsurprisingly, the songs reflect the era in which they were written. "Wildfire," co-written with Richey, finds the duo reflecting on the pre-pandemic times as they look back on the suffering that was to come. "Who would have thought we were drunk in borrowed time?" They sing, "Waiting for wildfire, who knew it was us."

Anyway, co-written with Paxton, looks at the social upheaval in America. "Open blinds, closed thoughts", they reflect, "we live in оf the strangest times, I will not lie, I am afraid."

But they also find hope in the beautiful gospel of All Shall Be Well, co-written with Gauthier and Harris. “In the end everything will be fine,” they assert in breathtaking harmony. Amen.

Back to the beehive, Jay Gonzalez (from Middlebrow Records' Back to the Hive)

For a guy who (or at least before Covid) spends a significant amount of his time touring the drive-by truckers as a member of the rock & # 39; n & # 39; roll titans, Jay Gonzalez knows his way around pop songs. Back to the Hive is a glorious pop collection and a great showcase for Gonzalez & # 39; musical talents.

The instrumental "Sunspots" begins with a massive symphonic pop vibe from the 1970s before giving way to the title track, a kiss-off song that is both happy and melancholy. "I'm glad you go, but I'm sad to see you go," Gonzalez sings.

"I Wanna Hold You" is a perfect little pop song that lasts a little over 2 minutes. "You Make It Hard (To Be Unhappy)" is a similar pop confection, in this case steeped in 1960s folk with an emphasis on acoustic guitars and harmonized vocals.

Gonzalez gives songs like "Trampolin", "Never Felt Bad" and the instrumental "Loons on the Lake" a little sophistication. "Trampolin" has a staccato piano that gives the song a nervous tension, while "Loons on the Lake" has a brooding Dick Dale vibe. "Never Felt Bad" strolls with a wonderful melancholy that revolves around Gonzalez ’e-piano and is interrupted by an unkempt, but melodic e-guitar.

If you are looking for beguiling pop, Jay Gonzalez ’Back to the Hive is the place for you.

I won't live like this much longer, Shannon McNally (from Compass Records' The Waylon Sessions)

The very first track of Shannon McNally's homage to Waylon Jennings shows that something special is ahead of us. First, there's the confidence and demeanor in McNally's voice as she sings, "I've always been crazy, but it kept me from going crazy." Then there is the crack band that instills its own spirit into the song, not least a spectacular song ending jam. And that is just the beginning.

McNally and Co. break 11 (13 with bonus tracks) Waylon classics and revel in the splendor of the songs and their classic country heritage. They do this with an infectious enthusiasm and spirited honky tonk splendor.

"Ain & # 39; t Livin & # 39; Long Like This," with a cameo by songwriter Rodney Crowell, and "Black Rose" are appropriately feisty, while Haggard's signature, "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys "with a sober-fact charm.

The ballads are just as impressive. McNally wraps her voice beautifully around the plaintive "Help Me Make It Through the Night" before unleashing it in the crescendo chorus of "We Had It All".

And it's worth noting that this collection just scratches the surface of the Jennings catalog. So maybe Volume 2? Here is hoped.

Wishbone, Brigitte DeMeyer (from self-published viewfinder)

Brigitte DeMeyers Seeker is a little bit of country and a little bit of soul, all packed in standard jazz arrangements. The songs flow with earthiness and charm, everything anchored by DeMeyer's rousing voice.

DeMeyer opens the album with the mysterious and sultry “All the Blue” before adding some funk for “Cat Man Do”. The funkiness is also discreetly present in the acoustic love song "Already In".

The jazz elements are in the foreground in "Ain't No Mister", with the piano by producer Jano Rix giving the song a healthy swing.

The musical cornucopia is joined by songs like “Louisiana”, which has the swampiness of its namesake, the somewhat bluesy “Salt of the Earth” and the popular “Wishbone”.

Above this music are DeMeyer's ethereal and poetic lyrics that arouse a spiritual wanderlust that reflects the album title. Text and music combine to create an exquisite musical package

Ain't ready to live you yet, John Paul Keith (from the release of Wild Honey Records The Rhythm of the City)

There is something special about rock and roll that is done right, a point that John Paul Keith takes to heart. The Memphis musician recalls the glorious beginnings of rock, when the songs were simple, direct and authentic. The Rhythm of the City, his latest, is a master class in 1950s and 1960s music, delivered with the sensibility of the 21st century.

Keith channels the sound of Sun Records – think Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley – on "Love Love Love" in a brilliant way. He adds some Memphis soul to the strolling "The Sun's Gonna Shine Again", not to mention a brass section, before diving into the blues on the haunted "If I Had Money". And then he serves the infectious classic pop of the 1960s "Ain't Done Loving You Yet".

The late Harlan Howard described quality music as "three chords and the truth". Although he made the comment in relation to country music, it is a fitting description of the soulful rock charm of The Rhythm of the City.

May Day, Trapper Schoepp (from Grand Phony Records May Day release)

There are two things that resonate on Trapper Schoepp's latest album – the pandemic and Schoepp's piano. We'll start with the piano. Schoepp's early work focused on the singer-songwriter's guitar, but the pandemic gave him time to develop his piano skills. Unsurprisingly, this instrument appears frequently on May Day and generally gives the songs a relaxed and nuanced feel.

The strolling “May Day” opens the album with Schoepp, who tries to process a broken relationship. "You're a bad drug, it's time to kick it," he sings, although he admits, "I need you in the worst possible way."

"Hotel Astor" with its distinctive piano riff is based on the true story of a fire in the Astor Hotel in Milwaukee. The tense “River Called Disaster”, for which Schoepp set a Craigslist piano on fire in the accompanying video, hits with frustration and a fight against troubled times.

This feeling of fear underscores the impact the pandemic has on May Day. While the album title reflects a sense of rebirth, many of the songs here reflect the darkness of the pandemic, both literally and figuratively. Solo Quarantine, a story about trying to reconnect with someone from the past to break isolation, is an obvious example. The subdued “Paris Syndrome” also addresses isolation, while the simmering “Little Drop of Medicine” draws a parallel to the fall from the Garden of Eden.

Light comes out of the darkness, and with May Day Trapper Schoepp shows us that music can help us to come to terms with and endure difficult times.

I should have heard Ferris Beuller, Brett Newski (From the publication of Nomad Union It's Hard To Be A Person: Soundtrack to the Book)

Everyone has their own way of dealing with fear. Brett Newski meets him with his artistic endeavors. This spring, he brings his visual and musical talents together by publishing a book of illustrations, accompanied, of course, by a musical soundtrack.

The title exposes the subject – It's hard to be a person: Conquer fear, survive the world and have more fun. The opening "I Should’ve Listened to Ferris Bueller" with Steve Page from Barenaked Ladies captures everything that is great about Newski and his music. The coming-of-age saga confronts adolescence with a cheeky reference to the classic John Hughes film on the subject. Like many Newski songs, it has an immensely catchy melody and a sweeping sing-along chorus.

Many of the acoustic songs on the album have Violent Femmes vibes, especially the escapist “If I Had a Car”. In front of a frenetic musical backdrop, Newski sings: "If I had a car, I would be free, I would get off this bus where they would pick me up."

Lillian Road is about overcoming a difficult – and undoubtedly, ultimately failed – relationship. "I'm hiding in my dreams," admits Nevsky, "because in reality it's a bit like hell."

There are some rough full-band jams too. The hectic "Life Underwater" features a healthy helping of electric guitar and a fiery solo, while Nevsky tries to look ahead in the face of adversity.

And as a reminiscence of the wanderlust days of Newski before Covid, the Dutch quartet Bony Macaroni joins them on the glowing closer “Dead to Me”.

One goal of art is to shed light on important topics and questions. Kudos to Newski for making it sound contagious.

About the author: A gentle corporate manager by day, an excited Twangville resident at night.


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