Ron – Little Steven, Soulfire
If you’re waiting for that next Springsteen album to come out, I have the next best thing for you. After almost 20 years, Steve Van Zandt (Miami Steve, Little Steven) has come out with Soulfire. A collection of songs that sound like they’d all fit nicely into a Bruce setlist (60s soul, horns, female backup singers, driving guitars). Steve also reaches back to his Southside Johnny producer days with “I Don’t Want To Go Home” and “Love On The Wrong Side Of Town”. There’s even a James Brown tune, but not a hit like you might expect. No, he pulls a Godfather cut from the ‘73 Black Caesar soundtrack that drips with Curtis Mayfield/Bobby Womack wah-wah riffs and silky strings. When a concert promoter heard Steve was attending Bill Wyman’s birthday party, he suggested Steve bring the band to the UK for some shows. Little Steven got re-ignited and Soulfire is the result.
Margot – Buffalo Tom, Quiet And Peace
90’s indie rock veterans Buffalo Tom just released their first album in 7 years. Though the trio have taken breaks over the years, they never broke up and their new album Quiet And Peace finds them in fine form. They aren’t trying to reinvent the musical wheel on this album, they are just doing what they do best—warm, introspective, layered rock. Don’t mistake the familiarity of the music overshadowing the messages of the songs, it’s quite the opposite effect. The cover of Simon And Garfunkel’s “The Only Living Boy In New York” is interesting as well. Standout tracks: “Slow Down”, “Lonely, Fast, And Deep”, “In The Ice”.
Stacy – Paul Thorn, Don’t Let The Devil Ride
Paul Thorn got his start at age three shaking a tambourine at his father’s Pentecostal church, and the music hasn’t left him since. On his latest release, Don’t Let the Devil Ride, he steps out of his secular past (a dozen albums) and steps into the world of gospel. He’s re-invented some classics like Love Train and You Got to Move but also digs deeper, exploring some obscure gospel tunes from the 1950’s – ‘70s. The album, recorded at three iconic studios: FAME in Muscle Shoals, Preservation Hall in New Orleans and Sam Phillips Recording in Memphis, captures the sweaty, soul-searching sounds of a southern tent-revival. And well it should, as he’s joined by his “superheroes”, the Grammy winning Blind Boys of Alabama, The McCrary Sisters, Preservation Hall Jazz Horns and Bonnie Bishop. In its entirety, the album delivers a hand-clapping, toe tapping, feel-good, inclusionary record that will make you want to hit repeat.
Benji – Daddy, Let’s Do This
If there ever was a marriage made in Americana heaven, it’s Daddy, featuring the combined talents of Will Kimbrough and Tommy Womack. Kimbrough and Womack have been friends since their days in the short-lived band, The Bis-Quits. Since then both have gone on to successful solo careers and become respected producers and songwriters working with the likes of Jimmy Buffet, Todd Snider, Steve Earle and The Jayhawks. Daddy’s new album: Let’s Do This shows off the pairs versatility as songwriters and musicians from the hard driving “Cadillac Problems” to the soulful down tempo “Don’t Kick Me When I’m Down”. The album covers a variety of topics and genres guaranteed to make everyone happy. By the end of the record you’ll not only want to hear it again but feel like you’ve made a couple of friends. It’s easy to see why Daddy sounds so good. At the end of the day it’s two great friends who love making music.