Ron: Boz Scaggs – Out Of The Blues
My guess is if you were to play this album for anyone unfamiliar with Boz Scaggs, they’d be VERY surprised to learn his first album came out in 1965. A few bars into the leadoff track “Rock And Stick,” that unique and still-smooth voice belies his 74 years. For this release, the 3rd of a trilogy, Boz delves back into his roots: many different styles of the blues. You’ll find traditional blues (“I’ve Just Got To Know”), rollicking New Orleans dance-blues (“Little Miss Night And Day”) and 3am with a bourbon in front of you blues (“I’ve Just Got To Forget You”). While his guitar chops are never in question, he still has Doyle Bramhall II and Charlie Sexton guesting, allowing Boz to move to bass on “Down In Virginia.” Though it may seem strange on paper, listen to his take on Neil Young’s rare “On The Beach” too!
Margot: Great Lake Swimmers – The Waves, The Wake
What a gorgeous record! If you aren’t familiar, Great Lake Swimmers are a Canadian band built around a loose collective of musicians and the guiding light of singer/songwriter Tony Dekker – much like Hiss Golden Messenger is built around M.C. Taylor. The Waves, The Wake is Great Lake Swimmers’ seventh studio album. This time they went into the studio with the idea of creating an album without one instrument: the acoustic guitar. It works beautifully, especially in the standout songs “The Talking Wind” and “Holding Nothing Back.” Adjectives like lush and shimmery will be applied liberally to this album, however, if you think that isn’t your musical cup of tea, please don’t let that discourage you from giving this terrific album a listen. Recommended tracks: “The Talking Wind,” “Hold Nothing Back,” and “Alone But Not Alone”.
Stacy: Jungle – For Ever
In 2014, the musical collective out of the UK known as Jungle took the world by storm. Their debut Jungle garnered widespread acclaim both in the underground scene and commercially, even being short-listed for the Mercury Prize. With such early success, expectations ran high for their follow-up For Ever. While still delivering their soulful, falsetto-driven funk, this sophomore release isn’t as uplifting/impactful as their debut. It rings a little moodier, a little more troubled. Maybe it’s that both Tom McFarland and Josh Lloyd-Watson (Jungle founders) ended relationships or that their move to LA wasn’t as idyllic as they hoped (they would end up returning to London to finish the project). Either way, you’ll still hear catchy, synth-laden goodness worthy of the needle drop. Don’t miss the stand-outs: “Beat 54” (an homage to Studio 54), “Happy Man” and “Heavy California.”
Benji: Black Pumas – Black Moon Rising
Rarely do bands have record labels get into bidding wars for their services. It’s even more rare when that artist only has one song in their repertoire. Such is the case with Austin’s Black Pumas. The band is generating such a buzz that major record labels are drooling over the prospect of having them sign to their label. The buzz all began when legendary Austin producer Adrian Quesada teamed up with singer/songwriter Eric Burton. The two began gigging and quickly developed a rabid following. To date, “Black Moon Rising” is their only release. The song’s soulful psychedelic groove is one of the most contagious songs you’ll come across. The band has yet to sign with a label, they’ve been too busy with shows at Grandoozy and opening for St. Paul & The Broken Bones. Look for a full album sometime in the Spring. Until then, savor every soulful morsel of “Black Moon Rising.”