There was a LOT of good music released this month, once again making it very hard to pick just one record to recommend. The Black Keys dropped a pretty much straight forward blues album called Delta Kream which, front to back, might be my favorite record from their catalog. I’m also really digging Rising Appalachia’s latest, The Lost Mystique Of Being In The Know. Oliver Wood (of The Wood Brothers) delivered an excellent solo record, Always Smilin‘. And another new solo album, Start It Over, from The Deslondes singer/songwriter Riley Downing, is also great.
As much as I like all those, my runner-up for May’s pick of the month is another blues record: Little Black Flies by Eddie 9V. Every single track on this record will make your toes tap and your head bob. So. Much. Fun. Neither Suzy nor I had ever heard of this guy before, but we will definitely be keeping an ear out for him from now on.
But in the end, my #1 May recommendation is Lord Huron’s new release, Long Lost. I hear a little of everything on this record. It’s folky, of course. (Who would imagine me recommending anything that wasn’t?) But in addition to that, there are huge helpings of Spaghetti Western, some psychedelia, a smattering of ’40s -’50s era American Songbook-like stylistic flourishes, not to mention any number of passages straight out of the Angelo Badalamenti / David Lynch toy box. And I don’t mean that I hear all this from one track to another; these influences are all stirred together in different combinations on every song. Hopeful. Mournful. Melancholy. Optimistic. It’s really good.
My April recommendation is a really close call. I very strongly suggest you check out Carsie Blanton’s new album, Love & Rage. It could easily have been my pick for the month and I’d have been perfectly happy with that. But in the end, I have to got with The Brother Brothers’ new release, Calla Lily. This record is like discovering a previously unreleased Everly Brothers album. Amazing. And I’m a complete sucker for that kind of close harmony singing and the kinds of songs that show it off.
Valerie June The Moon And Stars: Prescriptions For Dreamers
Valerie June captured our hearts from the very start (with her 2013 debut album Pushin’ Against A Stone) and, like Buck Meek, she’s always great, a bit off the beaten path, and a little unexpected. But man oh man, this record is sooooo, soooo good.
Finding ourselves at home so much during the pandemic, Suzy and I unintentionally started a habitual Friday night review of the week’s album drops. About once a month we find something we really like. Eventually it occurred to me to post our monthly recommendations on Facebook. Which I have since been doing. But this morning I got thinking that I should post them here as well because a) it will make them much easier for me to find and refer to and b) I mostly hate Facebook.
Our January pick was Buck Meek’s Two Saviors
I love Buck’s unusual songs structures and oddball lyrics and subject matter. We’ve been big fans for several years now, but this album is off the charts good. Can’t say enough positive things about it. There isn’t a single dud anywhere on the record, but for me “Second Sight’ is a real standout.