Margo Price released a new album, Strays, this month. It’s probably overall my favorite of her records, consistently good throughout. Price’s lyrics often feel to me like they could’ve used one more pass, and the same is true again here. On the other hand, this record has a certain urgency that balances any shortcomings I might find. Of course I have no inside knowledge, but it feels like this is a record she needed to make — like it was bubbling up inside her and had to get out.
I’ve spotlighted several bluegrass records in the last few months, and January brought us one called Details, by Nick Dumas. This is a rock-solid collection of traditional-style bluegrass, and I’m loving it. My only nitpick is that the few instrumentals in the collection all sound like variations on the fiddle tune Big Sciota (or “Scioty,” depending on who & where you ask). On the other hand, Big Sciota is one of my favorite fiddle tunes, so I can forgive it.
But there are zero nits for me to pick with Eddie 9v’s latest, Capricorn. This is a blazing album of bluesy soul. Or maybe it’s soulful blues, depending on which end of the telescope you’re looking through. Either way, it’s good for whatever ails you. Every track is a winner. Recorded at, and named for, the storied Capricorn studio in Macon, Georgia, this record soaked up every drop of mojo that space has to offer. It’s gonna be in heavy rotation around our house for a good, long while.
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.