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Music News 05/28/2014


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Sturgill Simpson, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music (Thirty Tigers, $12.98) – When I first heard Sturgill Simpson’s new CD—with his big, Waylon Jennings-type voice fronting a guitar-driven, hard-charging country band—I was hooked. If you like classic, roots country (with modern, lyrical twists), this is the album for you. Listen to an interview from NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday, with song excerpts.

NOTE: Strurgill Simpson will be at the Birchmere on Thursday, July 10.

Neil Young, A Letter Home (Reprise, $17.98) – Neil Young went to Jack White’s Nashville studio, and used his lo-fi, refurbished 1947 Voice-o-Graph recording both to sing some his favorite songs by other artists, including Gordon Lightfoot’s “Early Morning Rain,” Ivory Joe Hunter’s “Since I Met You Baby,” Bert Jansch’s “Needle of Death,” and Don Everly’s “I Wonder If I Care as Much.”

Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison, Our Year (Thirty Tigers, $12.98) – This is another wonderful duet album from Kelly and Bruce, exchanging vocals and harmonies on a range of originals, unearthed gems like “Motor City Man” by Walter Hyatt, and classics like Tom T. Hall’s “Harper Valley PTA,” a huge hit for Jeannie C. Riley in 1968.

NOTE: Kelly and Bruce will be at the Birchmere on Friday, June 6.

Sharon Van Etten, Are We There (Jagjaguwar, $14.98) – One of my favorite CDs of 2012 was Tramp by Sharon Van Etten. The follow up by the singer/songwriter has even more interesting sonic touches, but it’s her powerful voice, her lyrics and dark mood that are primary.
NOTE: Sharon Van Etten will play at the 930 Club on Friday, June 17.


CD CoverJazz Samba Project at Strathmore
April, 2012 was the 50th anniversary of the release of the pioneering album, Jazz Samba (Verve, $18.98), featuring Charlie Byrd and Stan Getz, which was recorded at All Soul’s Church at 16th Street and Columbia Road. It ignited a huge American interest in bossa nova.

Two years later, Getz/Gilbert: 50th anniversary (Verve, $12.98), featuring João and Astrud Gilberto on vocals, and composer Antonio Carlos Jobim on piano was issued (with mostly Jobim songs), and became a sensation. Both the hit single (“The Girl from Ipanema” with “Corcovado” on the B side) and the album won Grammys. This week, the 50th anniversary edition is out, with both the mono and stereo versions on it.

CD CoverStrathmore is celebrating Jazz Samba with a festival spanning ten days, starting this Friday, May 30.

For a complete list of the events, including concerts, movies, panel discussions, and a free family day, see the website.

There was a good article about the festival, and a new documentary film, Bossa Nova, in the Washington Post on Tuesday.

Raffle for Natalie Merchant’s new CD

CD CoverNonesuch Records is offering P&P customers a copy of Natalie Merchant new album, Natalie Merchant (Nonesuch, $17.98), her first album of originals in 13 years. The CD is full of great songs, with some arrangements augmented by a string section.

If you’d like to enter the contest, please email with NATALIE in the subject heading.