Music News 11/17/21


Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, RAISE THE ROOF (Rounder, $16.98) – Two superb vocalists from very different backgrounds came together on Raising Sand (2007) to create a magical sound. Fourteen years later, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss return with producer T Bone Burnett. As on Raising Sand, Plant and Krauss transform genre—roots country, English folk, early rock & roll and R&B, singer/songwriter—into ethereal and moody gems that sound timeless. Songs from Betty Harris, Merle Haggard, the Everly Brothers, Bobby Moore and the Rhythm Aces, Anne Briggs, Bert Jansch, Calexico and Lucinda Williams are in the mix. The deep-groove rhythm section of Jay Bellerose and Dennis Crouch is back, with a bevy of guitarists: Marc Ribot, David Hidalgo, Bill Frisell, and Buddy Miller. Enjoy! 

Adele, 30 (Columbia) – Adele is a transcendent, global superstar, with a powerful and emotion-filled voice, and a songwriter who connects deeply with her audience. Based on her Sunday-night concert in L.A., her vocal powers and songwriting have gotten even greater. Just as her previous albums (1921, and 25), 30 is tied to her current life, “a chronicle of divorce and soul-searching recovery.” Come back to Adele’s power ballads and anthemic uplifting songs—a transformative experience. 

Willie Nelson, FAMILY (Sony Legacy, $13.98) – Family is filled with classic gospel and spirituals old and new, sung by Willie, his sister Bobbie, sons Lukas and Micah, daughters Amy and Paula, backed by his long-time band. Songs include “Family Bible,” “I Saw the Light,” “I Thought About You, Lord,” and “All Things Must Pass” (a feature for Lukas). 

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, THE LEGENDARY 1979 NO NUKES CONCERTS (Sony Legacy, 2 CDs & 1 DVD, $30.98) – Bruce leads the classic E Street band line-up, on epic songs like “Badlands,” “The Promised Land,” “Rosalita,” “Prove it All Night,” “Thunder Road,”  and “Jungleland,” mixed with classic covers like “Quarter to Three,” “Rave On,” and the “Detroit Medley.” 



Lucinda Williams, HAVE YOURSELF A ROCKIN’ LITTLE CHRISTMAS WITH LUCINDA: Lu’s Jukebox Vol 5 (Highway 20, $13.98) – The fifth volume of Lu’s Jukebox—a series of live-in-studio band sessions for fundraisers during our pandemic—is a collection of classic Christmas tunes taken from blues, R&B, country—and even the Ramones. Songs associated with or written by Charles Brown, Albert King, Merle Haggard, Chuck Berry, Louis Armstrong, Buck Owens, and Freddy King are part of this fantastic holiday treat. 

Norah Jones, I DREAM OF CHRISTMAS (Blue Note, $13.98) – Ms. Jones went a very creative route for her first holiday album: she wrote or co-wrote six original tunes—like “Christmas Glow,” “You’re Not Alone,” and “A Holiday with You”—as well as picking out some favorite classics. She has a superb backing band, and her fresh arrangements of “Blue Christmas,” “Run Rudolph Run,” and “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” are right at home in the Norah Jones catalog. 

The Knights, THE KNIGHTS BEFORE CHRISTMAS (Bright Shiny Things, $13.98) – The Knights are a new music chamber orchestra led by the brothers Colin (violin) and Eric Jacobsen (cello, conductor), who are also founders of the string quartet, Brooklyn Rider. The Knights Before Christmas features guests from the realms of classical, folk, and international, among them, I’m With Her (Sarah Jarosz, Aoife O’Donovan, Sara Watkins), countertenor Anthony Roth Constanzo, vocalists Magos Herrera and Gaby Moreno, and pipa virtuoso Wu Man. 

Caitriona O’Leary, STRANGE WONDERS: WEXFORD CAROLS VOL. II (Heresy Records, $17.99) – The follow-up to the 2014 release of Irish carols. Vol. II features songs “from the Waddinge and Deveraux collections that focus on the spiritual and mystical aspects of the Christmas story and also some less familiar aspects of this narrative, including carols about the lives of saints whose feast days fall within the 12 days of Christmas.” 

Fretwork & Helen Charlston, AN ELIZABETHAN CHRISTMAS (Signum, $18.99) – The viol consort, Fretwork, collaborate with mezzo-soprano Helen Charlston on works by William Byrd, Anthony Holborne, Orlando Gibbons, Martin Peerson, and Thomas Weelkes. 


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