Music News 2/20/2019


Our Native Daughters (Rhiannon Giddens, Amythyst Kiah, Leyla McCalla, Allison Russell), SONGS OF OUR NATIVE DAUGHTERS (Smithsonian Folkways, $16.98) – Rhiannon Giddens convened a gathering of likeminded musicians (Leyla McCalla, Amythyst Kiah, and Allison Russell) to form an all-women’s super-group. The four all share a fierce determination to reclaim the African American string-band and banjo traditions, and to connect those origins and legacies to today. Each Daughter gets feature roles on powerful songs like “Mama’s Cryin' Long,” “I Knew I Could Fly,” “Barbados,” and “Black Myself.”

The 36-page booklet includes lyrics and a bibliography). As Ms. Giddens writes: “At the intersection of the two (racism and sexism) stands the African American woman. Used, abused, ignored and scorned, she has in the face of these things been unbelievably brave, groundbreaking and insistent. Black women have historically had the most to lose, and have therefore been the fiercest fighters for justice — in large, public ways that are only beginning to be highlighted, and in countless domestic ways that will most likely never be acknowledged.”

Also, don’t forget Leyla McCalla’s great album released last month, THE CAPITALIST BLUES (Jazz Village, $12.98).

NOTE: Ms. Giddens will be a special guest at pianist Lara Downes’s recital, A Hole in the Sky, celebrating women composers and performers. The show is this Saturday, February 23, at Sixth & I Synagogue.

THE SOCIAL POWER OF MUSIC (Smithsonian Folkways, 4 CD and book, $59.98) – This box set (with over 80 music tracks on four CDs) and 124-page book is an accompaniment to the programs at this  summer’s Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

Disc 1, “Songs of Struggle,” includes the Freedom Singers, Pete Seeger, Fannie Lou Hamer and Paul Robeson.  Disc 2, “Sacred Sounds,” includes Shape-Note and Old Harp Singers, Zuni Pueblo and Chippewa Singers, and the gospel quartet of the Paschall Brothers.  Disc 3, “Social Songs and Gatherings” includes Clifton Chenier, Flaco Jiménez, and the Rebirth Jazz Band. The set concludes with Disc 4, “Global Movements.”



Julian Lage, LOVE HURTS (Mack Avenue, $17.98) – The electric guitarist’s brand new trio with Jorge Roeder on bass, and Dave King (Bad Plus) on drums. A great mix of tunes by Ornette Coleman, Keith Jarrett, Jimmy Giuffre, Roy Orbison, Boudleaux Bryant (the title track). Plus the standard, “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You,” and two originals by Julian.


Julian and his label sent the store a few signed copies of his great album from last year, MODERN LORE, featuring his “Telecaster Trio” with Scott Colley on bass and Kenny Wolleson on drums.

If you’d like to enter to win a CD, please email , with LAGE in the subject field.



BETTER OBLIVION COMMUNITY CENTER (Dead Oceans, $14.98) – A new collaboration between Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst, resulting in some catchy pop.

NOTE: Better Oblivion Community Center will appear at the Black Cat on Wednesday, April 3.

Gary Clark, Jr., THIS LAND (Warner Brothers, $13.98) – The Austin singer and blues guitarist with his most ambitious album yet, expansive both thematically and sonically. The powerful title track is a highlight (Mr. Clarke played it on SNL last weekend).

NOTE: Gary Clark, Jr. will be headlining at the Anthem, at the Wharf, on Saturday, March 30.

Cass McCombs, TIP OF THE SPHERE (Anti, $11.98) – A new set of songs…

NOTE: Cass McCombs will be at Union Stage at the Wharf, on Monday, March 4.


Ray Charles, MODERN SOUNDS IN COUNTRY AND WESTERN MUSIC, VOLUMES 1 & 2 (Concord, $) – Two classics (both released in 1962) by Ray Charles, who upended genres and put his own stamp on country classics. Arrangements by Marty Paich (strings and large chorus) and Gerald Wilson and Gil Fuller (big band and the Raeletts). Listen again to Ray!