Music News 2/5/2020


Leon Bridges & Khruangbin, TEXAS SUN (Dead Oceans, 4-song EP, $10.98) – Leon Bridges (from Fort Worth) has one of the best soul voices on the scene today. Khruagbin (from Houston) is a trio (Laura Lee on bass, Mark Speer on guitar, and Donald Ray "DJ" Johnson Jr. on drums) who have crash genre expectations by combining surf music, dub, Thai funk, soul, and psychedelia. Leon and Khruangbin have come together to create four soulful songs; here’s to further collaborations.

Kat Edmonson, DREAMERS DO (Spinnerette, $15.98) – Kat Edmonson has a unique waifish voice, hinting at long-gone eras in American music. As she writes about her new album, “the story of Dreamers Do unfolds during the course of one sleepless night. The album begins with a promising invitation to settle in for the night and to dream (“Go to Sleep”). Joy and magic are revealed (“In a World of My Own”), but soon a left turn is taken (“When You Wish Upon a Star”), and a wild night ensues.” Ms. Edmonson mixes her originals with some mid-20th century Disney songs for a lovely night of songs.

Christian McBride, THE MOVEMENT REVISITED: A Musical Portrait of Four Icons (Mack Avenue, $17.98) – Bassist and bandleader Christian McBride has produced a suite of songs and narration for a big band, choir, and four dynamic voices, honoring some iconic figures.. Sonia Sanchez speaks the words of Rosa Parks, Vondie Curtis-Hall uncannily channels Malcolm X, Dion Graham is Muhammad Ali, and Wendell Pierce speaks the words of Dr. Martin Luther King. All four also speak the words of President Barack Obama.

BOOKS & MUSIC: Stephen Hough & Johnny Cash

Pianist Stephen Hough’s new book, ROUGH IDEAS: Reflections on Music and More (Farrar Strauss Giroux, $30) has just arrived. Among the world’s most renowned concert and recording artists, Hough is also a composer, painter, and dedicated writer. His book takes you inside the world of the concert musician, but also explores travel, books, paintings, religion, and the challenges involved in being a gay Catholic.

NOTE: Stephen Hough will be presenting his new book at Politics & Prose this April 19.

His newest recording is BRAHMS: The Final Piano Pieces (Hyperion, $19.98), playing Fantasias Op 116, Intermezzos Op 117, and two sets of Clavierstücke, Ops 118 and 119.

The paperback version of FOREVER WORDS: The Unknown Poems (Plume, $18) by Johnny Cash was released late last year. Forever Words is edited and introduced by poet Paul Muldoon, and has a forward by John Carter Cash. A book of poems and unfinished lyrics, they were gathered from Cash’s writing journals which he kept throughout his touring life.

The book also inspired a musical offshoot, FOREVER WORDS: THE MUSIC (Sony Legacy, $9.98), with some great musicians who each wrote new tunes to Cash’s words. They include Rosanne Cash, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Kris Kristofferson & Willie Nelson, Brad Paisley, John Mellencamp, Carlene Carter, Elvis Costello, The Jayhawks, Ruston Kelly & Kacey Musgraves, Robert Glasper, Dailey & Vincent, T Bone Burnett, Jewel, I’m With Her, and in one of his last performances, Chris Cornell.