Now Hear This
Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit
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“Georgia Blue is a labor of love. On election day 2020, when I saw that there was a good chance the state of Georgia might go blue, I came up with an idea: to record an album of Georgia- related songs as a thank you to the state and donate the money to a Georgia based non-profit organization. I will admit my motivations were a bit selfish. For years, I’ve been looking for an excuse to record these songs with my band and some friends. The songs on this album are some of my favorite Georgia-related songs, but the tracklist is not meant to be comprehensive. I would love to cover Outkast and 2 Chainz, but I don’t think the finished product would be very good. We’re a rock band, so we covered rock songs. We have roots in blues and R&B, so we enlisted some brilliant artists to help us pull off songs by Precious Bryant, James Brown, and Gladys Knight. My favorite part of the Georgia Blue recording process was having the opportunity to work with these very special artists, and I thank them: Amanda Shires, Brittney Spencer, Adia Victoria, Brandi Carlile, Julien Baker, Bèla Fleck, Chris Thile, Steve Gorman, Peter Levin, and John Paul White. I hope you enjoy listening to these recordings as much as we enjoyed making them. Keep listening to good music and fighting the good fight.”
- Jason Isbell
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Jason Boland & The Stragglers
The Light Saw Me
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For the past 20 years, Jason Boland & the Stragglers have dazzled audiences all over as one of the leading ambassadors of the Oklahoma and Texas music movement. Millions of fans cheering him on, over 500,000 records sold independently and 10 albums later, Boland is a career musician whose legacy continues to grow. From his early days touring in cramped vans and playing in front of tiny bar crowds to the packed venues he performs in today, Boland’s uncompromising approach has grown his profile dramatically, especially in the past handful of years. Add to that the legions of musicians who are influenced by Boland, and his impact on the scene is undeniable.
Prior to the pandemic, Boland was hard at work on his most ambitious project yet. The groundwork he laid in 2019 saw the singer-songwriter roll through songs that would be a bold step forward. Strumming through the material with the Stragglers at a rehearsal in Colorado, Boland knew he had something big. However, that session took place a day before the lockdown and put the kibosh on the project for a year.
In early 2021, the time felt right to get the project rolling again. At a time when pandemic albums are popping up left and right, Boland zigged when everyone else zagged. Titled The Light Saw Me, the acclaimed singer-songwriter decided to go deeper than he’s ever gone before to create a multi-layered sci-fi concept album. Once again teaming up with his frequent co-conspirator, Grammy-winning producer Shooter Jennings, Boland hunkered down in a Los Angeles-area studio to bring The Light Saw Me to life.
On the surface, The Light Saw Me traces a cowboy living in Texas in the 1890s who is abducted by aliens and ends up in Texas in the 1990s, but there’s way more to it. Packed into three distinctive interlocking parts, The Light Saw Me is layered with vivid imagery that touches on old legends (such as a spacecraft allegedly crashing in Aurora, Texas), conspiracies, and other accounts that run contrary to reality.
Hidden behind the grandeur of the storyline, the message that Boland aims to share is a universal one: Everyone and everything is connected by love. In classic Boland fashion, The Light Saw Me tackles stories and themes that are integral to his writing beyond his world-class use of metaphors, like who we are, where we’re going, and whether love is something that people feel internally or just connected to consciousness and humans’ fear of their own mortality.
For most of his career, the only thing you could expect from Boland is to do the unexpected. On what’s now his 10th studio album, he not only does that, but he did it in his own organic and authentic way. He’s making the music he wants while continuing to please the people who want to hear where his artistic journey takes him next. With a catalog like his, that’s no easy feat.
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Jeff Parker’s Forfolks—a new album of solo guitar works—will be released on December 10, 2021 via International Anthem and Nonesuch Records. The albumincludes interpretations of Thelonious Monk’s “Ugly Beauty” and the standard “My Ideal,” plussix original compositions including "Four Folks" (a tune first written by Parker and recorded in 1995) and "La Jetée" (a tune he recorded with Isotope 217 in 1997 and with Tortoise in 1998). The four totally new original compositions are loop-driven, stratiform works that marry melodic improvisation with electronic textures. The album was recorded by Graeme Gibson at Sholo Studio in Altadena, California (aka Jeff’s house) over two days in June 2021.
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Ultimate Aaliyah is the second and final compilation album by R&B singer Aaliyah. Originally released by Blackground Records in only the UK, Australia, and Japan, the 2005 double album features one disc of Aaliyah's greatest hits and one disc entitled "Are You Feelin' Me?" containing material from soundtracks and featured work with labelmate Timbaland.
Greatest Hits 1970-2020 [2CD]
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Cuntry Covers Vol. 1 EP
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Few artists are storytellers as deft and disarmingly observational as Andy Shauf. The Toronto-based, Saskatchewan-raised musician’s songs unfold like short fiction: they’re densely layered with colorful characters and a rich emotional depth. Like he’s done throughout his career, Shauf wrote, performed, arranged, and produced every song on his new album Wilds at his studio space in the west end of Toronto.
Over the course of a year-and-a-half, Shauf had written more than 50 songs, and pared down this massive body of work, into a single album’s worth of material, which became 2020’s highly acclaimed The Neon Skyline album. These songs focused on a theme by intertwining the individual characters stories of a group of friends who gathered for one night at the same local bar. Wilds includes songs from those same writing sessions, that did not fit into the Skyline storyline and had their own singular identity apart from that album, though he does revisit with his old friends Judy and Jeremy in this outing.