This week saw the release of a couple of albums by artists I like who have featured here – one of them often, the other for the first time a couple of weeks ago. This prompted me to look at my Apple Music library, and it occurred to me that I have recently added several new albums in there from artists who I’ve played here before, and some I should have done, so I thought it might be an idea to share some of this music with you. It’s a fairly eclectic mix, and I hope you find something among these to enjoy.
I’ll start with the two very new ones. The first of these is from one of my long-time favourites, who you will often have seen here before: Kate Rusby. Kate reaches thirty years in the music business this year, and has released an album of some of her best songs from that time, entitled 30: Happy Returns. These have been re-recorded to mark the occasion, in several cases with guests. Like this one:
That is utterly charming. Like they did for Paul Simon’s Graceland album, Ladysmith Black Mambazo bring their joyous music to the party and I find it irresistible. The song – without these guests – was originally on Kate’s 2014 album, Ghost. She did something similar in 2012 for her twentieth anniversary, with an album called, simply, 20. I’m already looking forward to 40.
Xander and the Peace Pirates made their first appearance here a few weeks ago, and as their new album came out yesterday this seemed like a good time to play them again. The album is called Order Out Of Chaos, and is the band’s response to all of the upheavals that we have gone through for the past two years. I haven’t had the chance to hear it all yet, but the tracks I’ve listened to have been excellent. Here is one of them:
I really hope the album picks up some airplay and gives the band a lot of success. In my view, they deserve it.
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band have never appeared in one of my posts, and I think it is long overdue that I correct that omission, as I’ve been following them since the late Sixties. They have a new album coming out in two weeks’ time, called Dirt Does Dylan. As you may have guessed, this is an album of their versions of some of Bob Dylan’s songs, and three of the tracks have been issued ahead of the album’s release, as advance promotion. Like the Kate Rusby album, some of these feature guest musicians, and this one cried out for me to play it. I’ve long loved the song, ever since The Band covered it, and the guests are the excellent Larkin Poe, who are comprised of sisters Rebecca and Megan Lovell, and who I really should play more than I have done (once, in a video that is no longer available!). This should make up for that:
Rebecca and Megan bring a lot of pleasure to that recording – they look really happy to be there with a bunch of Americana legends. The two other tracks which have been given an advance release are also very good, and I’m looking forward to hearing the full album.
Faun are a German band who describe their music as ‘pagan folk,’ and they have gone the whole hog with their new album, which came out a couple of weeks ago: it is called Pagan. They sing in a variety of languages, in this case in German, but there are English subtitles – just click the link if they don’t come up when you play the video:
That is a lovely version of a song which I know as an English folk song, which has been recorded by both Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention, among others. Faun’s version is gentler, and I think it really fits the song’s imagery very well. The album has already reached #3 in the German albums chart, equalling their best performance to date, and has also made the charts in Austria and Switzerland. I’m not holding my breath for an appearance in the UK listings though!
Bonnie Raitt is another of those whose music I love but who I’ve never played before. Again, a new album from her seems the ideal opportunity to put that right. The album is called Just Like That… and it came out on 22 April (the same date as the Faun one). This is one of the tracks:
As with Xander and the Peace Pirates, it seems to me that Bonnie has been taking stock of the events of the pandemic years: it certainly seems that way, judging by these lyrics, and her message is one which I imagine is etched on many people’s hearts. It is amazing to think that her first album came out in 1971 – and that she is now 72: it feels like only yesterday that I first heard her music! This is her eighteenth studio album, and her first since Dig In Deep came out in 2016. On this evidence, she has still got it. The new album has already reached #44 in the US albums chart and on her previous performances I would expect it to go higher than that.
Today’s final song is from a third album that came out yesterday. Like Bonnie Raitt, Sheryl Crow has been around for a while and celebrated her 60th birthday a couple of months ago. There was a long interview with her in my paper yesterday to mark the album’s release, and it is clear that she remains as focused as ever, and is long past the cancer that she suffered in her forties. The album itself is a retrospective with some new songs, and has been released to coincide with a major new documentary about her, which is showing in the US but not yet here – I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Netflix or Disney+ to catch up! The album is called Sheryl: Music From The Feature Documentary, and it is a great collection of (most of) her best songs, plus the three new ones. This is one of those new songs:
I think that is a lovely, touching song, and the clips in the video really reflect what is important in her life. There are several shots, for example, of her two adopted sons, to whom she has dedicated much of her life over the past fifteen years or so. I hope these new songs are an indication that perhaps there is some new music on the way from her: she has never been the most prolific in terms of album releases, so I guess the three years since her most recent album, Threads, isn’t anything out of the ordinary for her!
I hope I’ve given you something new to listen to, and maybe to follow up further if you’ve enjoyed them. I’m always spoilt for choice for new music – it seems that every Friday brings another album for me to enjoy. Do you find that, too, or is that just me? What’s on your current playlist? I’d love to know, as you may be listening to something I don’t know and might like. Do tell!
Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and I’ll see you again on Tuesday. Take care 😊