Album | EP | Single
The Sound Cafe Rating
5 star = essential, 4 star = excellent, 3 star = good, 2 = fans/collectors, 1 = for completionists only
Chris Pierce: American Silence
The full-length LP, American Silence soulfully spins original songs about a wide range of issues including justice, oppression, homelessness, black self-love, racism, mass incarceration, Immigrant Transcontinental Railroad workforce, Native American boarding schools, and a tribute to the American statesman and civil rights leader, John Lewis. The self produced album was recorded during a socially distanced session at Boulevard Recording in Los Angeles, California with only Pierce and the studio owner/engineer Clay Blair in attendance. Lead vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica and background choir parts on the album were performed by Pierce.
Rhianna Fibbins: From The Valley Looking Out
Rhianna’s debut EP is an intimate, reflective and spirited collection of songs close to her heart. From the warm going with the flow vibe of ‘Roll River’ to the heartbreak of tragically losing a dear friend in ‘Diamonds and Coal’ these songs are little emotional landmarks in her life, full of big warm heartstring pullers with a touch of homespun longing. Recorded live one weekend in the cozy studio of Two Bright Lakes with renowned producer Nick Huggins at the wheel these songs took shape with steady rhythm section Matt Earl on drums and Steve Temple on double bass and were accentuated with the elevating fiddle playing of Chance McCoy (Old Crow Medicine Show) and dazzling style of Jy- Perry Banks on pedal steel.
Bobby Dove: Hopeless Romantic
Co-produced with Bazil Donovan (Blue Rodeo) and Tim Vesely (Rheostatics) at The Woodshed studio in Toronto, Bobby Dove’s new album, Hopeless Romantic, offers 11 new original Americana/Country songs on subjects such as unrequited love, being on the road, haunted hotels and hard-rocking pallbearers. On Hopeless Romantic, Bobby collaborates with some of the finest in Canadian Country music including Jimmy Bowskill (The Sheepdogs, Blue Rodeo), Burke Carroll (Kathleen Edwards) as well as guest singers Jim Cuddy (Blue Rodeo) and Jenny Whiteley.
Jerry Joseph: The Beautiful Madness
Who the hell is Jerry Joseph? Well Patterson Hood and Jason Isbell have gone on record saying he is one of the best songwriters and performers ever, and are such believers that they backed him up on his newest album. Jason Isbell called him one of the greatest triple threats, a great singer, songwriter and performer. Richmond Fontaine liked him so much they took him on support for their UK farewell tour in 2016.
While Jerry has been flying just under the radar in the US for decades, he is unknown in Europe but that is all about to change. Currently residing in Portland Oregon Jerry has been releasing records and touring the States and the rest of the world since the early 1990s.
The Beautiful Madness, produced by Patterson Hood (who also wrote the liner notes), is Jerry’s first proper European release. It is Jerry’s unapologetic manifesto on what in the hell is going on with the world written with concern only for shining a light on the truth. Sometimes Jerry hits you with a sledgehammer but usually it’s a slowburn, building with each line of vivid and raw lyrics as the truth of his stories are revealed.
Aaron Lee Tasjan: Tasjan!Tasjan!Tasjan!
An obsessive creative, Aaron Lee Tasjan writes pop songs with a twist, a little overdriven, far too honest at times—performing them like ragged rock tunes that careen a little too close to the edge without actually falling over into the abyss, and autobiographical to a fault. One listen to “Feminine Walk,” the musician’s blatantly confessional song on Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan!, you realize he is the legitimate heir to early rock ‘n’ roll's sly sexual sedition. He updates the idea of androgyny but dispels the emotional and social ambiguity with lyrics that reflect his own geographic and artistic wanderings. Beginning in his early teens they took him from Delaware to California, to Ohio, to New Jersey, to Massachusetts, to New York, to his current home in Nashville, always looking for his psychic and musical locus.
In both his travels and in making his fourth solo album, you get the sense over Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan!’s 11 songs, that the man who began the album, is not the same man who completed it, transformed both by the experiences that inspired the songs and crafting them. In pursuing the muse, Tasjan found himself, and you can feel it beginning with the blithe, deceptive sunshine pop of “Sunday Women,” about an elusive dream girl, to “Computer of Love,” a slurry blurry cautionary about the demise of rock. “Up All Night” is part agit pop, part glam, an unexpected millennial anthem about modern romance without being precious, while “Another Lonely Day,” is a haunting Zen koan full of profundity and neurosis.
Steve Earle & The Dukes: J.T.
On the the new album, J.T., Steve Earle & The Dukes pay tribute to Steve’s late son, Justin Townes Earle (J.T.), who passed away on August 20, 2020 in Nashville. The album was released digitally on what was Justin’s 39th birthday, January 4, 2021, via New West Records.
J.T. finds Steve Earle & The Dukes covering 10 of Justin’s songs – from “I Don’t Care,” which appeared on his 2007 debut EP, Yuma, and a trio of selections from his full-length debut album, The Good Life (“Ain’t Glad I’m Leaving,” “Far Away In Another Town” and “Lone Pine Hill”) to later compositions like 2017’s “Champagne Corolla” and 2019’s “The Saint Of Lost Causes,” which was the title track of Justin’s eighth and final studio album. J.T. closes with “Last Words,” a song Steve wrote for Justin.
100% of the artist advances and royalties from J.T. will be donated to a trust for Etta St. James Earle, the three-year-old daughter of Justin and Jenn Earle. While somber in parts, the album is ultimately a rousing celebration of a life lived with passion and purpose. The recording features the latest incarnation of Steve’s backing band, The Dukes – Chris Masterson on guitar, Eleanor Whitmore on fiddle & vocals, Ricky Ray Jackson on pedal steel, guitar & dobro, Brad Pemberton on drums & percussion, and Jeff Hill on acoustic & electric bass.