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 Vinyl Picks - Best Of 2020

New Vinyl

Bonny Light Horseman - Bonny Light Horseman

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The timeless qualities of traditional tunes can carry us across oceans and eons, linking us not only to the past but to each other as well. It was under the banner of those eternal connections that the trio of Bonny Light Horseman came together. From Wisconsin festival fields and a German art hub to a snowy upstate studio and everywhere in between, the astral folk outfit—comprised of Anaïs Mitchell, Eric D. Johnson, and Josh Kaufman—is mixing the ancient, mystical medium of transatlantic traditional folk music with a contemporary, collective brush. The resulting album, Bonny Light Horseman, is an elusive kind of sonic event: a bottled blend of lightning and synergy that will excite fans of multiple genres, eras, and ages.

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Sam Morrow - Gettin' By On Gettin' Down

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Two years before releasing Gettin' By on Gettin' Down — the most guitar-driven, groove-heavy album of Sam Morrow's catalog, with songs that roll just as hard as they rock — Morrow hit the highway in support of his third record, Concrete & Mud. Despite the 28-year-old being a road warrior for years, this time things felt different. Joined by a band of amplified roots-rockers, Morrow spent eighteen months traveling halfway across the world, playing Concrete & Mud songs to the biggest audiences of his career. By the time the dust settled, he'd become a staple of Americana radio on both sides of the Atlantic, with outlets like Rolling Stone and NPR singing his praises. 

 

Those road miles set the stage for Gettin' By on Gettin' Down, a modern album that revisits — and reshapes — the primordial sounds of hip-shaking rock & roll. These nine songs are rooted in grease, grit, and groove, from the swampy soul of "Round 'N Round" to the funky syncopation of "Rosarita" to the hook-laden rock of "Money Ain't a Thing." There's hardly an acoustic guitar in sight; instead, amplifiers and guitar pedals rule the roost, with everything driven forward by percussive rhythms that owe as much to R&B as country music. Written and recorded in the wake of Concrete & Mud's acclaimed tour, Gettin' By on Gettin' Down doubles down on the electrified fire and fury of Sam Morrow's live shows, with a road-ready band joining him on every song. 

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Sturgill Simpson - Cutting Grass

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The country music singer-songwriter and actor has released five albums as a solo artist. His first two albums, High Top Mountain and Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, were independently released in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

This album features 20 songs, all of which are reworked versions of cuts from Simpson’s discography. 

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The Chicks - Gaslighter

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Superstars, renegades, innovators, heroes, villains, and moms - over almost a decade, The Chicks have grown from a band into a phenomenon.

Formerly known as The Dixie Chicks, this is the group’s first album in 14 years.

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William Prince - Gospel First Nation

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On Gospel First Nation, William Prince tells us this story through the music of his childhood, songs of faith, struggle and grace. These are songs he learned and sang with his father in that chapel named for his great grandfathers, all preachers. William’s family home, the community of Peguis First Nation, is named for Prince’s ancestor, Chief Peguis, one of the highest regarded leaders of his time. When Chief Peguis was baptized, he took the name William King; in keeping with royal protocol, as an expression of pride and with the unknown weight of the consequences of all of the decisions he made with the arrival of colonizers on the land, named his children Princes. Like names, the songs of Gospel First Nation link generations, from son to father to grandfather and back even further.

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Jake Blount - Spider Tales

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Named for Anansi—the great trickster of Akan mythology—Spider Tales features fourteen carefully chosen tracks drawn from Blount’s extensive research of Black and Indigenous mountain music. The result is an unprecedented testament to the voices paradoxically obscured yet profoundly ingrained into the Appalachian tradition. 

 

Blount is joined by his musical peers Tatiana Hargreaves, Nic Gareiss, Rachel Eddy, and Haselden Ciaccio on the album, which was produced by Jeff Claus and Judy Hyman (The Horse Flies). Altogether, Spider Tales is a beautiful, masterfully performed, and thematically intense first statement into the transforming canon of American roots music.

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MOURN - Self Worth

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MOURN knows quite a bit about setbacks, but a latent belief persists within: the negative will eventually become positive. It’s the belief in the wonder of resilience. It’s the name they chose for their new album: Self Worth.

The band isn’t the same as when they formed. The world isn’t either. MOURN grew up, and that’s evident in the songs that make up Self Worth. Their melodies – energetic and captivating – venture into less level grounds, and their lyrics show a newfound readiness to tackle issues of a different weight and size.

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Drew Citron - Free Now

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Brooklyn indie-rock stalwart Drew Citron formed Beverly in 2013, after having got her start as a touring member with Frankie Rose and The Pains of Being Pure of Heart.

 

With Free Now, Citron, one of the most beautiful voices in Indie Rock, comes to the table with a whole lot of pain to sing about and the full musical knowledge to put herself, and her talents, front and centre. 

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Jack Johnson - All The Light Above It Too

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All The Light Above It Too was recorded over the past year at Jack’s Mango Tree Studio in Hawaii. For the first time in years Johnson handled most of the instrumentation himself, echoing the four-track recordings that launched his career over 17 years ago. He worked with producer Robbie Lackritz (Feist, Bahamas), and brought in the band to play on a few of the tracks.

Engineered and Mixed by Robbie Lackritz, assisted by Simon Beins

 

Mastered by Emily Lazar at The Lodge, NY, assisted by Chris Allgood. Recorded using solar energy at The Mango Tree, Hawaii, and The Solar Powered Plastic Plant, Los Angeles, CA

 

All songs written by Jack Johnson.

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Allman Brothers Band - Seven Turns ( Reissue )

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Seven Turns is the ninth studio album by The Allman Brothers Band, released in 1990. Their first studio album since Brothers of the Road in 1981, it was well-received and peaked at #53. Hit singles were "Good Clean Fun" (#1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks); "Seven Turns" (#12) and "It Ain't Over Yet" (#26). This is the Allman Brothers Band's comeback album and their best Blues-based outing since Idlewild South that restored a lot of their reputation. With Tom Dowd running the session, and the group free to make the music they wanted to, they ended up producing this bold, rock-hard album, made up mostly of songs by Dickey Betts (with contributions by new keyboard player Johnny Neel and lead guitarist Warren Haynes), almost every one of them a winner.

The reissue is available October 2nd 2020

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Stan Rogers - The Best Of ( Double Vinyl )

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The world lost Stan Rogers, one of Canada’s best folksingers and composers, in a fire on Air Canada flight #797 at the Cincinnati, Ohio airport on June 2nd, 1983. Stan Rogers’ music continues to amaze, amuse and inspire people from all walks of life, and has been referred to as “one of the touchstones of modern Canadian history.”

 

He was and remains one the finest songwriters of the past 100 years. Borealis Records is proud to make available limited-edition double vinyl with 18 of Stan Rogers’ best loved songs, re-mastered for vinyl by João Carvalho and Bill Garrett. All songs are produced by Paul Mills. Executive Producer is Ariel Rogers.

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The Waterboys - Good Luck, Seeker

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The Waterboys, one of the most creative, loved and literate bands of the last four decades, have released their 14th studio album, Good Luck, Seeker. Its 14 songs are populated by unrepentant freaks, soul legends, outlaw film stars and 20th Century mystics, drawing inspiration from the Stones, Kate Bush, Sly and Kendrick as well as Mike Scott’s very own musical past. Part song diary, part epic spoken word adventure, Good Luck, Seeker is a new departure for the restless sonic magician and his merry band of fellow travelers, drawing together the many glistening strands of the band’s unique, wondrous journey.

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Pharis & Jason Romero - Bet On Love

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Bet On Love, the duo’s newest release, takes you on a wonderful trip through their increasingly distinctive songwriting, singing and playing. Recorded mostly live with guests John Reischman (mandolin) and Patrick Metzger (bass), the duo joined with producer Marc Jenkins to bring an album of plain feelings and acoustic instrumentation to lush, love-affirming life. Bet On Love follows up on 2018’s Sweet Old Religion (also produced by Jenkins) - which won a 2019 Juno Award and two Canadian Folk Music 2018 Awards

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Pheobe Bridgers - Punisher

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American indie rock musician from Los Angeles, California. Best known for her work as a solo singer-songwriter, she is also a part of two music groups: Boygenius (with Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus), and Better Oblivion Community Center (with Conor Oberst).

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Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit - Reunions

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12" Album / Southeastern Records / Rock, Pop, Indie 

“There are a lot of ghosts on this album. Sometimes the songs are about the ghosts of people who aren’t around anymore, but they’re also about who I used to be, the ghost of myself. I found myself writing songs that I wanted to write fifteen years ago, but in those days, I hadn’t written enough songs to know how to do it yet. Just now have I been able to pull it off to my own satisfaction. In that sense it’s a reunion with the me I was back then.” - Jason Isbell

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Neil Young - Homegrown

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Neil Young has said that this album is “the unheard bridge between Harvest and Comes a Time”, which perfectly describes the warm, semi-acoustic feel of these twelve songs. Originally intended to be released in 1975, the album has remained unreleased since then, and has a legendary status among Neil’s fans.

Seven of the songs are previously unreleased on any album, and different versions of the other five songs would appear on later Neil Young albums. Neil plays guitar, piano and harmonica on the album, and is accompanied by a stellar group of musicians including Levon Helm, Ben Keith, Karl T Himmel, Tim Drummond, Emmylou Harris and Robbie Robertson.

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Julian Taylor - The Ridge

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A Canadian treasure of extraordinary talent, artist Julian Taylor mines his solo singer-songwriter passion with the new Americana album The Ridge.

Co-produced by Taylor and longtime collaborator Saam Hashemi, the eight-song album was originally scheduled for a fall release date, but Taylor decided to release the album sooner in the hope that his songs might bring joy to listeners in troubled times.

 

The introspective and often tender content of The Ridge is perfectly encapsulated and enhanced by a brilliant cast of sympatico musicians. 

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Bruce Cockburn

True North - 50th Anniversary Box Set 5LP

To be active and relevant in music for 50 years is a significant achievement for any individual recording artist. The same can be said for any independent record label. To achieve this milestone together as an artist and label team without interruption, has to be one of the most extraordinarily rare events in music.


To celebrate this milestone, Bruce Cockburn and True North Records have produced a Limited Edition vinyl box set containing three of Bruce Cockburn’s most significant recordings.

The first album where it all started, the self-titled debut Bruce Cockburn along with two albums that have never before been released on vinyl; The Charity of Night and Breakfast in New Orleans, Dinner in Timbuktu.

Each album has been re-mastered by Bruce’s long-time producer Colin Linden, and is pressed on coloured vinyl. The five180 gram discs are contained in original artwork sleeves adapted from the original designs by Michael Wrycraft, and housed in an individually numbered box signed personally by the artist. 

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Tommy Emmanuel - The Best Of Tommysongs

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The Best of Tommysongs is a double album that features some of Tommy Emmanuel’s best original works. Tommy solely wrote, produced, and recorded all the tracks on this record. 

 

Tommy has been playing some of these songs for over 30 years, and they have evolved over time. He wanted to re-record them to suit the modern arrangements and to make them sound BIGGER than ever! It also has 5 brand new songs including the heart-thumping “Fuel” and the beautifully melodic “Song For A Rainy Morning.”

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Beoga - Carousel

With an adventurous spirit and a passion for charting the road less travelled, Beoga have shown that Irish traditional music can take fresh new directions.

Constantly evolving, the quintet have proved that new audiences are eager to embrace the genre’s life-affirming energy. ‘Carousel’ is their latest offering featuring collaborations with their favourite artists (Ryan McMullan, Lissie, Foy Vance, Devin Dawson & Niall McCabe) and a selection of new instrumentals. 

Exclusive to this Vinyl Pre-Order campaign! The band are putting together a bonus 8-page booklet insert, containing lyrics and background on the tracks - only available on this initial run!

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