Brian Setzer, Ruthie Foster, Justin Hayward and Dr. John celebrate and expand their legacies on masterful new releases.
Artist: Brian Setzer Title: Rockabilly Riot: All Original (Surfdog Records) You might like if you enjoy: The Stray Cats, Lee Rocker
Tell me more: What’s not to love about Brian Setzer’s blazing return-to-retro-form Rockabilly Riot: All Original? From the opening rockabilly blast on “Let’s Shake” to the autobiographical portrait of the singer-guitarist’s life-long passion for early rock (“Rockabilly Blues”) to the Stray Cats-styled “Nothing is a Sure Thing,” the New York native proves his rich baritone and heated guitar playing remain a potent combination often overlooked on his ‘90s and ‘00s Brian Setzer Orchestra titles. Rockabilly Riot: All Original will please fans ignited by Setzer’s fiery blend of rockabilly and classic rock ‘n’ roll. Information: BrianSetzer.com.
Artist: Ruthie Foster Title: Promise of a Brand New Day (Blue Corn Music) You might like if you enjoy: Shelby Lynne, Bonnie Raitt, Susan Tedeschi
Tell me more: Armed with a dazzling soprano able to deliver ballads and uptempo material with equal zeal, Austin singer-songwriter Ruthie Foster shines across her newly-issued dozen-song LP Promise of a Brand New Day. From soulful blues (“Singing the Blues,” “It Might Not Be Right,” “Let Me Know,” the latter featuring guitar great Doyle Bramhall II) to gospel (“The Ghetto,” “Second Coming”), the strength of the material and Meshell Ndegeocello’s production brings additional focus to Foster’s superb singing. Information:bluecornmusic.com.
Artist: Justin Hayward Album: Spirits…Live — Live at the Buckhead Theatre, Atlanta (Eagle Rock Entertainment) You might like if you enjoy: The Moody Blues, David Crosby, Gram Parsons
Tell me more: Singer-songwriter-guitarist Justin Hayward will forever be best known as one of the principal players with the Moody Blues, but discerning listeners should seek out his latest effort Spirits…Live — Live at the Buckhead Theatre, Atlanta, a wonderful live collection recorded on Aug. 17, 2013 on the final night of his tour in support of his recently released solo album Spirits of the Western Sky. The idea of the tour was to present audiences with intimate, acoustic-styled versions of classic and recent songs. The audience was treated to a terrific concert via the sweeping country-western folk epic “The Western Sky,” the gentle acoustic guitar-backed ballad “The Eastern Sun” (that ends with Hayward singing in an impressive extended falsetto) and an emotive reading of the alt-country original “It’s Cold Outside Of Your Heart.” Additionally, Moody Blues fans will be pleased with the intimate and emotive takes on that band’s “Tuesday Afternoon,” “Question,” “Nights in White Satin” and “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere.” Information: JustinHayward.com.
Artist: Dr. John Title: Ske-Dat-De-Day: The Spirit of Satch (Concord Records) You might like if you enjoy: The McCrary Sisters, Shemekia Copeland, Bonnie Raitt, Dr. John’s previous albums
Tell me more: As New Orleans’ best known living musical icon, Dr. John continues to extend his sonic reach on the ambitious Ske-Dat-De-Day: The Spirit of Satch, which finds the 73-year-old singer and multi-instrumentalist tackling a wide range of songs with an illustrious group of friends in a tribute to trumpeter-vocalist Louis Armstrong. Kicking things off with a celebrative version of “What a Wonderful World” where his own distinctive voice is joined by the astounding Blind Boys of Alabama, elsewhere Dr. John juggles piano and guitar on a playful vocal duet with Bonnie Raitt on a tender “I’ve Got the World on a String.” Dr. John has always been able to blend New Orleans blues, R&B, jazz and a myriad of other styles, and brings that approach to this tribute. The jazzy-blues of “Sweet Hunk O’Trash” (featuring singer Shemekia Copeland) and lovely “Memories of You” (with trumpet great Arturo Sandoval’s solo lines weaving around Dr. John’s winning vocals) add additional weight to a bountiful collection. Information: ConcordMusicGroup.com.