Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Summertime soundtrack courtesy of great new releases

When it comes to summer, just the right music can make the days even better. Look no further than recent releases from Vonda Shepard, John Wetton and Giant Sand to make a great day even better.

Artist: Vonda Shepard
Title: Rookie (Hote Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Vonda Shepard, Carole King, Aretha Franklin
Tell me more: Vonda Shepard's newly-released Rookie is full-length showcase that fully displays the singer's ability to blend wonderful vocals and fully crafted songs that effortlessly blend soul, R&B and rock. The high-energy "Turn It Up" with Shepard's vocals blended into a chorus is especially effective, while "I Just Don't Get It" starts as a piano-anchored ballad that artfully grows to a more fervent celebration of love. Her ability to mine emotional depth at her piano on the wistful "Long for the Days," the lovely "Train to Inverness" and potent soulful title track provide other strong moments on Shepard's 14th album which also comes 25 years after the release of her self-titled Warner Bros. debut. Information: vondashepard.com.
Purchase 'Rookie' here

Artist: John Wetton
Title: The Studio Recordings Anthology (Primary Purpose)
You might like if you enjoy: Asia, Yes
Tell me more: Singer-songwriter John Wetton is best known for his role fronting supergroup Asia, but the talented Englishman has actually issued a slew of strong solo efforts. Although it was issued back in March 2015, now is the perfect time to get a listen of the outstanding two-disc The Studio Recordings Anthology. Always an introspective songwriter, Wetton's ability to look within himself shines bright across the collection. The symphonic opener "The Circle of St. Giles," the beautiful rock ballad "Hold Me Now," haunting "Battle Lines" as well as more propulsive rocker "Another Twist of the Knife" are among the almost three dozen sterling tracks to be heard here. Information: johnwetton.com.
Buy 'Studio Recordings Anthology' here

Artist: Giant Sand
Title: Heartbreak Pass (New West Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Leonard Cohen, Sonic Youth, Grant Lee Phillips
Tell me more: There is something to be said for a band that defies genres, sounds like nothing else and challenges itself and listeners with music that is simultaneously a great listen. Such is the case with Giant Sand's latest album Heartbreak Pass. The Tucson, Arizonia-based band finds frontman Howe Gelb and his collective blending spoken word, alt-country, indie rock, experimental touches and more across 15 essential new tracks. Highlights include the involving "Texting Feist," old school country music-styled soundscape on the aptly-titled "Hurtin' Habit" and sparse "Man On A String." Information: NewWestRecords.com.
Get 'Heartbreak Pass' here

Robert Kinsler

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