Thursday, October 29, 2015

Album reviews: Supersuckers, Peter Case, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Danielle Nicole, Ted Hawkins tribute

American music is front and center on the latest albums from indie alt-country rockers Supersuckers, singer-songwriter Peter Case, Southern rock giants Lynyrd Skynyrd and songstress Danielle Nicole. There is also an outstanding tribute titled Cold and Bitter Tears: The Songs of Ted Hawkins that features a number of great Americana artists.

Artist: Supersuckers
Title: Holdin' The Bag (Acetate Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Old 97's, Steve Earle, Johnny Cash
Tell me more: Irreverent and honest, Supersuckers are an American treasure. Having released more than 20 albums over the past 25 years, singer Eddie Spaghetti and company are on the top of their game on the newly-released "Holdin' The Bag." The band's characteristic freewheeling approach works wonder on a batch of songs that are as melodic as they are lyrically sharp. The delightful country-styled "High and Outside," cow punk "Man On A Mission" and a lovely reworked sing-along cover of Hank Williams Jr. cover "All My Rowdy Friends (Have Settled Down)"  are among the standouts here. Information:

Buy 'Holdin' The Bag' today

Artist: Peter Case
Title: Hwy 62 (Omnivore Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: Bob Dylan, Peter Case's previous albums
Tell me more: Acclaimed singer-songwriter Peter Case has long been a leading voice on the music scene, dating back to the mid 1970s when he was a member of indie melodic rockers the Nerves before finding more acclaim as the leader of the Plimsouls and his subsequent solo career. His new album, Hwy 62, marks his first album release since 2010's "Wig!" and this disc finds Case seemingly building on a wide range of themes inspired by the highway that runs from Juarez, Mexico to Niagara Falls on the Canada-U.S. border. Having grown up one block away from U.S. Route 62 in Hamburg, New York, highlights include the tenderhearted "Water From A Stone," textured folk tale "If I Go Crazy," the sparse acoustic title track and a stellar acoustic cover of Bob Dylan's "Long Time Gone." Guitarist Ben Harper and drummer D.J. Bonebrake are among the notables who lend their talents to the tracking on "Hwy 62." Information:

Buy 'HWY 62' here

Artist: Lynyrd Skynyrd
Title: Pronounced 'L h-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd and Second Helping - Live From Jacksonville at the Florida Theatre (Eagle Vision)
You might like if you enjoy: Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Outlaws
Tell me more: Few bands have persevered through challenge as strongly as Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Lynyrd Skynyrd. From the 1977 plane crash that took the lives of three of its members to the death of original drummer Bob Burns earlier this year and original guitarist Gary Rossington's heart attack on Oct. 8, 2015, the Florida-spawned band brings that undercurrent of survival to the stage whenever they perform. The aptly-titled "'L h-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd and Second Helping" features the rockers covering their first two studio albums in their entirety; recorded at the Florida Theatre in the band's hometown of Jacksonville, Florida, the performance is powerful and ultimately as triumphant as Lynyrd Skynyrd itself. "'L h-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd and Second Helping" is available as a DVD + 2 CD physical set exclusively at Walmart. The collection is also available on standard DVD, Blu-ray and digital formats. Information:

Get 'Pronouced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd & Second Helping Live [Blu-ray]' here 

Artist: Danielle Nicole
Title: Wolf Den (Concord Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Trampled Under Foot, Marcia Ball, Shemekia Copeland
Tell me more: New Orleans R&B, gospel and Memphis soul inform the sound of singer-bassist Danielle Nicole (formerly of Trampled Under Foot) on her winning new solo debut "Wolf Den." A young singer of remarkable power and artistry, Nicole's vocals immerse the listener in the slow-burning Louisiana blues of "How You Gonna Do Me Like That," the solid kiss-off blues rocker "You Only Need Me When You're Down" and a smooth cover of the R&B favorite "Breaking Up Somebody's Home," the latter featuring guest guitarist Luther Dickinson of North Mississippi Allstars fame. Information:

Get 'Wolf Den' here 

Artists: James McMurtry, Kasey Chambers & Bill Chambers, Tim Easton, more
Title: Cold and Bitter Tears: The Songs of Ted Hawkins (Eight 30 Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Ted Hawkins, James McMurtry, Kasey Chambers, Michael Ubaldini
Tell me more: Time has a way of celebrating the greats, even if it takes awhile. The Mississippi native who became a Venice Beach, California street performer, Ted Hawkins suffered a stroke and died Jan. 1, 1995 just as he was gaining widespread acclaim for his masterful songs and big voice. Hawkins was only 58. Now more than a dozen contemporary Americana and roots music champions have banded together to contribute versions of Hawkins' material on Cold and Bitter Tears: The Songs of Ted Hawkins. Hawkins' style was rooted in blues, but the material here clearly spans from that style to authentic country folk and rootsy storytelling. Highlights on "Cold and Bitter Tears" include the Appalachia-soaked ballad "Big Things" courtesy of James McMurtry, the beautiful traditional country "Cold and Bitter Tears" from Aussie songstress Kasey Chambers (with her father Bill Chambers), and the lovely "Happy Hour" from singer Sunny Sweeney. Information:

Buy 'Cold & Bitter Tears: Songs of Ted Hawkins' here 

Robert Kinsler

No comments: