Before becoming immersed in all things 2016, this writer wanted to take one last look (and listen) at some strong 2015 releases that I discovered late in the year.
Artist: City and Colour
Title: If I Should Go Before You (Dine Alone Music)
You might like if you enjoy: Band of Horses, Bon Iver, Neil Young
Tell me more: City and Colour is the apt moniker for singer-songwriter-guitarist Dallas Green, whose far-reaching and falsetto-adorned voice delivers Americana-styled rock that is deeply affecting on the 11-track If I Should Go Before You. City and Colour's 5th full-length album is ripe with striking song craft (the haunting "Woman," potent title track, infectious "Wasted Love" and propulsive "Runaway" are among this writer's favorites), and a disc best heard from start to finish. Information: cityandcolour.com.
Artist: Kinky Friedman
Title: The Loneliest Man I Ever Met (Avenue A Records/Thirty Tigers)
You might like if you enjoy: Willie Nelson
Tell me more: Before the release of his The Loneliest Man I Ever Met in October 2015, it had been 39 years since singer-songwriter Kinky Friedman had recorded a studio album. His new album is launched with a tuneful "Bloody Mary Morning," a duet with Willie Nelson. Offering up intimate countrified reflections with his deep baritone, the material includes a mix of heartfelt covers by the fabled likes of the aforementioned Nelson, Tom Waits, Warren Zevon as well as his own probing confessionals (particularly the winning "Lady Yesterday" and stirring title song). Information: kinkyfriedman.com.
Artist: Fats Domino
Title: Thrillin' in Philly! Live 1973 (Goldenlane Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Dr. John, Fats Domino
Tell me more: Early rock 'n' roll hero Fats Domino influenced the far-flung likes of Bob Marley, reggae star Yellowman, Elton John and the Beatles ("Lady Madonna"), and listening to the recent release of a wonderful 1973 full-length recording is to hear why the New Orleans boogie woogie piano master was one of the most significant artists to emerge in the '50s. Highlights on the outstanding 22-track Thrillin' in Philly! Live 1973 include a soulful "Blueberry Hill," his rollicking "Ain't That A Shame" and a swinging "I'm in Love Again." This concert was captured via a multi-track recording and was incidentally recorded while Domino was in the midst of a career-reviving tour. The energy and sound of the performance will thrill old and new fans alike. Information: CleopatraRecords.com.
Artist: Pat Metheny
Title: The Unity Sessions (Eagle Vision)
You might like if you enjoy: Frank Zappa, Mark Egan
Tell me more: A 20-time Grammy winner, innovative jazz guitarist Pat Metheny's impressive musicianship is displayed across The Unity Sessions, a concert event filmed at 5 Angels Theater in New York City. Much of the material featured comes from Metheny's album "KIN" recorded with the Unity Group, including the freewheeling "On Day One" (where handclaps are used magically), beautifully lush "KIN" and "Born," the latter showcasing Metheny's stellar touch on the guitar. In addition to the concert itself, there is a bonus interview with Metheny and his band. The Unity Sessions is available on DVD, Blu-ray and digital formats. Information: eagle-rock.com.
Below is an embedded version of my column as it first appeared in Desert Star Weekly on January 6, 2016: