It would be criminal to bid a final farewell to 2016 without catching up on a handful of essential collections that came out last year.
Artist: The Rolling Stones
Title: Havana Moon (Eagle Rock)
You might like if you enjoy: The Rolling Stones
Tell me more: Watching the concert film or listening to the accompanying audio recording of the performance featured on The Rolling Stones' Havana Moon is to be in awe. The Stones' amazing return in 2016 included the release of the band's terrific blues album "Blue & Lonesome," as well as the legendary concert staged in Havana, Cuba on March 25, 2016 and now available commercially. Performing a free concert before a crowd estimated to be around a million, the Stones delivered a high-powered 138-minute concert featuring stellar takes on most of the band's biggest hits including "Jumpin' Jack Flash," "Start Me Up," "Miss You," "Gimme Shelter," "Brown Sugar" and "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction." Every fan of the band should get this release (available as a Blu-ray+2CD or DVD+2CD version). Information: eagle-rock.com.
Artist: John Doe
Title: The Westerner (Cool Rock Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Dave Alvin, John Doe, The Doors
Tell me more: Released in early 2016, John Doe's aptly-titled The Westerner is an album that has continued to gain momentum as the months raced by. Recorded in Arizona, there is a spacious and rousing sound across the fast-moving disc. Highlights include the train-themed twangy delight "Get On Board," rollicking "Go Baby Go" (featuring guest vocals from Debbie Harry of Blonide), the swirling acoustic nugget "Alone in Arizona" and rockabilly-tinged "My Darling, Blue Skies." In addition to the aforementioned contributions from Harry, the album includes guest appearances from Chan Marshall of Cat Power and Cindy Wasserman of Dead Rock West. Doe has also received a Grammy nomination for Best Spoken Word Album for the audio book "Under the Big Black Sun: A Personal History Of L.A. Punk" (Penguin Random House). Looking ahead, area fans can catch Doe when he performs at the Stagecoach Festival in Indio on April 29, 2017. Information: TheJohnDoe.com.
Artist: Jake Shimabukuro
Title: Nashville Sessions (JS Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Laurence Juber, Jake Shimabukuro
Tell me more: It is no exaggeration to note that Jake Shimabukuro has radically advanced the stature of the ukulele more than any player in the Hawaiian instrument's history. Shimabukuro's latest album, Nashville Sessions, finds the uke master and two of Nashville's top session players (bassist Nolan Verner and drummer Evan Hutchings) delivering a thrilling master class in instrumental music crafted over a mere six day span. Standouts on the outstanding collection include the infectious rock foray "Man of Mud," freewheeling jazz jam "Galloping Seahorses," gentle "Ballad" and melodically-rich "Celtic Tune." It is the fusion of Shimabukuro's virtuoso dexterity, melodic sense and the artful inclusion of electric sounds with the authentic ukulele itself that makes this recording so special. Information: JakeShimabukuro.com.
Artist: Davy Knowles
Title: Three Miles From Avalon (WYAN)
You might like if you enjoy: Jeff Healey, Rory Gallagher
Tell me more: Fans of original and authentic modern-day blues guitar will want to check out the latest album from singer-guitarist Davy Knowles. The guitarist shows off his solid fretwork across Three Miles From Avalon, including on the spirited rocker "Ain't Much Of Nothin'," soul-blues original "What You're Made Of," Chicago blues burner "Falling Apart," the slide guitar-anchored blues blaster "Never Gonna Be The Same" and ambitious title track. As if his guitar chops aren't impressive enough, Knowles has a potent singing voice and writes songs that are compelling and authoritative. Information: DavyKnowles.com.