Three genuinely genre-defying artists are featured on recently-released must-have collections.
Artist: Mumford & Sons
Title: Live From South Africa: Dust and Thunder (Eagle Rock Entertainment)
You might like if you enjoy: Mumford & Sons, Arcade Fire, Coldplay
Tell me more: The energy of Mumford & Sons' performance featured on the blu-ray release of Live From South Africa: Dust and Thunder is palpable in an authentic way that recalls classic concert films such as U2's Under a Blood Red Sky and Peter Gabriel's Secret World. The 17-song set featured on the new Mumford & Sons blu-ray release was captured at the end of the London, England-spawned troupe's first-ever trip to South Africa, and the audience's obvious zeal to be at the concert extends across the 94-minute film. Among the outstanding tracks performed are a spirited "I Will Wait" where the audience injects the choruses with a huge sing-along, sweeping "Tompkins Square Park," the hushed Americana nugget "Ghosts That We Knew" and anthemic night-ending "The Wolf." Information: eagle-rock.com.
Artist: Otis Taylor
Title: Fantasizing About Being Black (Trance Blues Festival)
You might like if you enjoy: Robert Johnson, The Doors, John Lee Hooker
Tell me more: Groundbreaking singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Otis Taylor has long been able to musically articulate the African American experience in artful ways that tap into early blues as well as African world music and Americana styles. On his forceful and compelling new album Fantasizing About Being Black, the Colorado-based musician goes even further in his search to bridge past and present in an 11-track exploration of the African American experience stretching from the slave era to specific periods in the 20th century and through the present day. This rich and real world journey includes the hypnotic "Walk On Water" (a tale of interracial love) adorned with Ron Miles' otherworldly play on the cornet, the fierce rocker "Hands On Your Stomach" (about a spirit who instructs an enslaved woman that her mind cannot be controlled) that includes some impressive fretwork from teenage guitar sensation Brandon "Taz" Niederauer, and the powerful blues gem "Tripping On This" (which chronicles a man's visit to see the son he gave up 48 years earlier). Taylor's Fantasizing About Being Black is an essential and brilliant album. Information: otistaylor.com.
Artist: Robby Krieger
Title: In Session (Purple Pyramid Records)
You might like if you enjoy: The Doors, William Shatner, ASIA, Styx
Tell me more: While widely acknowledged as one of rock's greatest and most influential guitar players, Robby Krieger is mostly known for his work with The Doors. However, Krieger's outstanding In Session offers a chance for casual listeners to catch up on the guitar master's wider artistry via his collaborations with a who's who of musical greats. Selections range from a mostly-faithful version of The Beatles' "Across The Universe" featuring fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Jackson Browne on lead vocals to an edgy take on Roger Waters' "Don't Leave Me Now" featuring Styx frontman Tommy Shaw on lead vocals, and a dramatic "Deep Down" featuring William Shatner on vocals and Krieger on both lead guitar and sitar. Not only does In Session boast genuine star power, but the depth of the material is worthy of Krieger's legacy. Hawkwind's Nik Turner, ASIA's John Wetton (who sadly died in January 2017) and keyboardist Geoff Downes, Billy Sherwood of Yes, and Zombies keyboardist Rod Argent are among the luminaries who team up with Krieger on the disc. Information: CleopatraRecords.com.