Monday, May 06, 2019

Album reviews: The Cranberries, Della Mae, Jared Deck, Mitch Woods

The final album from Irish rock group The Cranberries, as well as new studio efforts from Della Mae and Jared Deck and a live album from Mitch Woods add up to a strong crop of highly-recommended releases.

Artist: The Cranberries
Title: In the End (BMG)
You might like if you enjoy: The Cranberries
Tell me more: When Cranberries lead singer-songwriter Dolores O'Riordan died on January 15, 2018 it silenced one of the greatest and most unique voices in modern rock. But the Irish singer's final recordings with band mates Noel Hogan (guitar, synths), Mike Hogan (bass) and Fergal Lawler (drums) were subsequently completed in the studio and have been released as the aptly-titled In the End. The 11-song masterwork somehow blends sonic beauty, sweeping melancholy and gleaming alt rock song craft in a majestic mix that celebrates everything that has always made the Cranberries so special. The songs here range from the anthemic and soaring likes of "All Over Now" and "Wake Me When It's Over" to the wistful dreamscapes of "Catch Me If You Can" and "Got It." Every song on the album is bolstered by O'Riordan's amazing soprano. Information:

Artist: Della Mae
Title: The Butcher Shoppe EP (Rounder)
You might like if you enjoy: Larkin Poe, Molly Tuttle, Infamous Stringdusters
Tell me more: Lovers of bluegrass and Americana will want to grab the outstanding new Della Mae release The Butcher Shoppe EP. Recorded in Nashville, the six-song title features two original compositions and oft-requested covers popularized at the group's live performances. The lead-off track, the original "Bourbon Hound," is a ferocious and enthralling song penned by lead singer Celia Woodsmith. A breathtaking showcase for the all-female group's blend of incredible musicianship, inviting arrangements and wonderful vocals, The Butcher Shoppe EP also features guest performers Alison Brown (banjo), Molly Tuttle (vocals, guitar) and Avril Smith (guitar). Information:

Artist: Jared Deck
Title: Bully Pulpit (independent)
You might like if you enjoy: John Mellencamp, Vintage Trouble, Chris Stapleton
Tell me more: Mining blues, gospel, roots and heartland rock with authenticity and grace, singer-songwriter Jared Deck shines across his latest full-length release. Bully Pulpit finds Deck backed by a slew of famed musicians  but make no mistake   it is his talent that propels the disc's 11 tracks into the stratosphere. Armed with a forceful voice, Deck avoids bombast and instead offers up a nuanced delivery as evidenced on the gospel blaster "I Don't Know What You Come to Do," blues soaked "In The Name," soulful "Sometimes I Miss Being Lonely" and beautiful countrified ballad "Tulsa Sound." Information:

Artist: Mitch Woods 
Title: A Tip of the Hat to Fats (Blind Pig)
You might like if you enjoy: Fats Domino, Dr. John
Tell me more: To be sure, Mitch Woods' new album A Tip of the Hat to Fats is a fitting tribute to the late Fats Domino (who passed away in October 2017 at the age of 89). But the new album  recorded live at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in April 2018  also serves as a thrilling showcase of the talents of singer-pianist Woods and his terrific band of celebrated players. The energetic spirit across the live set is palpable, with Woods and company delving into boogie-woogie, early rock 'n' roll, jump swing and blues. Among the instantly-immersive tracks are Woods' original "Solid Gold Cadillac" and "Mojo Mambo," as well as a strong cover of Domino's New Orleans rhythm & blues classic "Blue Monday." Information:

Robert Kinsler

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