Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Music-minded Gift Guide Part 2: Mark Knopfler, Boston, Steve Wariner, Bruce Springsteen, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, more!

With December's arrival it's time to get serious about picking up some outstanding collections for those special and discerning music fans in your life. Here is the second of two special Music-minded Gift Guides showcasing a wide-ranging number of new collections available now.

Here are some highly-recommended albums.

Artist: Mark Knopfler
Title: Privateering (Verve)
You might like if you enjoy: Dire Straits, Nils Lofgren
Tell me more: Bound to rank on my top 10 list of best albums released in 2013, the deluxe version of singer-songwriter-guitarist Mark Knopfler's breathtaking Privateering is a cycle of songs that blend Celtic, country folk and blues styles effortlessly. Many albums released nowadays overstay their welcome and stretch a few tracks too far. Knopfler's first-ever 2-disc effort offers up 20 bona fide gems. Whether exploring the deepest corners of human emotion ("Haul Away," "Redbud Tree," "Radio City Serenade") or simply having a blast ("Corned Beef City," "Hot or What"), Knopfler's artful and intelligent songs share the spotlight with his singular guitar playing. Information: www.MarkKnopfler.com.

Get Privateering (Deluxe Version) here

Artist: Boston
Title: Life, Love & Hope (Frontiers Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Boston's classic '70s and '80s albums
Tell me more: Ten years in the making, Boston's sixth album Life, Love & Hope was released on Dec. 3, 2013 and includes lead vocals from the late Brad Delp, the group's original vocalist who died in March 2007. But it is Boston's sonic architect Tom Scholz whose work is most on display here, courtesy of his symphonic guitar, keyboard orchestrations and unique production technique. Highlights include the instrumental "Last Day of School" and inspired "Sail Away." Information: www.bandboston.com

Get Life, Love & Hope here

Artist: Status Quo
Title: The Frantic Four Reunion 2013 (Eagle Rock Entertainment/earMusic)
You might like if you enjoy: Thin Lizzy, early AC/DC, Humble Pie
Tell me more: From boogie blues rockers ("Junior's Wailing," "Backwater") to the fast-paced "Is There a Better Way" (which recalls early Queen) and the bluesy sing-along "Most of the Time," Status Quo's powerful set at London's Apollo Hammersmith is pure fun. The legendary British rockers' unlikely return to the stage in the wake of high-profile lawsuits and court battles makes this terrific 18-song set even sweeter. Information: http://www.statusquo.co.uk

Get Live on Stage: Frantic Four Tour [Blu-ray] here 

Artist: Steve Wariner
Title: It Ain't All Bad (SelecTone)
You might like if you enjoy: Glen Campbell, Chet Atkins
Tell me more: 2013 has truly been a year of eagerly-awaited returns. Boston, Mazzy Star and Toad the Wet Sprocket are not the only famed artists to return from voluntary retreats to emerge with sterling new albums. Country music singer-songwriter-guitarist Steve Wariner has released the wonderful It Ain't All Bad, his first non-instrumental recording in more than eight years. The good news about Wariner's hiatus is that he had time to write and co-write a number of fine songs (notably the rousing title track and gentle "Arrows at Airplanes") that grace this authentic comeback. Information: www.SteveWariner.com

Get It Ain't All Bad here

Here are some excellent titles available on DVD and/or Blu-ray.

Title: Springsteen & I (Eagle Rock Entertainment)
You might like if you enjoy: Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney
Tell me more: Few documentary films get inside the relationship between icon and audience like director Baillie Walsh's Springsteen & I. The newly released DVD (also available on Blu-ray) not only features the documentary film, but bonus material including Springsteen's performance at Hard Rock Calling 2012 (which featured his appearance on stage with Sir Paul McCartney too), and more! Information: www.eaglerockent.com

Get Springsteen & I here

Title: Night Train to Georgia (Broken Bow)
You might like if you enjoy: Jason Aldean, Eric Church
Tell me more: Filmed at the University of Georgia's Sanford Stadium in April 2013, Jason Aldean's aptly-titled Night Train to Georgia concert film features the country star returning to his home state to deliver a dozen and a half cuts, including all 10 of his number 1 tunes over the course of 90 energetic minutes. There are also guest appearances from Luke Bryan, Ludacris and Kelly Clarkson. Information: www.JasonAldean.com.

Get Night Train to Georgia here

Title: Live: On This Winter's Night (Eagle Rock Entertainment)
You might like if you enjoy: Lady Antebellum, Josh Kelley, The Band Perry
Tell me more: Seven-time Grammy winner Lady Antebellum (Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood) has released the wonderful holiday-minded Live: On This Winter's Night on both DVD and Blu-ray. In addition to performing their harmony-filled versions of Christmas classics such as "Silver Bells," "Blue Christmas" and "Silent Night," they also feature an original song "On This Winter's Night." Bonus features include acoustic versions of many of the tracks and music videos. Information: www.eaglerockent.com.  

Get On This Winters Night here

Title: Loberace - Live In Vegas (Eagle Rock Entertainment)
You might like if you enjoy: CeeLo Green, Gnarls Barkley
Tell me more: Singer, songwriter, rapper, comedian, producer, actor...you get the idea. CeeLo Green does it all and proves it on his newly-released Loberace – Live In Vegas (on DVD and Blu-ray). And at the heart of Green's talent is a soulful voice, used in the service of some great songs including his already-classic 2006 Gnarls Barkley hit "Crazy." Information: www.eaglerockent.com.

Get Loberace Live in Vegas here

Title: Move Me Brightly (TRI Studios/Eagle Rock Entertainment)
You might like if you enjoy: Jerry Garcia, The Grateful Dead
Tell me more: Celebrating what would have been Jerry Garcia's 70th birthday, musical friends gathered at Bob Weir's TRI Studios in San Rafael, California to present a musical toast the late Grateful Dead singer-guitarist. In addition to the Dead's Weir, other performers featured on Move Me Brightly include Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart, Carlos Santana and even members of Vampire Weekend, Phish and the Black Crowes. Both a concert film and a revealing documentary, Move Me Brightly will likely thrill Deadheads and music fans inspired by heartfelt performances. Move Me Brightly is out now on DVD, Blu-ray and in visual digital formats. Information: www.eaglerockent.com

Get Move Me Brightly: Celebrating Jerry Garcia's 70th Birthday [DVD] here

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