Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Artists shoot for the stars on new releases

New releases featuring Hollis Brown, Mindi Abair and the Fallen Stars are available now and should be on everyone's summertime listening list...

Artist: Hollis Brown
Title: Ozone Park (Cool Green Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: Collective Soul, Jackie Greene, Ben Harper
Tell me more: Queens, New York-based band Hollis Brown has just released Ozone Park, a magnificent album that blends the best elements of classic and modern rock along with other styles with authenticity and grace. Listen close to the work of the talented quintet (singer-guitarist Mike Montali, lead guitarist Jonathan Bonilla, drummer Andrew Zehnal, keyboardist Adam Bock and bassist Chris Urriola) and you'll hear rock solid instincts blended with R&B, pop, soul and more. "Do Me Right" is an infectious and alluring track, a magical musical bridge between the best melodic instincts of power pop, indie rock and synth pop masters. The triumphant "Someday Soon" strikes a similar artistic chord. Hollis Brown  named after a 1964 Bob Dylan track  impresses in other reaches of the musical universe; the lovely "After The Fire" segues into the nuanced "Forever In Me." "Bad Mistakes" is the LP's biggest surprise, a psychedelic rocker draped with buzz guitar lines and a swirling '60s feels right at home on this wonderful release. The album ends with an in-the-pocket finale courtesy of the funkafied "Go For It." Information: hollisbrown.com.

Artist: Mindi Abair and the Boneshakers
Title: No Good Deed (Pretty Good For A Girl Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Mindi Abair, Southern Avenue, Sue Foley
Tell me more: Mindi Abair and the Boneshakers' No Good Deed offers up plenty of musical firepower and infectious blues-styled songs on a fantastic set produced by famed producer Kevin Shirley (Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Joe Bonamassa). Recorded in a mere five days, the 10-track disc features plenty of Abair's incredible work on her collection of Yamaha soprano, alto and tenor saxophones. But listening to No Good Deed is to be instantly reminded of the skills of her Boneshakers band mates (guitarist Randy Jacobs, keyboardist Rodney Lee, drummer Third Richardson and bassist Ben White), all of whom add to the sway of the tracks. Although best known for her incredible sax playing with artists ranging from Aerosmith to Duran Duran, Abair is a first-rate vocalist; her nuanced singing on the stirring ballad "Sweetest Lies," nuanced "Who's Gonna Save My Soul?" and flat-out rocker "Movin' On" are especially persuasive. Information: mindiabair.com.

Artist: The Fallen Stars
Title: Leaves On The Wind Collection: Can't Stop the Signal (Kiss My Squirrel Music)
You might like if you enjoy: Joss Whedon's "Firefly," the Jayhawks, Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris
Tell me more: Six years after the Fallen Stars embarked on an ambitious quest to create a cycle of songs based on the groundbreaking sci-fi western TV series "Firefly," the complete collection of 16 inspired tracks (including the pair's interpretation of the theme song from the series) has been compiled and released as the terrific "Leaves On The Wind Collection: Can't Stop the Signal." The Fallen Stars, featuring the talents of husband-and-wife duo Bobbo and Tracy Byrnes, are both big time fans of the show (which premiered in fall 2002) and the acclaimed 2005 film "Serenity." The new audio CD version of the collection allows fans of the series (known as "Browncoats") and lovers of top-tier Americana music to hear artful and rich songs based on "Firefly." The wistful "Still Flying" (bolstered by the Byrnes' blended vocal harmonies), edgy rockers "Nothing" and "Miracle," tender "Stronger Than Steel," mandolin-anchored "Goodnight Kiss" and probing "Here I Am" showcase the range of the show's themes as well as the depth of the couple's stellar songwriting. Information: TheFallenStars.com.

Artist: Bobbo Byrnes
Title: The Red Wheelbarrow (Kiss My Squirrel Music)
You might like if you enjoy: The Fallen Stars, Rhett Miller, Old 97's
Tell me more: In addition to his role in the Fallen Stars, Bobbo Byrnes is a prolific and leading voice on the independent Americana scene. That will come as little surprise after getting a listen to his new solo effort The Red Wheelbarrow. The clever "Part Time Cowboy" is a probing look at a musician finely tuned into the musical tapestry of country music even he doesn't "wear a cowboy hat…(or is not) built to wear a nudie suit." Able to deliver winning songs amidst detailed storytelling, Byrnes paints vivid musical soundscapes across the 10-song disc. The melodic nugget "Look For It," introspective "Looking At The World Thru a Windshield," countrified winner "Lovers" and freewheeling "Sally Starr" and "January" excel with equal doses of excellent song craft and rousing studio performance. Byrnes' poignant songs are brought to rich life via a cast of wonderful musicians including his wife Tracy Byrnes (bass guitar, backing vocals) and famed keyboardist Rami Jaffee (of Wallflowers fame). Information: songsandwhispers.com or bobbobyrnes.com.

Robert Kinsler