Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Multi-format 'Pretenders With Friends' among essential new titles

A legendary concert event where The Pretenders were joined by the illustrious likes of Shirley Manson (Garbage), Iggy Pop and Kings of Leon is now out as a special deluxe edition that looks and sounds great. Under-the-radar releases from The Shootouts and Auburn are also deserving of attention.

Artist: The Pretenders
Title: Pretenders With Friends (Cleopatra Entertainment)
You might like if you enjoy: Chrissie Hynde, Shirley Manson, Kings of Leon, Incubus, Iggy Pop
Tell me more: The Pretenders' legacy was set in stone long ago with Chrissie Hynde and company having recorded some of rock's most enduring rock songs. Another chance to celebrate the Pretenders' groundbreaking sound was cast when the troupe welcomed a number of notable guests for a special 2006 concert at the Decades Rock Arena in Atlantic City, NJ ("Pretenders With Friends") that has now been released via a glorious collection that includes a Blu-ray, DVD and audio CD.  The special event saw the Pretenders cover their most beloved hits; special guests would join them for select tracks with the Pretenders then covering a guest's song as well. So for example, Singer Shirley Manson joined in on "Talk of the Town" before the Pretenders returned the favor on a cover of Garbage's "Only Happy When It Rains" (the vocal interplay with the two singers is an absolute delight). Other top-tier highlights on the title include "Drive" featuring Incubus, "Candy" with Iggy Pop, and the Pretenders sans guests rocking on "Brass in Pocket" and "Mystery Achievement." The full lineup of players join forces for the set-ending "Middle of the Road." The visual and audio quality of this multi-format title is fantastic, with the masterful song selections adding to the magic across the 75-minute concert film/recording. Watching the blu-ray is truly the next best thing to being there. Bonus material includes a number of interview clips with members of the Pretenders and the guests. Information: www.CleopatraRecords.com.

Artist: The Shootouts
Title: Quick Draw (Shootouts Music)
You might like if you enjoy: Buck Owens, Dwight Yoakam, Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives, Gram Parsons
Tell me more: The Shootouts' stellar Quick Draw is an album that is fun, expertly crafted and is filled with outstanding songs that are performed with the talented touch of crafty veterans. The nimble "Cleaning House," touching "I'd Rather Be Lonely," and rapid fire "If I Could" are among the memorable cuts that build on the winning ways of country icons ranging from Buck Owens and Dwight Yoakam to Gram Parsons and Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives. The Shootouts (lead singer-guitarist Ryan Humbert, harmony vocalist Emily Bates, guitarist Brian Poston, bassist Ryan McDermott and dummer Dylan Gomez) are joined by a slew of notable guests to extend their artful reach. Just listen to the blistering instrumental title cut, the lovely "If We Quit Now" and playful "Who Needs Rock & Roll" to hear how great Western swing, honky tonk, Americana and traditional country music sound when blended by the right bunch of players. Information: shootoutsmusic.com.

Artist: Auburn
Title: Game Of Faith (Scarlet Records/Gonzo)
You might like if you enjoy: Macy Gray, Bonnie Raitt, Kate Bush
Tell me more: Released back on June 28, don't let Auburn's Game Of Faith escape your attention. The U.K.-based group has released a 14-track disc that blends blues and Americana in spades with touches of other styles adding to the musical magic. Led by talented singer-songwriter Liz Lenten, the group also features guitarist Thomm Jutz (who recorded, mixed and produced the new album), bassist Mark Fain, drummer Lynn Williams and harmony vocalist Britt Savage. Armed with a voice that is decidedly husky, Lenten's soprano simultaneously carries an emotional torch that lights up the ballads and mid tempo tracks that fill the disc. Among the many standouts on the album is the slow bluesy title track, uptempo "I Don't Love Him" (where Jutz shows off plenty of tasty guitar licks), the jazz-meets-blues gem "Prosecco-fuelled Profiles," infectious pop-rock oriented "Trinidad" and undeniable "Spoke in the Wheel" with its wonderful chorus. Information: www.auburn.org/uk.

Robert Kinsler

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