Artist: Paul Kelly
Title: Songs From the South 1985-2019: Paul Kelly's Greatest Hits (Cooking Vinyl)
You might like if you enjoy: Paul Kelly, Neil Finn, Tim Finn, Kasey Chambers
Tell me more: It's all about the song. Australia's Paul Kelly is one of the most celebrated artists to ever emerge from Down Under and it's no wonder. His songs exude an authenticity, warmth and sonic grace; they are also sumptuous listens that typically connect with a single listen. On the recently-released compilation Songs From the South 1985-2019: Paul Kelly's Greatest Hits, Kelly's stellar talents are showcased via 43 essential selections. From the tuneful acoustic introduction "From St. Kilda to Kings Cross" and tuneful power pop-minded "Before Too Long" and "Leaps and Bounds" to the indie rockers "Look So Fine Feel So Low" and "Sweet Guy," Kelly is expert as pulling in the best sensibilities of any number of genres to craft his finely-crafted songs. Indeed spoken word ("Bradman"), folk ("Everything's Turning to White," "When I First Met Your Ma"), and melodic rock ("Deeper Water") are also showcased on the first disc covering his work from 1985 to 1999. Bluegrass (the affecting "Our Sunshine"), baroque folk ("If I Could Start Today Again," "I'm On Your Side"), country-western ("Your Lovin' Is On My Mind," "They Thought I Was Asleep") and potent rockers ("God Told Me To," "With the One I Love") are on display on the equally strong second disc. The title closes out with a previously-unreleased cut, "When We're Both Old & Mad," an Americana duet featuring Kelly and Aussie songstress Kasey Chambers. The ambition and wide range of material on Songs from the South astounds across the outstanding set. If you haven't yet discovered Kelly's considerable talents, this two-disc collection is a wonderful place to start. Information: cookingvinyl.com.
Artist: Mister Rogers
Titles: You're Growing; Coming and Going; You Are Special; Bedtime (Omnivore Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: Johnny Costa, Mister Rogers, children's music, jazz
Tell me more: Generations have grown up watching episodes of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" since it premiered on television in the late 1960s. A large part of the magic of the beloved PBS-TV series were the songs that were written and sung by show host Fred Rogers. Between 1968 and 2001, Rogers created more than 200 original songs; casual fans might be surprised to learn he wrote all the lyrics and melodies heard on the children's show. Now on the heels of 2019's It's Such a Good Feeling: The Best of Mister Rogers Omnivore Recordings compilation comes four new full-length audio reissues featuring delightful music from "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood." The release of the 2018 documentary "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" and the popular 2019 film "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" (starring Tom Hanks as Rogers) rekindled widespread interest in the legacy of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood."
The four new reissues include 1992's Bedtime, You're Growing, and You Are Special, as well as 1997's Coming and Going. The four audio CDs provide a comprehensive overview of the magic created by Rogers (who is backed by long-time collaborator and pianist Johnny Costa, bassist Carl McViker and percussionist Bobby Rawsthorne). The 60 songs work on several levels with lyrics focused on teaching about a wide variety of topics while also offering up inviting jazz stylings to help young audiences develop an appreciation of jazz-flavored song craft. There is a uniform sense of fun and intelligence on this welcome series of releases. Information: omnivorerecordings.com.
Artist: Kiefer Sutherland
Title: Reckless & Me: Special Edition (BMG)
You might like if you enjoy: Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings
Tell me more: When I first reviewed Kiefer Sutherland's excellent sophomore album Reckless & Me in 2019 I somehow missed that it was available via a two-disc special edition. The second disc features live versions of many of the finest originals from his 2016 debut Down in a Hole and last year's Reckless & Me that were recorded at a concert in Berlin, Germany. Sutherland has quickly established him as one of the strongest talents in country music, primarily because he has found a way to tap into the rich vein of outlaw music and make it his own. Whether singing intimate ballads such as "Saskatchewan," probing confessionals like "Down In A Hole" or kicking things up with "Rebel Wind," the tracks on the expanded set capture the excitement of Sutherland's recent concert tours. Information: KieferSutherland.net.
Artist: Ten Years After
DVD Title: Live from the Marquee Club, London (Store For Music)
You might like if you enjoy: Ten Years After, Alvin Lee, Joe Bonamassa, Humble Pie
Tell me more: Released back in 2012, Ten Years After's Live from the Marquee Club, London is definitely worth watching if you love classic British blues rock. Ten Years frontman Alvin Lee was a gifted singer and one of the world's first guitar heroes. On this performance captured in 1983 that was staged in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Marquee Club, Lee and company tear through a fiery set including the masterful blues cut "Help Me," jazz jam "Woodchoppers Ball," and a marathon tear through "I'm Going Home." Information: thestoreformusic.com.