Tuesday, August 25, 2020

New Music: Paul McCartney, Old 97's, Cary Morin, Chris Cruz & Rae Shirer

An essential reissue from Paul McCartney, the latest masterworks from Old 97's and Cary Morin, and debut effort from Chris Cruz & Rae Shirer are celebrated in my column this week.

Artist: Paul McCartney
Title: Flaming Pie (Capitol Records)
You might like if you enjoy: The Beatles, Paul McCartney, Jeff Lynne
Tell me more: Originally released in May 1997, Paul McCartney's wonderful Flaming Pie remains one of his most beloved and treasured solo efforts. Now the classic has arrived as the 13th release in the Paul McCartney Archive Collection, supervised by McCartney and remastered at Abbey Road Studios. The new version sounds incredible; that 2020 edition of Flaming Pie fully delivers on the rich contributions of the slew of talents who joined forces to craft the original LP. Indeed, McCartney, Jeff Lynne and George Martin produced the album's tracks while Geoff Emerick assisted with engineering duties. McCartney, Ringo Starr, Steve Miller, Linda McCartney and son James McCartney were among the notables who played across the 14-track disc. The songs here frequently equal the emotional power, melodic force and spirited exuberence of his Beatles-era classics; listen to the infectious "The World Tonight," reflective baroque pop gem "Someday," the power pop salvo "Young Boy," lovely acoustic ballad "Calico Skies" and ravishing "Little Willow" to be reminded why McCartney is rightly considered one of the greatest recording artists of all time. The two-disc version of Flaming Pie reviewed by this writer features the original album remastered on disc one, while the second disc includes 21 tracks of bonus material including home recordings, demos and rough mixes of the songs that would appear on the final album along with non-album singles from that period. An essential addition to any music lover's library. Information: PaulMcCartney.com.

Artist: Old 97's
Title: Twelfth (ATO Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Old 97's, Wilco, Cowboy Buddha
Tell me more: Rollicking, rowdy and twangy alt country rock offered up with wry and colorful literate tales are Old 97's' stock-in-trade. The band's new Twelfth delivers the goods with welcome zeal. Fans of the Dallas-spawned quartet (whose lineup is the same that was heard on their 1994 debut and every release since) will be swept up by the originals that fill Twelfth, their first since 2017's Graveyard Whistling. The razor sharp rocker "This House Got Ghosts" has a wonderfully dreamy sonic vibe layered atop a particularly effective tale of romantic loss. The hard charging "Turn Off The TV," wistful drinking song "Happy Hour" and reflective "I Like You Better" are other early LP standouts. The raucous indie-styled rocker "Confessional Boxing," gorgeous "Diamonds On Neptune," rockabilly-on-steroids romp "Bottle Rocket Baby," shimmering melodic nugget "Absence (What We've Got)" and rapt "Why Don't We Ever Say We're Sorry" are among the highlights later on. "Twelfth" is a terrific return. Information: old97s.com.

Artist: Cary Morin
Title: Dockside Saints (Cary Morin Music BMI)
You might like if you enjoy: Tinsley Ellis, Geno Delafose, Tab Benoit
Tell me more: Cary Morin's new album Dockside Saints is an uplifting listen, filled with original songs that celebrate life, love, his Native American heritage and the artist's overarching Native Americana sound. Fusing rock, jazz, roots, bluegrass and Cajun with sharp-witted authenticity, Morin's strong vocals and master fingerstyle guitar work enchant across the dozen tracks on the LP. A fortuitous meeting with multi-Grammy winning producer and engineer Tony Daigle (who saw Morin performing at a club called Atmosphere in Lafayette, Louisiana) led to an idea to have a number of top South Louisiana players record an album with the Colorado-based Morin (a Crow tribal member). The track listing across Dockside Saints never falters. Indeed, the rousing rockers "Nobody Gotta Know" and "Come the Rain," the ballad "Exception to the Rule" and several genre-defying dreamscapes (notably the fiddle-drenched "Tonight" and compelling "Valley of the Chiefs") showcase a successful union of top-tier players across the release. Cajun ("Jamie Rae"), Southern blues ("Chosen Road") and instrumental music (the gentle "Bare Trees" and Louisiana-flavored "Cary's Groove") are also lauded on the superb album. Information: CaryMorin.com.

Artist: Chris Cruz & Rae Shirer
Title: Sentimental Dreams (Persuasion Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash, Bright Blue Gorilla
Tell me more: It's amazing what two singers and a guitar can do. Sentimental Dreams, a new six-song EP release from Chris Cruz & Rae Shirer, is an uplifting and joyful listen that taps into the warmest of Americana and folk traditions. A collection that features three compelling originals and an equal number of artful covers, the EP provides a fantastic introduction to the two talented artists. Cruz (on acoustic guitar and vocals) and Shirer (duet and backing vocals) craft straightforward recordings that recall the best of '60s and '70s folk music; especially ambitious is their own "Lie" with bold harmonies that help propel the epic track on its enticing run. The countrified "Not Your Kind of Man" (which could have been a hit for Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash) and probing "Sentimental Dream Come True" are thrilling listens as well. The duo's reworkings of the John Denver classic "Take Me Home Country Roads," the Everly Brothers' "Cathy's Clown" and the Eagles' "Peaceful Easy Feeling" honor the original versions while showcasing the signature sound that Cruz and Shirer create together. Information: chriscruz.net.

Robert Kinsler

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