Sunday, November 06, 2022

New Music: The Cowsills, Jane Monheit, Raul Midón, Buck Owens and the Buckaroos

A diverse field of artists are featured across four outstanding new titles. 

The Cowsills
Title: Rhythm of the World (Omnivore Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: Badfinger, The Byrds, The Beach Boys, The Turtles, The Bangles 
Tell me more: Musical family The Cowsills released a series of popular singles and albums in the late 1960s and early '70s before going on hiatus in 1972 — music aficionados should note the Cowsills were even the inspiration for the 1970s TV series "The Partridge Family." Although the Cowsills reunited to record new albums in 1978 and 1993, the group's return to record the full-length 2022 masterwork Rhythm of the Worlds is a true triumph. The 11-song disc is filled with songs that reflect the sharp songcraft of the best artists of the '60s and '70s; it is no stretch to note the originals on the new album featuring siblings Bob, Susan and Paul Cowsill would be at home on classic titles from the Byrds, Badfinger, The Turtles or the Mamas & the Papas. There isn't a bad song on the disc; standouts include the instantly-catchy melodic gems "Lend a Hand" and "Try to Believe It Too," Americana-styled "Hawks on the Line," melodic rocker "Every Little Secret," power pop-flavored title track, yearning folk rocker "The Long Run" and decidedly modern "Nuclear Winter." Information:

Jane Monheit
Title: The Merriest (Club44 Records)
You might like if you enjoy: jazz, holiday music, Jane Monheit's 2005 album "The Season"
Tell me more: Top-tier jazz vocalist Jane Monheit celebrates the magic  and music  of the season via her newly-released Christmas-minded The Merriest. Armed with a beautiful voice that effortlessly scales the range of holiday favorites featured across the nine-track disc, there is a mix of uptempo numbers and emotive ballads to enjoy. Among the highlights on the album is a joyful "Let It Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!" (bolstered by Max Haymer's stellar piano playing), the lovely "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)," zestful "The Merriest," a sublime reading of "Christmas Time is Here" and lively "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year," as well as the first ever recording of Broadway legend Cy Coleman's "(Christmas) Stay With Me." The acclaimed singer also teams with John Pizzarelli for a swinging take on "That Holiday Feeling." Information:

Raul Midón
Title: Eclectic Adventurist (ReKondite ReKords)
You might like if you enjoy: Raul Midón, Laurence Juber, Craig Chaquico
Tell me more: Guitar virtuoso Raul Midón is set to return with his latest album, the ambitious Eclectic Adventurist. Recorded during the midst of the pandemic, the instrumental album finds Midón joining forces with 10 other greats for an ambitious disc filled with bewitching guitar duets. Spanning Latin, pop, folk, gypsy and jazz genres, the selection is sure to please discerning listeners who have an interest in not only guitar but instrumental music. Highlights abound on the compelling set, including the gentle "Serendipity" with Jonathan Kreisberg, dazzling "Una Mas" with Alex Cuba, jazzy "Loueke" featuring Lionel Loueke, nuanced "Nautical" with Julia Bailen and sparkling "Blues For Mike" with Mike SternDean Parks joins Midón on the flamenco-tinged "Waiting Game" and later on for the aptly-titled "Gentle Ascent." Eclectic Adventurist will be released on Nov. 11, 2022. Information:

Buck Owens and the Buckaroos
Title: Bakersfield Gold: Top 10 Hits 1959-1974 (Omnivore Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: Buck Owens and the Buckeroos, Dwight Yoakam
Tell me more: Buck Owens scored a whopping 46 Top 10 hits  including 19 number one hits  between 1959 and 1974. Now that stellar parade of memorable hits he tracked with The Buckaroos, Rose Maddox, Buddy Alan, Susan Raye and others have been gathered together on the aptly-titled Bakersfield Gold. A beautiful physical package (the audio CD version is reviewed here), the set features new liner notes from Randy Poe (author of Buck 'Em: The Autobiography Of Buck Owens) and historical images. The range of material extends from flashy uptempo cuts and duets to tender ballads. Enduring classics such as the bittersweet "Under The Influence of Love," the 1963 number one "Act Naturally" (later famously recorded by The Beatles and featuring lead vocals from Ringo Starr), tuneful "Love's Gonna Live Here," longing "I Don't Care (Just As Long As You Love Me)," rowdy "I've Got a Tiger By The Tail," bluegrass-adorned "Ruby (Are You Mad)" and lovely "It Takes People Like You (To Make People Like Me)." Among the more interesting tracks on the collection are Owens' rousing cover of Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" and a majestic musical reading of Paul Simon's "Bridge Over Troubled Water."  Bakersfield Gold is available on double-CD, triple-LP and via digital. Information:

Robert Kinsler

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