• Punch Brothers: Antifogmatic

    Punch Brothers: Antifogmatic

    More than a year ago I chatted with Chris Thile about the Punch Brothers’ second album, specifically asking him how much of the material he had penned himself—a natural question, given his remarkable growth as ...
  • Ray Charles: The Great Ray Charles

    Ray Charles: The Great Ray Charles

    Fans who scooped up Ray Charles’ 1957 eponymous debut—which spawned the classics “Mess Around,” “I’ve Got a Woman,” and “Drown in My Own Tears”—were treated to a new and exciting R&B voice. This instrumental jazz ...
  • Van Morrison: Born to Sing

    Van Morrison: Born to Sing

    Van Morrison’s first studio album since 2008’s Keep It Simple marks his return to the Blue Note label (where he picked up a Grammy nomination for 2003’s What’s Wrong with This Picture?) and finds the ...
  • Lynda Randle: 'Til the Storm Passes By

    Lynda Randle: 'Til the Storm Passes By

    A powerful example of traditional and contemporary gospel seamlessly co- mingling with other roots styles, Lynda Randle’s ’Til the Storm Passes By also makes sure its inventive music never subsumes the praise and worship messages ...
  • Clare Fischer: Extension

    Clare Fischer: Extension

    Although improvisation is critical to what Whitney Balliett famously labeled the “sound of surprise,” the svelte and complex arrangements on this long-obscure masterpiece prove that extemporaneity is not the be-all and end-all of jazz. Extension, ...
  • Los Lobos: Tin Can Trust

    Los Lobos: Tin Can Trust

    There’s a groove that Los Lobos keeps finding on Tin Can Trust that’s kind of slow and that seems like the ultimate cruising music, perfect to listen to if you’re driving down a street as ...
  • Tim "Too Slim" Langford: Broken Halo

    Tim "Too Slim" Langford: Broken Halo

    Normally fronting the incendiary Taildraggers, Tim “Too Slim” Langford has (for the first time in about ten years) slipped away for a one-man-band effort. Employing modern technology to back himself with various acoustic and electric ...
  • John Hiatt: Mystic Pinball

    John Hiatt: Mystic Pinball

    This strong follow-up to last year’s critically acclaimed Dirty Jeans & Mudslide Hymns adds to a string of strong albums by singer/songwriter John Hiatt released during the past decade on the New West label. He ...
  • Mahler: Symphony No. 9

    Mahler: Symphony No. 9

    This Helicon release of a 1985 concert with the Israel Philharmonic brings to five the recordings of Mahler’s Ninth by Leonard Bernstein, which span his early advocacy of the composer in the 60s through to ...
  • Robert Plant: Band of Joy

    Robert Plant: Band of Joy

    The good news about Robert Plant’s Band of Joy? It’s not a reprise of his mega- platinum duets with Alison Krauss (Patti Griffin is the female vocalist here), it’s not a Zep or Honeydrippers album, ...

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