RON: Chris Daniels and The Kings with Freddi Gowdy
What can you say about a 40-year friendship and waiting 30 years for a #1 album? That’s the short ‘behind the scenes’ description of the new Chris Daniels & The Kings with Freddi Gowdy album Blues With Horns. After the passing of his Freddi Henchi Band partner Marvin “Henchi” Graves, Fred Gowdy still wanted to sing. Longtime friend Chris Daniels brought Gowdy into The Kings’ fold and the magic worked: the album has made it to the top.
It’s not Gary Clark, Jr. blues, it’s Johnny “Guitar” Watson blues. It’s Buddy Miles blues. It’s Elvin Bishop blues; all with some horn-kick. With Chris and Freddi being cancer survivors, there’s a ‘beating the blues’ backstory in there too. Listen to “Fried Food/Hard Liquor” and tell me you don’t hear the humidity of a southern summer (I even heard a horn-nod to the ’71 Lighthouse hit “One Fine Morning”!) If you’re missing some Freddi Henchi in your life, you may find yourself putting “Get Up Off The Funk” on repeat.
MARGOT: Blitzen Trapper
Last year, in their hometown of Portland, OR, Blitzen Trapper staged a rock opera, which, in their words, “…dealt with heroin abuse, desperation, true love and western power structures.” They further explained, “The story evoked a bygone era of Portland with this sci-fi love story…” Blitzen Trapper took 9 of the songs from that rock opera, wrote 5 more to give the story more scope, and released it on their latest album, Wild & Reckless. In a way, this is the most exciting album they have done in years because they’re back to taking sonic chances like they did on 2008’s Furr and in a way they haven’t done since. Recommendation: Listen to Wild & Reckless as a full piece rather than song-by-song. You’ll enjoy it a lot more.
STACY: Langhorne Slim
Langhorne Slim’s latest, Lost at Last Vol.1, is a rootsy romp through modern American music. An organic journey of discovery – both of self and place. Langhorne weaves relatable tales of love, loss and coping in a modern world through 13 tracks of lo-fi liquid gold. The production must be mentioned as it creates the perfect blend of instrumentation and interplay between the vocals, framed by the sound of recording in an intimate space. The record is brilliant in its simplicity. Well-crafted songs, thoughtful lyrics and beautiful harmonies set the stage for Langhorne’s ninth release. If you’re looking for an utterly listenable, perfect road-trip album, slip in the new Langhorne Slim and hit repeat.
BENJI: Aaron Lee Tasjan
Aaron Lee Tasjan is a true renaissance man. He is one of those unique individuals who can adapt to any situation. Tasjan has worked with a broad group of artists ranging from Peter Yarrow to the New York Dolls. On a recent trip to Nashville, I witnessed Tasjan perform with his own band and sit in with two others within a span of three days. There is a good reason why he was nominated for Emerging Artist of the Year by the Americana Music Association.
Tasjan’s skills as a musician, performer and songwriter make him a triple threat in the finest sense. “Till The Town Goes Dark” is a great example of Tasjan’s talent. Its infectious rhythm and clever lyrics will having you cranking the volume and asking for more.