On his first album since 2008, Sweet employs vinyl in the mastering process to sweeten the sound—a sign of his '60s-pop infatuation. Fans of Girlfriend-era Sweet may wish that this record rocked more; others may find its introspection a sign of growth.
Fans of guitar superslinger Phil Keaggy (which include, it is said, the late Jimi Hendrix) know that he's incredible live, the high quality of his studio discs notwithstanding. Here he combines studio precision and live spontaneity as he tackles classic-rock covers ("To Make You Feel My Love," "Here Comes the Sun") and his Christian-music chestnuts ("What a Day," "Salvation Army Band").
Mylo Xyloto strives to be melodic and grandiose, thoughtful and
commercial, a big seller but not a sellout. It's the artistic equivalent
of trying to serve Zeus and mammon, and it doesn't come without risks.
Mark Olson and Gary Louris reunited for a duo record in 2008, but this is the first album they've made together with the Jayhawks in 16 years. The two harmonize like a countrified Simon and Garfunkel, and they write potent songs that stick to your synapses.
In a formidable jazz town like Chicago, musicians who populate the club scene one night grace the world's concert stages the next. Two new projects feature three of the city's best: drummer/percussionist Tim Daisy, clarinetist James Falzone and cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm.
As the epitome of vocal cool and confidence, Frank Sinatra ruled the Las Vegas strip for more than two decades. This compilation draws on four of his best performances there between 1961 and 1987. In a 1966 recording, Old Blue Eyes is at his Rat Pack best on "I've Got You Under My Skin," with growling backup from Count Basie and his orchestra.
With the recent resurgence in the Four Seasons' popularity thanks to Jersey Boys, it's an apt time to rediscover Cannon (born Frederick Picariello), another East Coast Italian-American who worked with Four Seasons producer Bob Crewe.
When he's not backing up Wilco members on their solo projects, singer-songwriter Morgan Taylor makes sparkling kids' music, drawing comparisons to adult artists from Bread to the Beatles. Taylor sings about characters like a frisky eel that dresses in a wardrobe of single socks ("Slim Gets in 'Em").
With roots stretching back seven decades, the Blind Boys of Alabama still chug along, aided here by a host of country luminaries, including Vince Gill ("Can You Give Me a Drink?") and the Oak Ridge Boys ("Take the High Road," which pairs majestic vocals with laid-back twang).
fashionable for 21st-century blues guitarists to blow you away with
fretboard pyrotechnics. But Dave Specter harkens to the previous
century, when players like Steve Cropper and B. B. King moved listeners
with a handful of heartfelt notes. The horns, smoky organ and sublime
guitar on "Stick to the Hip" suggest Booker T.
Himmelman's gifts for melody, lyrical poignancy and spiritual depth are
rare among singer-songwriters. He can also rock: "Motel Room in
Davenport" chugs like a freight train, while "Good Luck Charm" mixes
white-boy rapping and an anvil-heavy beat into a solid groove.
many modern gospel records, this double disc was recorded live. But it
begins nontraditionally: "Reclaim Your Mountain" builds tension by
repeating a two-note phrase for almost four minutes before spiraling
into a Holy Spirit call. "Prophecy" kicks off with a tom-tom solo and
then unfurls a Latin-tinged rhythm that frames fervent, improvised