Outstanding LPs from synthpop pioneer Erasure, bluesman Joe Bonamassa, country singer Tim McGraw and genre-defying singer-guitarist Gary Clark Jr. are among the wonderful new releases out this month.
Tell me more: As they prove on their wonderful 16th studio album “The Violet Flame,” Erasure’s singer-songwriter Andy Bell and songwriter-keyboardist Vince Clarke still have plenty of fresh musical ideas and thrilling songs to share. The duo’s latest disc is designed to get music lovers out on the dance floor, but works equally well as a sonic companion on a lonely long-distance drive. Highlights abound on “The Violet Flame,” as evidenced by the joyful “Reason,” intoxicating “Dead Of Night” and driving “Promises.” Information: erasureinfo.com.
Tell me more: Sonic shadows of Led Zeppelin, Bad Company and Gary Moore abound across Joe Bonamassa’s aptly-titled “Different Shades of Blue.” There is little doubt that fans of the talented singer-songwriter-guitarist will love this 11-track collection of hard-hitting blues-anchored rock, soul and funk. The grooving “Love Ain’t a Love Song” and “Living on the Moon” take the New York native into R&B territory, while the electric power ballad “Never Give All Your Heart” conjures up vintage Bad Company. The lush title track showcases Bonamassa’s power as a lead vocalist even while he simultaneously unleashes dazzling fret work. Information: jbonamassa.com.
Tell me more: Since the death of Jimi Hendrix in September 1970, no singer-guitarist has captured the genre-defying approach of the late legend like Austin’s Gary Clark Jr. On his first ever live album (“Gary Clark Jr. Live”), the freewheeling spirit that has helped Clark capture legions of fans is fully on display. Whether exploring traditional blues (“Next Door Neighbor Blues,” “Numb”), Chuck Berry-styled rock ‘n’ roll (“Travis County”), tender soul (“Please Come Home”) or guitar-fueled rock (“When My Train Pulls In,” “Bright Lights”), Clark’s musical personality and songwriting are never less than enthralling. Information: GaryClarkJr.com.
Tell me more: Each and every song on Tim McGraw’s latest album “Sundown Heaven Town” is infectious enough to chart on modern country radio. What’s more, the songs are delivered with a potency that brings emotional resonance to material that usually lures with sing along-ready choruses and big guitar solos. The beautiful “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools” (a duet with Catherine Dunn) will appeal to lovers of traditional country, while the accessible “City Lights,” “Dust” and “Lookin’ for That Girl” are among the upbeat tunes that grab at first listen. Information: TimMcGraw.com.
Tell me more: Ace blues harp player Mark Hummel has joined forces with guitar greats Little Charlie Baty, Anson Funderburgh and Kid Andersen on the traditional blues celebration “The Hustle Is Really On.” The rollicking “Blues Stop Knockin’,” slow Chicago blues burner “I’m Gonna Ruin You” and fiery “What Is That She Got” celebrate early genre heroes such as the late Little Walter and Snooky Pryor. Hummel is a terrific harmonica player, bringing virtuoso play and feeling to the proceedings; his approach brings the style alive for modern-day audiences while honoring the blues’ rich and enduring legacy. Hummel has a number of dates in the West this fall, including several California dates this week. Information: MarkHummel.com.
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