by Robert Kinsler
An outstanding tribute to singer-songwriter Jackson Browne, the one-two punch of Queen guitarist Brian May and singer Kerry Ellis, and the solo debut from blues singer-songwriter-guitarist Mark Wein make for some fine listening.
Various artists: Don Henley, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen, more
Title: Looking Into You: A Tribute to Jackson Browne (Music Road Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Jackson Browne, Bruce Springsteen, Dawes
Tell me more: Few tributes to their honoree strike as lavishly as the two-disc “Looking Into You: A Tribute to Jackson Browne.” Many of Browne’s most admired contemporaries as well as his acclaimed musical descendants revisit his celebrated songs. Whether it’s Paul Thorn’s blues-tinged “Doctor My Eyes,” the inspired folk rocker “Barricades of Heaven”nailed by Griffin House or the playful raggae-flavored “Everywhere I Go” that teams Bonnie Raitt and David Lindley, there is a genuine sonic and emotional shimmer across the 23 wide-ranging songs on the first-ever (and first-rate) tribute to Browne. Other superb reworkings on the collection include Lucinda Williams’ introspective “The Pretender” and an exotic version of “Linda Paloma” featuring Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa. Information: MusicRoadRecords.com.
Tell me more: “The Candlelight Concerts” features a full-length concert DVD of Queen guitarist Brian May and popular British singer Kerry Ellis (of both Broadway and London’s West End fame) performing at the Montreux Jazz Festival on July 19, 2013, as well as a CD that was recorded on the duo’s earlier Born Free Tour in November 2012. The nuanced and wide-ranging material tackled during the acoustic-minded DVD concert includes a hushed take on Kansas’ “Dust in the Wind,” an Americana rendering of the Queen rocker “Tie Your Mother Down” and a baroque-flavored take on the Freddie Mercury-penned Queen hit “Somebody to Love” with May, Ellis and audience sharing vocals. Highlights on the audio CD include the heartfelt tribute to the Beatles via George Harrison’s “Something,” the rousing “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” and a tender version of the classic Christmas carol “In The Bleak Midwinter.” Information: EagleRockEnt.com.
Tell me more: Mark Wein doesn’t mess around. On his 11-song “Black Market Hearts,” the Orange County-based singer-songwriter-guitarist unleashes his blend of authentic and blistering blues songs that tap into the genre’s roots while showcasing the here and now. The grooving “I’m Gonna Leave” with torrid work from Wein and keyboardist Gary Pritchard, the slow soulful blues of “Someone Else’s Fool” and fiery R&B standout “Can I Take You Home?” help Wein hit this one out of the park. Information: MarkWein.com.
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