Access, the second album by Major Murphy, is an album born out of being at a crossroads. It’s also, without question, an album to blast at an unruly volume to soundtrack an experience one might have standing at that crossroads. It’s remarkably cohesive – a striking relic in an age where ardent and true “album-making” is a fading art form – full of heavy rock’n’roll sounds and textured atmospheres fused with pro-idea, hyper-creative jittery warmth. In nine songs, it somehow takes a listener backwards and forwards at once, reckoning with intrinsic anxieties while conceptualizing a fantastical and vibrant happening, soothing in its familiar, occasionally childlike tone.
World-renowned performing and recording artist David Sancious, was an original member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. He has toured and recorded with greats Peter Gabriel, Sting, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Santana, Seal and an expansive list of A-level musicians. Sancious also wrote, produced and performed ground-breaking progressive music with his band Tone, mixing rock, fusion and gospel.
He explores new territory with the release of his 10th album “Eyes Wide Open.” Eight energetic compositions feature dynamic performances by legendary names such as premier drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, Living Colour’s Will Calhoun (drums), and Prince alumnus Michael Bland (drums).
A balanced mix of four vocal and four instrumental compositions, “Eyes Wide Open” is what Sancious describes as “a movie for your ears.” Spoken word is interspersed with political commentary and newsbreaks to create a musical and “visual” landscape addressing today’s volatile racial and political issues head-on through his signature sound.
Sancious describes his new album as, “The best work I’ve ever done.”
A live album (recorded 11/15/91 in Nashville) and a studio album of new and unreleased tracks from the best band you never heard.
On November 15th of 1991, at the height of the band’s musical powers, Chagall Guevara‘s live show was recorded to 24 tracks of analog splendor in front of a very rowdy hometown crowd at Nashville’s legendary 328 Performance Hall. With the band’s full cooperation, it has now been lovingly mixed by Russ Long, who began his illustrious career as a recording engineer and producer by mixing Chagall Guevara’s live shows. That live album, now entitled The Last Amen, is finally ready to be heard.
Is that it? No, actually…
Despite the band’s break-up three decades prior, everybody has stayed friends. And a certain pandemic has provided time for some vault-digging, which uncovered a total of four tracks that were being prepped for the band’s follow-up album and have never been heard outside the inner sanctum. And then there are those rare tracks like “Number By Heart,” “Treasure of the Broken Land,” and the original demo recording of “Tale O’ The Twister” that could make this three-decades-in-the-making project even more support-worthy.
But wait — there’s more?
What if the band reunited with acclaimed producer Matt Wallace, who helmed their debut, for a couple of brand new tracks that prove the band never lost its mojo? And what if the packaging was created by Grammy nominee Tim Stedman (who was art director for Chagall Guevara’s debut) using images from photographer Ben Pearson (who documented the band’s brief and brilliant career)? And what if all those new and unreleased and rare tracks were combined into a full-length album entitled Halcyon Days? Would all this sonic bounty compensate for the awkward timing of a Kickstarter campaign that drops in the midst of a worldwide crisis?
In Waves is the debut album for U3, a supergroup birthed by three heavy hitters of the ukulele community.
Helmed by multi-instrumentalist and YouTube sensation Cynthia Lin (based in Honolulu), this project centers around a kinship built on a trans-Pacific musical collaboration. Together with Berklee-trained Na Hoku winner Abe Lagrimas, Jr. (based in Los Angeles), and Kala Artist Ukulenny (based in the San Francisco Bay Area), U3 joins forces to create an island-inspired cross-cultural album.
Bridging the individual artist’s skills and versatility, the 9-song collection features genre-fluid arrangements ranging from jazz and bossa nova, to Hawaiian classics, to island reggae remixes, that stretch the ukulele into new territory. Layered with Cynthia’s luscious vocal harmonies, Abe’s virtuosic solos and percussion prowess, and Ukulenny’s U-bass rhythms, this supergroup’s debut is an awakening to new world of ukulele.
Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio—or as it is sometimes referred to, DLO3—specialize in the lost art of “feel good music.” The ingredients of this intoxicating cocktail include a big helping of the 1960s organ jazz stylings of Jimmy Smith and Baby Face Willette; a pinch of the snappy soul strut of Booker T. The M.G.’s and The Meters; and sprinkles Motown, Stax Records, blues, and cosmic Jimi Hendrix-style guitar. It’s a soul-jazz concoction that goes straight to your heart and head makes your body break out in a sweat.
The band features organist Delvon Lamarr, a self-taught virtuosic musician, with perfect pitch who taught himself jazz and has effortlessly been able to play a multitude of instruments. On guitar is the dynamo Jimmy James who eases through Steve Cropper-style chanking guitar, volcanic acid-rock freak-out lead playing, and slinky Grant Green style jazz. From Reno, Nevada is drummer Dan Weiss (also of the powerhouse soul and funk collective The Sextones). Dan’s smoldering pocket-groove drumming locks in the trio’s explosive chemistry.
Founded by Lamarr’s wife and manager Amy Novo, the trio started from humble beginnings in 2015, but since then has released two Billboard charting albums and toured the world to sold out venues. The trio returns now with their second studio album, I Told You So, with even heavier grooves and more confidence. It may have been several years since their most recent studio effort, but they haven’t missed a beat.
This record is about a band that found each other and also found a home. It’s about a couple of magic nights SistaStrings and I spent, crammed into the back of a listening room called the Cafe Carpe — jammed full of people, joyfully playing the songs we’d learned over our few years of becoming an ensemble, all happily unaware that the world was already changing, that because of the pandemic already underway the entire world of listening rooms and intimate live audiences was about to disappear for who-knows how long.
I started playing at the Cafe Carpe when I was a kid. At the time, I thought it was the coolest little venue I’d ever seen. After thirty years of international travel I realize that it’s one of the most soulful, deep listening rooms in the world. I’ve developed a reverence for the place, a camaraderie with the characters who work there. I’ve slept in their home above the venue (it’s an old brick building on the Rock River in the small Midwestern city of Fort Atkinson) countless times. I’ve come to love the people and the room, to curate a tiny winter festival there, to visit even when I’m not playing a gig. I’ve bonded with artists who were a generation older than me, played countless song-swaps with my peers, and begun mentoring the next generation. — Peter Mulvey
The jazz world lost a true legend when bassist Cleveland Eaton passed away in the Summer of 2020. This 1975 album, one of the real gems in the hallowed Black Jazz label catalog, takes the full measure of the man.
Cleve recorded Plenty Good Eaton right after he left Ramsey Lewis’ band, with whom he recorded a grand total of 17 different albums for such labels as Argo, Cadet and Columbia; including the hit records Wade in the Water, Another Voyage, and Sun Goddess. Then, starting in 1980, Eaton spent a dozen years with Count Basie’s band, and if you can imagine some blend of Lewis’ soul-funk with Basie’s hard-driving swing, you might just begin to grasp what’s on the menu of Plenty Good Eaton (the album graphics actually present the credits and songs as if they were menu entrees).
This truly is fusion cuisine, and it’s (sorry) cookin’, too, ranging from the Blaxploitation soundtrack stylings of ‘Keena,’ ‘All Your Lover All Day All Night,’ and ‘Hamburg 302,’ all of which incorporate disco-style strings into funky soul-jazz vamps, to the almost trad-jazz of ‘Kaiser 405,’ to the Philly soul of ‘Are You Out There Somewhere Caring,’ to the out-and-out party anthem ‘Moe Let’s Have a Party.’ The cooks in the kitchen are first-rate, too, including such Chess-label stalwarts as keyboardist Odell Brown and percussionist Morris Jennings and fellow Black Jazz label artists Steve Galloway and Arie Brown of The Awakening. This long-awaited and timely reissue of Plenty Good Eaton features a fresh remastering by Mike Milchner of SonicVision, plus notes by Pat Thomas that include remembrances from Cleve’s widow Myra and long-time friend Lee Shook.
Freedom Is Love is the debut album from Kansas City’s newest soul juggernaut, The Freedom Affair. The album explores themes of love, heartache, empowerment, and togetherness through a varying landscape of hard-hitting funk, luscious soul, and everything in between. The Freedom Affair is a unique collective featuring 3 powerhouse female vocalists in front of a dynamic 6-piece band. On “Freedom Is Love”, each of the ladies get their time to shine individually, but the magic is on full display when all 3 come together in unison and harmony, symbolically embodying the messages that they sing about. The album was recorded and produced by Chris Hazelton, utilizing the best of vintage and new recording technologies to create an authentic experience, befitting of a soul record that would have been relevant 50 years ago as much as it will be 50 years from now.
The Rare Changes LP is a collection of songs Mayer Hawthorne released as singles from June 2019 to July 2020, and includes a booklet with the cover art from each single. Mayer dedicates the LP to the brave people of planet earth who are holding hands and fighting for the rare changes. Available with a digital download of the full album. Grab now from the Mayer Hawthorne store, or indie retailers everywhere!
Pathways is a collection of four stunning loops created by the artist during an introspective period of his life. These majestic, consonant arrangements breathe slowly as fleetingly beautiful melodies; a gorgeous account of ebb and flow repetition.
Pathways is cautiously sanguine and equally melancholic of which many today can personally and intimately relate to. A universal desperation and yearning for hope in a dispirited civilization.
Released November 27, 2020, by Past Inside The Present.