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CD Reviews: Gillian Welch, ‘The Harrow & the Harvest’; Eilen Jewell, “Queen of the Minor Key’

Gillian Welch, “The Harrow & the Harvest” (out now) As soon as the first few notes of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings’ guitars ring out on the opener “Scarlet Town,” all other thoughts fade away. No more worries of when we’ll hear something new from one of the truest contemporary songwriters of this generation. No […]

CD Reviews: Jeffrey Foucault, “Horse Latitudes”; Amy Black, “One Time”; Dawes, “Nothing Is Wrong”

Jeff Foucault, “Horse Latitudes” (out now) How can such contemporary tunes sound so timeless? At times, Jeffrey Foucault’s latest, “Horse Latitudes,” sounds like it came straight from the dusty plains of the Old West, sometimes it seems to capture the spark and spirit of ‘70s electric Neil Young. The Western Mass.-by-way-of Wisconsin native’s 10 tunes […]

CD reviews: Zoe Muth, “Starlight Hotel”; “Buddy Miller’s Majestic Silver Strings”; Shannon McNally, “Western Ballad”

There’s a lot you can miss in a short span of time when you are trying to get your teen through the college-choosing process. In the last month or so, I realized, I have neglected some very good CDs, so I offer here some capsule reviews of albums that are worth a listen. Here’s the […]

CD Review: the Low Anthem, Smart Flesh

When you really are in the mood to “listen” to music put on a Low Anthem record. That is to say, don’t put it on as background music or when you are partying with friends. It’s not that the Rhode Island band plays overly serious music, but it is music that seriously needs your full […]

CD Review: Lucinda Williams, Blessed

I’ll just come right out and say it: This is the best Lucinda Williams album since “Essence.” The songs on “Blessed,” her 10th studio album, are inspired, varied and contain some of her best writing in years. It’s an emotional album, with songs about a spectrum of loss and love, sung with depth and played […]

CD Review: the Submarines, Love Notes/Letter Bombs

(Out Aug. 5)   The first thing that becomes clear on the new album, “Love Notes/Letter Bombs,’’ is that Blake Hazard and John Dragonetti, the duo that makes up the Submarines, is that they are still in love – even if everything isn’t always perfect. That might not completely matter since their first album, “Declare […]

>CD review: Iron and Wine, “Kiss Each Other Clean”

>   In our last CD review, of the new Decemberists album, I wondered how the band’s longtime fans would react to their new sound. Well, I can ask the same question here, with Iron and Wine’s latest release, “Kiss Each OtherClean.”   Originally, Iron and Wine was Sam Beam, solo acoustic folkster. He built a fanbase […]

>CD review: the Decemberists, “The King Is Dead”

>    My 17-year-old daughter and I both love the Decemberists, but I suspect for different reasons. She loves their wildly dramatic flair, their old-world story songs, and that British tone. I love all that too, but what gets me is the band’s sound — rock guitars mixing with banjo and other assorted cachophony-inducing instruments, […]

>CD review: Lori McKenna, “Lorraine”

> It’s easy to hear the appeal of Lori McKenna’s songs to country music stars and fans: the trials and tribulations, thoughts and actions of her everyday characters are those that fill countless country songs. Yet I certainly didn’t come to her music from a country music angle. I first heard her singing “Fireflies” on […]

>CD reviews: Lake Street Dive, Lucinda Black Bear, the Bowmans

>Lake Street Dive, “Lake Street Dive“   Band members Rachel Price, Michael Olson, Bridget Kearney and Michael Calabrese met at New England Conservatory, but don’t let that dissuade you from putting on this album and dancing around your living room because as Lake Street Dive they play … a wicked mix of country/bluegrass/soul music.  Price’s voice is […]