Guy Clark – My Favorite Picture of You
Master songwriter Guy Clark is back with his first studio recording in four years. The album (especially its title track) is a loving tribute to Clark’s wife Susanna who passed away last year. The titular picture is displayed on the album’s cover, and long time Clark collaborators like Shawn Camp, Verlon Thompson, and Brynn Davies help give the tribute the weight it deserves.
Mavis Staples – One True Vine
Speaking of legendary performers, Mavis Staples is also back with a new collection of gospel flavored tunes. As she did on 2010’s You Are Not Alone, Staples has once again turned to Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy as producer/sideman. The album holds an odd mix of Tweedy originals, traditional gospel numbers, and covers of artists such as Nick Lowe and Funkadelic. Staples shines with all.
Civil Wars – “The One That Got Away” (single)
When we last left The Civil Wars late in 2012, they were abruptly canceling a tour and announcing an indefinite hiatus due to, “internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition.” Since then they’ve released a soundtrack with T Bone Burnett and announced the release of a new album in August. So far, this is the only track that has been released, and the band has made no mention of touring or a reunion.
Beppe Gambetta – The American Album
Beppe Gambetta is a world renowned guitarist who has dabbled in many styles over the years. His newest project has him mining the vast world of roots music for a truly American set from the Italian artist. Material pulled from the catalogues of Jimmie Davis, Norman Blake, and Earl Scruggs is presented in a way that respects the traditions of Americana while also placing a unique stamp on old favorites.
The Deadly Gentlemen – Roll Me, Tumble Me
The Deadly Gentlemen are a Punch Brothers-like collection centered around the songwriting and banjo picking of former Crooked Still member Greg Liszt. Liszt is joined by Sam Wyslouch on guitar and lead vocals, Mike Bennett on fiddle, Dominick Leslie on mandolin, and Sam Grisman (yep… Dawg’s son) on double bass. The vocal gymnastics displayed on the album’s title track make it one of the most fun recordings I’ve heard this year.