There’s a well-worn adage which states that great art can be born from pain. That’s certainly the case with Solas, the latest from the Answer. Coming off a 2015 tour, the band returned to Northern Ireland to face dire circumstances. The members faced dire emotional and financial circumstances that drove the collective to the precipice, wondering if there would ever be new Answer music again. Eventually, the collective returned to what it had done for the previous 15 years, making music. Determined to come back with a stronger effort than ever before the quartet set about making Solas. Taking its name from the Gaelic word for light, the LP shows a markedly improved and mature band examining both the light and the darkness that light has to offer.
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Tim Easton said of Texas singer-songwriter Adam Carroll, “Adam Carroll is East Texas’ own Shakespeare of song…. His songs belong in Texan and Bayou anthropology courses, but mostly they should belong to your car stereo speakers.” We couldn’t agree more as Carroll’s songs are genuine, poetic, literary and relatable tales of life in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma.
This coming Friday, October 28th Austin-based Eight 30 Records is releasing a tribute to the influential Carroll entitled Highway Prayer: A Tribute to Adam Carroll, which includes takes on Carroll’s music by leading Americana luminaries like the Band of Heathens, Hayes Carll, Tim Easton, James McMurtry, and Slaid Cleaves.
Adriane Pontecorvo: Prison breakouts and vigilante justice take us on a wild ride through Shovels and Rope’s latest exciting single. “Botched Execution” tells an engaging, non-stop story set to a driving tune, and it’s as fun an experience as it is catchy, a song that doesn’t take itself too seriously but commits to its dramatic tale. The video fits perfectly, with intriguing characters and campy, colorful comic book effects that further amp up the action. A refreshing shift from summer pop and an outlaw ballad worth retelling over and over again. [9/10]
Andrew Paschal: Right down to their French Revolution-referencing band name, Bastille are a band that goes for the grand and bombastic most all the time, and “Send Them Off!” is no exception. Of course they would employ a horn section here; after all, such instrumentation is perfectly suited to their histrionic purposes (nothing against horns, but they can be easily and severely misused). While I appreciate the exploration of psychological unrest as expressed through the repeated plea, “exorcise my mind”, the track is ultimately way too vanilla and extraverted to convincingly illustrate the claustrophobic discomforts of anxiety and jealousy. [4/10]
Honey-voiced singer Lizz Wright is equally at home in jazz and soul and she brings those two traditions together in her video tribute to jazz vocal legend Ella Fitzgerald as her centennial birthday arrives in April 2017. Wright has chosen Hoagy Carmichael’s 1938 classic “Nearness of You”, which found it’s biggest success with the Glenn Miller Band’s rendition in 1940. Wright‘s phrasing on the tune is phenomenal as she digs into the song’s meanings to deliver a new version of the well-known tune for modern times.