Lead singer Andy Hull explains: “‘Top Notch’ is about two brothers trying to escape a fire. We tried to create something that told less of an immediate story and caused more of a gut reaction. Something to be interpreted without laying it all out in front of you. It’s also quite terrifying. Like somebody was digging and found this VHS artifact in the ground.”
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Now a star-studded roster of his colleagues have gathered together to produce a two-disc tribute album, Looking into You: A Tribute to Jackson Browne, releasing this April 1st. And it’s no joke. Look for tunes covered by the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Lyle Lovett, Lucinda Williams, Don Henley, Joan Osborne, Shawn Colvin and more.
The project is called 9 Dead Alive and it was recorded and produced by the band in their Ixtapa, Mexico studio. It’s something of a concept album as each song “is a personal celebration of individuals who have passed on, but through their deeds and words still resonate in the 21st century.” Check out details on the track list and the 9 Dead Alive trailer.
Jazz guitarist Nir Felder’s debut album, Golden Age, drops this month. Many a musician has his or her idea of what a “golden age” was or is, but Felder is reluctant to stake such a claim. In his words, the album’s title is “more of a question than a statement,” rhetorically asking if we are in a golden age for the arts right now or if we were ever in the throes of one at all.
Felder’s performing and composing chops are not unlike many a fusion jazz guitarist who came before him. Any fan of Pat Metheny or Mike Stern can wring much listening enjoyment from Golden Age. It seems to have just the right amount of virtuosity pitted against genuinely engaging writing, all buoyed by a tight group featuring pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Matt Penman, and drummer Nate Smith. “Ernest /Protector”, one of Golden Age‘s flashier tracks, premieres here on PopMatters. While the hard-bop qualities reveal one side to Felder, just know that there is much more to delve into later this month.