CD of the Month Club
Every month, WNRN picks the best of what’s new. You can join WNRN’s Acoustic or Electric CD of the month. All CD of the Month Club members will receive a new CD in the mail every month. Everyone else can download them here!
CD of the Month Club News & Updates
The Acoustic CD of the Month for July 2016 is the 13th studio album from Paul Simon, Stranger to Stranger.
Paul Simon does not believe in writers block. Good work takes time. Stranger to Stranger is his first release in five years. Featuring musical experimentation infused with custom made instruments, collaboration with many musicians including Italian electronic artist, Clap! Clap!, background vocals from Bobby McFerrin and samples of the Golden Gate Quartet, these songs shows Simon’s desire to tell good stories and place them in the perfect environment.
The first three songs on the album use the custom-made instruments created by music theorist, Harry Partch, in the mid-twentieth century. These instruments allow 43 tones to an octave giving a different approach and sound to “The Werewolf,” “Wristband,” and “The Clock.” A teacher who was in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that Simon knew inspired “The Riverbank.” “Proof of Love” and “In the Garden of Edie” are tributes to Simon’s wife, musician Edie Brickell. Tying it all together, characters and a variety of instruments make appearances through out Stranger to Stranger.
The Acoustic CD of the Month for June 2016 is the Darrell Scott’s album, Couchville Sessions.
Darrell Scott is a successful country songwriter, placing songs with the biggest names in country music, including several major chart hits. Travis Tritt made “It’s a Great Day to Be Alive” a hit. The second single from the Dixie Chicks’ Home was Darrell Scott’s “Long Time Gone”. For over 20 years, Scott has worked consistently as a studio musician and released a series of his own solo albums. He also performed as part of Robert Plant’s Band of Joy tour.
For this new career spanning release, Darrell Scott recorded 5 covers and 9 originals. Some of these new songs were recorded back in 2001 and others as recent as last year. The album version of “Down to the River” includes a story made up and told by the late Guy Clark. One covers is Peter Rowan’s “Midnight Moonlight.” Through out the whole disc, you get the sense of his range as a singer, master musician and performer.
The Electric CD of the Month for June is 2 from Mudcrutch.
Mudcrutch moved from Gainesville, Florida to LA and in 1974 they put out one single. The following year the band broke up, but in 2008 Tom Petty, Tom Leadon, Benmont Tench, Mike Campbell and Randall Marsh reformed Mudcrutch and made their debut. Their second album, 2, was just released and feels loose and fun, like Tom Petty got a chance to go play with his friends.
Throughout 2, there seems to be an ethic of ‘you wrote it, you sing it.’ “Welcome to Hell” sung by Benmont Tench has a great boogie woogie swing, that the longtime pianist and organist pulls off with style. Mike Campbell is challenging his inner road warrior on “Victim of Circumstance”. Randall Marsh adds “Beautiful World” that enjoys a current sense of indie rock. Tom Leadon wrote “The Other Side of the Mountain”, a song that wants you to dance around the bar room floor after you applaud for the banjo player, Herb Pedersen.
Petty adds in seven original songs include “Beautiful Blue” and “Hungry No More” that clock in at more than 6 minutes each. There is also a gorgeous lullaby in “I Forgive It All” sung over an acoustic guitar with wisdom that comes with age or at least a change of pace. “Trailer” is a crazy, slice of life ride and “Dreams of Flying” will also give you that sense of longing for a simpler life that a star like Petty might never know again.
2 will be a great road trip album for you this summer. Enjoy it!
Andrew Bird’s Are You Serious is the May Acoustic CD of the Month. This is the work of a high-caliber musician. Known initially for working with Squirrel Nut Zippers, Andrew Bird has been putting our critically acclaimed albums since 2003. All are immaculately written, full of surprise with a different pallet of instruments and arrangements than the average singer-songwriter. But Andrew Bird is not average.
For this new work, Bird issued his own challenge then answered it with this project. Bird said, “That friction between the tone of the music and what the lyrics are saying creates the humor and melancholy that helps us deal with it all. If its dark on dark my eyes glaze over or I think ‘are your serious?’ In fact, that’s what I was thinking of calling this record, I guess because the songs got into a personal territory that, dare I say, are almost confessional, and that naturally makes me a bit uncomfortable.”
In Bird’s personal life since his last album, he has gotten married, had a child — and his wife battled cancer. The single, “Capsized,” sings uncharacteristically in plain terms his experience with a break up. The title track teases that he “used to be so willfully obtuse, semantics like a noose, get out your dictionairies” and declares “this is all non-fiction.” In the duet with Fiona Apple “Left Hand Kisses” confronts love’s charm and vulnerability. Other favorites are “Puma” and “Saints Preservus.”
WNRN’S Electric CD of the Month for April is Pete Yorn’s Arranging Time. His sixth album has found him collaborating with multiple producer/multi-instrumentalists including R. Walt Vincent who had been a part of Yorn’s breakout debut musicforthemorningafter 15 years earlier. The parings make for a multi-faceted album shown in songs like “I’m Not the One” with the Casio-style electric piano, the sharp guitar edges of “Screaming at the Setting Sun” or the near-classically arranged string section and grand piano on closer “This Fire.”
Highlights for me on this album also include “Summer Was A Day”, I was hooked at first listen. Although his voice sounds road-weary, to me “Roses” has some sort of timeless appeal, like this piece could have been written and adored anytime in the past 40 years.