March Program Titles Released This Week:
Ryan Bingham – American Love Songs CD/2xLP (Axster Bingham)
Ryan Bingham’s sixth studio album, American Love Song, finds the South Texas bred singer/songwriter honing his creativity on two distinct levels, the personal and the cultural. He co-produced it with Charlie Sexton, the superb Austin guitarist who has played for years in Bob Dylan’s touring band. From the opening track – the spry “Jingle And Go”, which recounts his early years as an itinerant open-mic performer working, like the great Texas bluesmen before him, for tips – to the closer, “Blues Lady”, a tribute to Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin, Bingham’s own late mother, and all the other strong women this country has produced, the album combines autobiographical reflection with a bittersweet celebration of our collective spirit in the face of enduring difficulties.
Hayes Carll – What It Is CD/LP (Dualtone)
On What It Is, Houston, TX troubadour Hayes Carll is leaving the past behind. “I want to dig in so this life doesn’t just pass me by. The more engaged I am the more meaning it all has. I want that to be reflected in the work,” Carll says. What It Is continues the artistic risk-taking initiated by 2016’s Lovers And Leavers; his voice is strong and assured, and his songwriting as truthful as ever. On the rambunctious, fiddle-punctuated, “Times Like These”, he laments political division in America while delivering a rapid-fire plea to “do my labor, love my girl, and help my neighbor, while keeping all my joie de vivre.” Carll’s signature cleverness and aptitude for so-personal-you-might-miss-it political commentary is as strong as ever. The stark, “Fragile Men”, co-written with singer-songwriter Lolo, uses humor and dripping sarcasm to examine his gender’s resistance to change in less than three minutes of string-laden, almost Jacques Brel invoking drama. It’s new musical territory for Carll, and the result is powerful. His voice is strong and resonant on these songs, and it’s thrilling to hear him use it with a new authority. He is alternately commanding and tender, yet always soulful.
Copeland – Blushing CD (Tooth & Nail)
While they began as a rock band, Copeland’s music has explored multiple genres and pulled in various stylistic influences like electronic and symphonic. In the past the musicians have aptly melded these styles, creating a unique amalgam of sounds. This time they wanted to take each sound and style and push it to its logical extreme. “We wanted to take all of the elements that made up our sound in the past and push those elements farther,” Aaron Marsh says. “So, rock becomes more rock than we’ve been in the past. If we’ve taken elements of symphonic tones, let’s now be very symphonic. When we’re being electronic, be very electronic. We wanted to emphasize each element of sound harder, like an exaggerated version of Copeland’s sound. We could be each thing individually by pushing each facet of our art in a more focused way.” “On Your Worst Day” best exemplifies the band’s sonic goals for Blushing, opening as a perfectly orchestrated song led by Aaron’s voice and strings before transforming into a melancholy electronic number. “Night Figures” is an intimate love song, a theme that threads through the album. [Vinyl edition due March 22.]