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Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi – They’re Calling Me Home CD (Nonesuch)
Rhiannon Giddens (Carolina Chocolate Drops) and Italian multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi, who both live in Ireland when they aren’t on tour, have been there since March 2020 due to the pandemic. The two expats found themselves drawn to the music of their native and adoptive countries of America, Italy, and Ireland during lockdown. Exploring the emotions brought up by the moment, Giddens and Turrisi decamped to Hellfire, a small studio on a working farm outside of Dublin, to record these songs over six days. The result is They’re Calling Me Home, a twelve-track album that speaks of the longing for the comfort of home as well as the metaphorical “call home” of death, which has been a tragic reality for so many during the COVID-19 crisis. The minstrel banjo, accordion and frame drums that have become characteristic of the pair’s sound are well represented on the album, but it’s the viola and cello banjo combination that captures unexpected emotion and intensity. [Vinyl edition due June 11.]
Lynyrd Skynyrd – Live At Knebworth ‘76 CD+DVD/CD+Blu-ray/2xLP+DVD (Eagle Rock)
Southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd celebrate their historic Live At Knebworth ‘76 performance with this new multi-format reissue. Originally only available on the 1996 film Freebird… The Movie, this latest installment gives fans the opportunity to enjoy the 1976 performance in its entirety. Live At Knebworth ‘76 chronicles the band’s original legendary line-up featuring Ronnie Van Zant, Gary Rossington, Allen Collins, Steve Gaines, Leon Wilkeson, Artimus Pyle, Billy Powell, and The Honkettes, and honors those who were lost in the tragic 1977 plane crash. The band performed at the day-long festival with the likes of Todd Rundgren’s Utopia and The Rolling Stones, playing to a crowd of over 150,000 people, and effectively stealing the show to create a historic moment for Southern Rock.
Parker Millsap – Be Here Instead CD/LP (Okrahoma)
The fifth album from Oklahoma-bred singer/songwriter Parker Millsap, Be Here Instead emerged from a wild alchemy of instinct, ingenuity, and joyfully determined rule-breaking. In a departure from the guitar-and-notebook-based approach to songwriting that shaped his earlier work, the Nashville-based artist followed his curiosity to countless other modes of expression, experimenting with everything from piano to effects pedals to old-school drum machines (a fascination partly inspired by the early-’70s innovations of Sly Stone and J.J. Cale). As those explorations deepened and broadened his musical vision, Millsap soon arrived at a body of work touched with both unbridled imagination and lucid insight into the search for presence in a chaotic world. [A limited-edition color vinyl edition is also available.]