These releases among others are available to request at wyce.org/request or call (616)742-9923 For a complete list of everything we add visit: grcmc.org/wyce/music/library
Moonchild - Little Ghost
So this group is one of my favorites to listen to, as they do such a great job arranging a variety of synth sounds, percussion, horns, electronic textures, and subtle, soulful vocals to wrap it all up into a smooth, grooving package that commands your attention. The group started writing music together at the University of California, and since then they have gone from a group that most musicians were hip to on the coastal scenes to garnering an audience worldwide. Little Ghost rides waves of keyboard soundscapes and neo soul grooves to keep you vibing the whole way through. Amber Navran’s vocal and arranging chops are on full display with her fellow sonic crafters, knowing just where to place a sound at the front and back of the mix while also colorfully adding other instrument sounds and moments to keep you listening again and again. The warmth radiating from this album is enough to keep you satisfied all winter, sitting right in the pocket rhythmically and harmonically for some awesome moments of comfort music. In a world where so many artists want your attention with loud, overbearing, heavily produced and exaggerated presentations of music, it’s so refreshing to have an album that whispers softly in your ear and does more to heal your soul than any shouting match could result in. Moonchild really has hit their stride, even with so many successful tunes prior to this release, and I’m excited to see where they continue to grow as a group and as producers, collaborators, and arrangers.
Highlights: Money, Too Much to Ask, Get To Know It, What You’re Doing
Tinariwen - Amadjar
For those who my article two weeks ago, you saw that I wrote about the latest release from Les Filles de Illighadad, an all female group innovating on the Tuareg sound and being compared to Tinariwen. Now, coincidentally, Tinariwen has a new fall release called Amadjar if you’re looking for a current, direct comparison between the two artists. This new record was tracked on the group’s journey to Noucakchott, the capital of Mauritania, which took about twelve days. Along the journey, their French production team tracked songs every evening from a van that had been converted into a recording studio. Along with their band, Mauritanian griotte (oral tradition storyteller/musician) Noura Mint Seymali and her guitarist husband, Jeiche Ould Chighaly, tracked live with the group at each stop. This type of traveling recording setup is as close as you can get to authentically capturing the rich history of this nomadic culture. One other element to this record is the inclusion of Western artists overdubbing parts afterwards, including violin from Warren Ellis of the Bad Seeds, guitar from Stephen O’Malley from Sunn O))), mandolin/charango from Micah Nelson, Cass McCombs and Rodolphe Burger. With this release, the group continues to detail the many struggles faced by their fellow Tuareg people within the country of Mali, from political and military conflicts to climate change to a collapse of public infrastructure and services. Amadjar is a hyptonizing release, drawing you close to the campfire on their evening stops and inviting you into their culture, history, and artistic expressions of everyday struggles.
Highlights: Taqkal Tarha (ft. Micah Nelson), Zawal (ft. Warren Ellis, Noura Mint Seymali, Jeiche Ould Chighaly), Kel Tinawen (ft. Cass McCombs)
The Highwomen - The Highwomen
No doubt you’ve heard their recent cover of The Chain by Fleetwood Mac that has been featured on the soundtrack for the recent movie release, The Kitchen, that has had them performing on everything from The Howard Stern Show to The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. One reason this group already had star power going into their debut record is that it is a supergroup, featuring the quartet vocal spread of Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris, Amanda Shires, and Natalie Hemby. The name is derived from The Highwaymen, a group that included Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson. This band differs from The Highwomen in that these women are currently still at the peak of their fame, whereas The Highwaymen decided to form their group when they were dipping in the charts in 1985. The vocal blend within this group proves why their skills and artistry outweighs any sort of surface level perceptions of their fame. Regardless of any sort of marketing strategy or management email chain, it’s clear that this group was destined to perform and inspire with a strong, female centered powerhouse group that came out with a solid debut!
Highlights: Redesigning Women, Crowded Table, Loose Change
Kindness - Something Like A War
Returning with their first album in four years, Adam Bainbridge, an artist and producer known as Kindness that has produced for artists like Solange, is back with Something Like A War, an album that is more personal to their experiences than previous albums. The album focuses on a message of universal love, as indicated by tracks like “Raise Up” and felt in the funk/R&B textures thumping in you chest, much like a heartbeat reminding you of where you can feel the love in your system. On the record, they include some great guests like Robyn, Jazmine Sullivan, Alexandria, and Cosmia to convey the emotional vulnerability within the tunes, as Adam Bainbridge is a fan of these singers and understands as a producer what each vocalist brings to the music they’re involved in. As much as this album is perfect to groove to on a long drive, it carries a message we all hope to aspire to in creating a world so loving and inclusive that it can silence any hate and move society forward.
Highlights: Raise Up, Who You Give Your Heart To (ft. Alexandria), Hard To Believe (ft. Jazmine Sullivan)
Charley Crockett - The Valley
Charlie Crocket returns with his latest release, The Valley, an album that reflects his life growing up in near the Rio Grande. “I’ve come to see my life as a valley...I carry it with me in my heart and I imagine myself to be there when times get hard.” (Website Biography) As if being a direct descendant of Davy Crockett wasn’t enough, Charlie Crockett has African American, Jewish, and Caucasian ancestry while also engaging with Cajun culture to influence his blend of storytelling through country and blues music. At 35, Charley has seen his fair share of the country as a touring performer releasing various independent recordings along the way, but he has found his home in the Americana and Texas music world. His stories and travels also had to do with trying to avoid a life of crime, as he was seeing so many of his close friends and family going to jail. As if to highlight the desperation Charley has for sharing his story through music, this album was recorded in a week, just before he went in for two lifesaving heart surgeries. He tracked the record at Fort Horton Studios with Jay Moeller and famous roots producer Billy Horton, who really captured Charley’s storytelling and personality in this release. Charley says “My story’s wilder than people can make stories up. These songs that I’ve written on this record, it’s all really autobiographical and they’re about as much depth as I’ve been able to capture writing about myself.” So if you’re looking for another great storyteller to add to your country music collection or want to hear a different side of country music, you’ll find a great voice in Charley Crockett. Also, a side note, I love the retro album cover look, it’s perfect to place among you classic vinyl records!
Songs to check out: Borrowed Time, The Valley, 9 Lb Hammer
New Music Monday is a collaboration with WYCE Staff and Dutcher Snedeker. These among others are all available for request at wyce.org/request or call (616) 742-9923 For a complete list of everything we add visit: grcmc.org/wyce/music/library