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May 10, 2011

New Music for May

Emmylou Harris is that rare artist who just keeps getting better. Although she recorded her first album 42 years ago, Emmylou's sound is as fresh as ever. Like her musical angels (including the late Gram Parsons and Kate McGarrigle - both of whom are honored on Hard Bargain), Harris is now inspiring a new generation of singer/songwriters.

In 1970, Simon and Garfunkel released Bridge Over Troubled Water, the duo's final collection of original material. Following such a legendary collaboration would be a challenge for most, but Paul Simon has had success in his second act (and beyond). His new CD, So Beautiful or So What, combines Simon's lifetime of musical influences, welcoming a variety of world artists to the party.

When he burst onto the scene in 2005, Amos Lee earned praise as a roots music phenom - bringing together folk and blues in songs that gained mass appeal. Mission Bell maintains that early spirit while adding in levels of musical maturity that are sure to keep Lee in the spotlight for years to come. Working with members of Calexico, Lee expanded his sound with the help of guests Lucinda Williams, Willie Nelson, Sam Beam (Iron & Wine), Priscilla Ahn, Pieta Brown and James Gadson.

A band like The Civil Wars is a great example of how quickly the music industry is changing. A low-key acoustic duo, the pair had a song featured as background on the TV show "Gray's Anatomy." Soon, Joy Williams and John Paul White were being Googled and downloaded from iTunes and being Tweeted about by pop superstar Taylor Swift. Their music was reaching the masses without a Top-40 hit or - remember the old days? - an album having to be pressed. The Civil Wars have just released Barton Hollow, their first full-length CD.   

Other CDs seeking your attention:

The Carolina Chocolate Drops and the Luminescent Orchestrii - "The Carolina Chocolate Drops/the Luminescent Orchestrii" [EP]
Fleet Foxes - "Helplessness Blues"
Sarah Jarosz - "Follow Me Down"
Eliza Gilkyson - "Roses at the End of Time"
The Waifs - "Temptation"
Tara Nevins - "Wood and Stone"
Karen Savoca - "Promise"
Old Blind Dogs - "Wherever You May Be"
Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 12:37 PM | Comments (1)

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