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Setting sail, a summer of soul, and Live In Colorado

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First up is the latest from one of my favorite bands, The No Miss All-Stars.

If you aren’t familiar they are what you would call a second-generation band. Guitarist Luther Dickinson and drummer Cody are the sons of famed musician and producer Jim Dickinson famed for his work with Bob Dylan and the Stones while vocalist Lamar Williams Jr. is the son of Allman Bros bass player Lamar Williams Sr.

It’s a departure of sorts from the punk-infused blues rock that the band is famous for. The performance is more restrained than you would expect… I hate the term “mellow”. There’re also some guest vocalists including Stax Records legend William Bell of “Don’t You Miss Your Water” fame.

And if you like what you hear, and I think you will there are 12 other albums in the All-Stars catalog. The mp3 version is out now with the cd and vinyl editions due April 1… the CD I’m told has 2 bonus tracks.

“Summer Of Soul or when the revolution couldn’t be televised”.

The soundtrack from the best music documentary of 2021... The year was 1969 and everyone was talking about Woodstock but if you lived in New York City the discussion centered around The Harlem Cultural Festival or as some called it the Black Woodstock. It featured some of the greatest artists of the generation: B.B. King, Stevie Wonder, The Staples Singers, Sly and The Family Stone, Nina Simone, Gladys Knight, The 5th Dimension even latin jazz from Mongo Santamaria and Ray Barreto.

The entire event was filmed but sat unpublished in a basement for 50 years. Finally coming to the attention of Ahmir Thompson known as Questlove of the Roots (the house band for the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon). His film brilliantly captures the music and the politics of the era to the point that one reviewer calls it one of the best concert videos of all time.

It’s a powerful movie winning Best Documentary awards everywhere and getting a 99 out of 100 rating at Rotten Tomatoes. Great documentary; great music.

Aofie  (ee-fuh) O’Donovan: “Age of Apathy”

We’ve already highlighted a couple of songs off the new album which finally came out last month. And I make no excuses, this lady is one of my favorites. I had some time to kill and went to see her in 2016 at SXSW. Didn’t know who she was; anything.

I was blown away.

What a voice and her songs; as she put it “I’ve always just been drawn to melodies and chord structures that were unexpected”. And you might say she’s always looking for the unexpected: playing classical music with Yo Yo Ma; recording her own versions of Bruce Springsteen’s “Nebraska”album, singing with jazz trumpeter Dave Douglas, working with Chris Thile and the list goes on.

“Phoenix,” off the album, made my list of the best songs of 2021 and with the full album out, I think I have a few candidates for my best of 2022.

Bob Weir and Wolf Bros: “Live In Colorado”

And an album to warm the hearts of Grateful Dead fans everywhere. Now I will start by saying I am not a big Grateful Dead fan unlike some of my friends who have travelled great distances to see them literally dozens of times maybe more. But I like this album recorded last year at Red Rocks in Colorado and the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheatre in Vail.

Weir if you aren’t familiar was one of the founding members of the Grateful Dead.

The Wolf Bros are an all-star collection of musicians that started touring with Weir about 4 years ago; there’s even a string and horn section dubbed The Wolfpack. As you would expect there are some Grateful Dead songs included though not note for note renditions. And while some of the other material might generate a b+ rating, it’s the quality of the musicians that make this so enjoyable. And if you still want to include this in the Grateful Dead section of your album library, you will be happy to know that the 2 lp set will be available in electric tie-dye vinyl.


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