AMERICANA

TRAVELING ALONE - TIFT MERRITT Traveling Alone follows Tift's critically lauded 2010 album See You on the Moon, which NPR Music called 'beautiful and aching' and People Magazine hailed as 'a most important step forward in a remarkable artistic journey that continues to search, penetrate, and surprise.'For Traveling Alone, Tift Merritt s Yep Roc Records label debut, Merritt put together her dream cast to make a record that was real, raw and live off the floor. Recorded in Brooklyn in 8 days, this album was produced by Tucker Martine (The Decemberists, My Morning Jacket), features a guest appearance by Andrew Bird and a band that includes Marc Ribot (Tom Waits), Eric Heywood (Pretenders, Son Volt), John Convertino (Calexico) and longtime collaborator JayBrown. (Yep Roc, 2012)

ALGIERS - CALEXICO Calexico have been fine-tuning their alt-country widescreen sound for sixteen years, and today it’s instantly recognisable. The band’s core of Joey Burns and John Convertino have explored desert ballads, surf rock, country and Mariachi, all tied together by classy musicianship. We enter a picaresque world of dusty bars, love-on-the-run, and lives in slow-motion breakdown.  On Algiers we enjoy a relatively serene version of this template.  The record explores numerous styles, offsetting the harmonic fizz of Para and bar-room shuffle of Sinner in the Sea with the more folky Hush and Fortune Teller, with lilting acoustic guitars and gentle backing vocals in the mix. As ever, Algiers is a refined, deftly balanced set of songs.  No Te Vayas (“Don’t Go”) is a Spanish-language collaboration between the band’s Jacob Valenzuela and Jairo Zavala of Depedro, while The Vanishing Mind features an assured vocal from Burns that sees the band rise above then recede into a sonorous layer of  strings.  (City Slang, 2012)

GOD WILLIN' & THE CREEK DON'T RISE - RAY LAMONTAGNE & THE PRAIRIE DOGS God Willin’ & The Creek Don't Rise is acclaimed recording artist Ray LaMontagne's fourth studio record, and the follow-up to his heralded Gossip in the Grain. Entirely self produced (for the first time) God Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise was recorded in two weeks at LaMontagne’s home in the woods of western Massachusetts. The newly restored historic home served as a homemade recording studio for Ray and his fellow musicians. The setting provided a backdrop for the creation of songs imbued with Ray’s signature poignancy. With Ray’s vocals at the forefront of the songs and a loose, almost live sounding recording, the album stands as a testament to a band at the height of their powers. The newly coined 'Pariah Dogs', consists of Jay Bellarose (drums), Jennifer Condos (bass), Patrick Warren (keyboard), Eric Heywood (guitar) and Greg Leisz (pedal steel guitar). Individually, these musicians have contributed to the live work of musicians including Beck, Joe Henry, Tom Waits, Lucinda Williams, Ryan Adams and Joe Cocker to name a few. (Columbia, 2012)

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