February 25, 2018

Chris Thile – Thanks for Listening - Nonesuch

FourScore
By Kristi Kates | Jan. 6, 2018

First heard as “Songs of the Week” on the new version of "Prairie Home Companion" (hosted by Thile himself), this set of tunes has Thile playing the majority of the stringed instruments, with vocal accompaniment provided by Aoife O’Donovan, Gaby Moreno, and Sarah Jarosz. Hints of Thile’s classical background peer delicately through this diverse set, which draws on stories from Thile’s own life, pulling in elements of his work with other projects from bluegrass to classic jazz to gospel. ** ½

The Sweeplings – Sleepwalking – Nettwerk
It’s strange to think that an America’s Got Talent finalist (Cami Bradley) could team up with fellow musician Whitney Dean to craft this kind of Civil War-esque pop-i-fied folk — the kind that exhibits an authenticity far from what platforms like AGT showcase. But the pair produced this set away from Hollywood, back in the more serious confines of Nashville, where tracks like “The Wanderers” and “Losing You” were carefully honed to pull forth the cautiously bittersweet tones of both talents. ***

Dan Michaelson – First Light – State51
With a drawling, sometimes hesitant vocal style, Michaelson’s interpretations of his own songs suggest that he’s tired of … well, pretty much everything, including his own schedule, which reportedly included rising early each day to work on this very album. Hints of Nick Drake and Will Oldham (and plenty of strings) are heard through the set, which includes highlight tracks “Careless Reprise” and “Stone,” all recorded at a London studio in (impressively) less than a month. ** ½

The Wailin’ Jennys – Fifteen – Red House Records
Nicky, Heather, and Ruth, three multi-instrumentalists and singers, team up to form the Jennys, a contemporary folk outfit that puts its own spin on Americana, country, and classic rock songs. On the latest, the trio tackles tracks from Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton, among others. The gals — utilizing banjo, ukulele, accordion, and backing musicians — flatten the melodies so that they’d blend nicely into the background of any busy coffee shop. ** ½

 

 

 

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