Hopefully you've at least heard of some of them.
1. The Suburbs, Si Sauvage (Suburbs Music): The 1970s Minneapolis rock-pop-dance band that paved the way for bands like The Replacements returned to the studio after a 27-year hiatus, sounding fresh and relevant as ever.
2. Lenny Gomulka & Chicago Push, Save The Music (Push Records): Upbeat and positive sounds from the great push polka stylist, including a loving tribute to late mentor Eddie Blazonczyk, and fatherly guidance for his six-year-old son.
3. Lisa Germano, No Elephants (Bad Man Recording Company): Another hauntingly surreal, enigmatically sparing entry from a truly special artist, with plenty of “Diamonds,” to use another album track title, despite the “No Elephants” of the title song.
4. Kris Kristofferson, Feeling Mortal (KK Records)): Poignant lyrics about age, made more so by the 77-year-old legend’s recent revelation that he’s suffering from memory loss, serve to extend one of contemporary songwriting's truly immortal catalogs.
5. Lisa Loeb, No Fairy Tale (429 Records): Now with her own signature fashion eyewear line, Loeb is as sharp-sighted as ever in pure pop music observation.
6. Linda Thompson, Won’t Be Long Now (Pettifer Sounds): Plaintive and evocative, mostly acoustic music from one of the great voices in British folk, lovingly flanked by illustrious family members.
7. Eric Burdon, ‘Til Your River Runs Dry (ABKCO Records/Universal): As evidenced here, as powerful vocally and relevant lyrically as he was five decades ago.
8. Rebecca Pidgeon, Blue Dress On (Toy Canteen Records): Seductive grownup pop-folk from the actress/songstress, amplified by shimmering production values.
9. Richard Thompson, Electric (New West) : Another exquisite outing from Thompson, the only change this time being Buddy Miller’s beautiful electric folk production and Siobhan Maher Kennedy’s backup vocals on five of the 11 tracks.
10. Sheryl Crow, Feels Like Home (Old Green Barn/Sea Gayle Music/Warner Bros.): Nothing Sheryl Crow can’t do credibly music genre-wise, so no surprise that her first Nashville record fits in so easily with her past work, while easily surpassing in substance so much of the contemporary female country competition.
[The Examiner has written liner notes for releases from Kris Kristofferson, The Animals and Richard Thompson.]
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