Continuing with a look back at the week in music, this column will focus on what a single author (Sean Phipps, that’s me) has been listening to this week.
Please keep me in the know as to your favorite songs in the comments section.
A substantial Spotify playlist is at the bottom of the article.
Here are some highlights:
Linda Thompson, "Won’t Be Long Now"
As possibly Richard Thompson’s biggest fan, it’s sometimes difficult for me to listen to, even stomach, the music of his ex-wife, Linda Thompson. What a terrible thing to say, right? I know. These feelings are irrational beyond belief. Her latest solo album, "Won’t Be Long Now," was released this week. Imagine my surprise when the familiar guitar playing of RICHARD THOMPSON appears on the first track—which sounds as if it could’ve been on any of the Linda/Richard albums of the '60s and '70s. "Love’s for Babies and Fools" is a bitter lament of a past filled with regret. Martin Carthy, Teddy Thompson, John Doyle and others join Linda on this, to my surprise, fantastic album. Nearly all of Linda’s family is featured on the album.
Brett Dennen, "Smoke and Mirrors"
One of my favorite tracks of the week is "Wild Child" from Brett Dennen’s latest album, "Smoke and Mirrors." Dennen is a California-based folk-pop artist with five studio albums under his belt. The 33-year-old releases "Smoke and Mirrors" at a pivotal moment in his career. The album features Dennen exploring his own psychological battles on the themes of success, aspirations and expectations. He told NPR: ".. I have this issue where I want to please people. And sometimes I worry about what people think of me and wanting to be what maybe I think they want me to be." A song like the wonderful "Wild Child" stems from this emotion to be carefree and living only in the moment for yourself.
Steve Earle/The Mastersons
I had the pleasure of attending the Steve Earle & The Dukes concert at Track 29 on Thursday. At 58, Earle is as potent as ever with his political vitriol. Earle seemed to have a good time, and by "Copperhead Road" near the end of the set, the audience had turned a "seated" show into an outlaw dance party. Opening—and then backing up—for Earle were The Mastersons, a husband-wife duo whose harmonies could uproot a tree. Their 30-minute opening set included "Birds Fly South," which may have been my favorite song performed throughout the night. Earle’s set was heavy on his new record, "The Low Highway," which is not necessarily a bad thing. He played, I think, almost the entire record throughout the night with classics like "Guitar Town," "Taneytown" and "Hardcore Troubadour." He promised the Chattanooga audience he’d be back soon.
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