By: Dallas Terry
The month of October saw the release of three really great albums by three really unique and unbelievably talented artists. Each one of these artists has a sound all of their own:
Artist: The Wood Brothers
Most Recent Release: The Muse – Oct 1
Record Label: Southern Ground Records
There’s only one word to use to describe The Wood Brothers: unexplainable. The only way to capture the sound of the band in words is to give them a slew of oxymorons: they are just as much jazz as they are bluegrass, rock as they are folk, and hillbilly as they are hipster.
The Wood Brother’s latest album, The Muse, released on Zac Brown’s eclectic label Southern Ground Records, captures the sound of the band perfectly. The songs are funky, the harmonies are high and tight, and the instrumentation is effortless. These guys are the real deal.
Produced by Americana legend Buddy Miller, The Wood Brothers don’t waste a minute of time on the album. Every sound has a place and every lyric has meaning. The band is unabashedly captivating live, where their sound only improves upon itself. Check these guys out!
Artist: Anders Osborne
Most Recent Release: Peace – Oct 8
Record Label: Alligator Records
Sincerity. That’s what Anders Osborne is all about. His latest album, Peace, is his third album released on Alligator Records. Like most artists on Alligator Records (see previous feature on JJ Grey & Mofro), Osborne’s music is based in the blues. But to pigeonhole Osborne in any genre would do a great disservice to this musical genius.
Osborne’s many influences range from John Coltrane to the Grateful Dead, from Led Zeppelin to Toots Hibbert, and somehow he manages to sound like all of them and none of them at the same time. Ever since getting clean and signing with Alligator, his music has been filled with an unrivaled amount inspiration and insight.
This album is no different. The album centers on the theme of peace and the ideologies that come with it. Osborne tackles issues of personal peace, social peace, and the ideals of peace that his children may face (“My Son”).
The title and opening track, “Peace” sounds the closest to his previous masterpiece, 2012’s Black Eye Galaxy. “Let It Go,” “Windows,” and “Five Bullets,” display his Rock n Roll chops, and “Sentimental Times,” “I’m Ready,” and “My Son,” show his ability to write heartbreaking ballads as well. Peace continues Anders Osborne’s journey towards musical sublimity.
Artist: Amos Lee
Most Recent Release: Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song – Oct 8
Record Label: Blue Note Records
For Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song, Amos Lee’s first album recorded with his actual touring band, Lee decides to put his own twist on the sounds of Americana. Recorded in Nashville, Lee’s usual soul/jazz singer-songwriter sound gets a little help from the subtle sounds of the South.
Although recorded with his touring band, Lee pulled in many guest musicians to contribute to the Americana aesthetic of the record. Guests include Alison Krauss and Jerry Douglass who contribute to the beautiful “Chill in the Air,” and Patty Griffin who lends some incredible harmony to “Mountains of Sorrow.”
Lee’s two most stunning attributes, his tremendously soulful voice and his talented songwriting, both find there way into the album on every track. Lee works his way from ballad to barroom shuffle to John Hartford-esque folk, ultimately showing his true artistry by recreating his sound so effortlessly.
Rolling Stone Magazine gave this record a two-star review out of five. If they weren’t so far up Miley Cyrus’ ass, they’d give it the couple extra stars that it deserves.
Other Notable “Outside the Lines” October Releases:
- Lincoln Durham – Exodus of the Deemed Unrighteous (October 22): I know it’s not “Outside the Lines,” but the record is fantastic. Lincoln Durham is one of the few artists who have the ability to capture who they are as people through their music. I have no other way to describe this record other than: “This is Lincoln Durham.” No holds barred, nothing held back, thoughtful, dark, and unique. This. Is. Lincoln. Durham.
- Possessed by Paul James – There Will Be Nights When I’m Lonely (October 29): This is a remarkable album by a remarkable man. Listen to it, and listen closely.