New Albums from Loretta Lynn and Margo Price (with a little Jack White backstory)

Loretta Lynn released “Full Circle” on March 4th, her first new album since 2004.  Work on the album began in 2007 under the guidance of daughter Patsy Lynn and John Carter Cash. Its fourteen tracks were culled from hundreds of recordings made in those past eight years.  At 83 Lynn’s voice is still pitch perfect, and the duet “Lay Me Down” sung with her contemporary, Willie Nelson, is sure to be a favorite. The song was written by Mark Marchetti, the husband of Patsy’s twin sister Peggy.

I’ll wager that both the album and the duet will win Grammys this year. If they do, it would be a repeat of the success of Lynn’s last album, “Van Lear Rose”. Here’s the Grammy-winning duet “Portland Oregon” from that album, featuring its producer, Jack White.

Margo Price has been singing in Nashville for a dozen years, and her debut album “Midwest Farmer’s Daughter” is reportedly the first by a new country artist for Jack White’s Third Man Records. This album doesn’t feature White or bear his production imprint though, Price recorded it at Sun Studios in Memphis and Third Man released it just as Price recorded it.

Here’s the upbeat first official video from the album, “Hurtin’ (On the Bottle)”. Perhaps she’ll sing it when she performs on Saturday Night Live on April 9th!

Rock & Roll Salvation: Jack White, The Black Keys and The Strypes

This summer we can look forward to new albums by two of today’s giants of rock & roll, and we can expect to here a lot about a young Irish band.

Jack White is scheduled to release his second solo album “Lazaretto” in June, and a couple of weeks ago he put out the video for the instrumental “High Ball Stepper”, the album’s first single.  The Huffington Post claims that you will be watching a physics demonstration of non-Newtonian fluids and the operation of a Chladini plate as you listen to Jack’s blistering soundscape.   Physicists out there, feel free to comment.

The Black Keys have announced that “Turn Blue” will be out in May.  The title track and “Fever” have been released in advance and seem to be preparing us for a bit of a different album than 2013 Rock Album of the Year “El Camino”.  Danger Mouse helped produce the new album, just as he did “El Camino”, and the track below carries his influence.

While Jack White and the Black Keys are digging into all the corners of rock & roll, The Strypes tunnel right down the middle.  The young Irishmen have been on all the late night TV shows following last summer’s major label debut “Snapshot”.   The tracks “Blue Collar Jane” and “What a Shame” leave no doubt where this band’s heart is at.  They are fun to watch, and that drummer – wow.

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The Kennedy Center Honors – 2038

2013 Kennedy Center Honors were presented to music legends Herbie Hancock, Carlos Santana and Billy Joel last night in Washington, D.C.   The Awards are in their 36th year and have done a pretty good job of honoring artists of truly monumental lifetime achievements.  In the Awards’ early years the Kennedy Center recognized Ella, Sinatra, and Count Basie and in more recent years Dylan, Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Brubeck, McCartney, Brian Wilson, and James Brown.

So, who might they be honoring 25 years from now?  What musical artists are on a trajectory to possibly stand in that company?  Looking at this year’s awardees who range in age from their mid-60’s to mid-70’s and who made their first musical marks 40 to 50 years ago, we need to think of artists currently between their mid-30’s and mid-40’s who have already been at it for 15 years or more.  Being a bit parochial and limiting the possibilities to musicians featured on this blog, here are our predictions for the 2038 Kennedy Center Honors.

Alison Krauss should definitely be there.  She’ll be 67 by then, and we hope will still have her pure, angelic voice.  She might not need to make one more recording to be viewed as one of the best and most influential artists of her time. She’s already won 27 Grammy Awards and countless country music awards. Here’s a cover of a pop tune from the Queen of Bluegrass.

Dave Grohl will be 69, bringing a legacy that already includes Nirvana, the Foo Fighters, drummer of choice for pretty much everyone, and documentary filmmaker. Here’s Dave practicing for 2038 by making nice at the White House. Things start to rock at about 3:00.

Jack White will be a 63-year old in 2038.  In addition to his recent solo work, he’s led The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, and The Dead Weather, but his greatest musical legacy may be the work he’s doing at his Third Man Records – preserving American roots music and developing new artists.  White has produced albums for country icon Loretta Lynn, rockabilly pioneer Wanda Jackson, and rock and roll legend Jerry Lee Lewis. Here’s another side of Jack, performing a duet with Alicia Keys of the theme song he wrote for the 2008 Bond movie “Quantum of Solace”.

In case you want to hang around for a few more minutes and sample the early works of the honorees of 2013, here are the first songs that made Herbie, Carlos and Billy famous. And, oh yeah, please feel free to comment with your picks for the 2038 Kennedy Center Honors.

Shakin’ with Jack White and Little Willie John

Jack White’s first solo effort “Blunderbuss” is on most everyone’s list of the best albums of 2012 – it’s certainly tops on ours.   And no track is more fun than his cover of “I’m Shakin'”.  The song was a hit for Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Little Willie John, and was written by Rudy Toombs, an R&B songwriter from the 50s.  Enjoy Jack’s video (the only thing better than Jack White is two Jack Whites) and check out the pure vocals and simple sax line of Little Willie John’s version circa 1960.

You can catch all of “Blunderbuss” on YouTube.  The title track isn’t a bad place to start.

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