December Playlist

Mark Knopfler
Get Lucky

Since his Dire Straits days, Knopfler has been very busy doing soundtrack albums, collaborating with the likes of Chet Atkins and Emmylou Harris and making exquisitely crafted solo albums. Get Lucky may be his most beautiful solo album yet. Mixing his signature guitar sound with occasional strings and woodwind instruments, Get Lucky is lush and inviting and like many of Knopfler’s previous releases, it is music to test audio systems by.

Dolores O’Riordan
No Baggage

This is O’Riordan’s second solo album and it’s much closer to the kind of music we’ve come to expect and love from the former member of the Cranberries. That glorious expressive voice projects a more positive feeling on this new outing than on the more tortured and brittle approach evident on her previous solo effort. Cranberries fans are also happy, in that after no new music from them since 2001, the band is back out on the road and has been writing some new music.

Paolo Nutini
Sunny Side Up

Of Scottish-Italian descent and part of the UK soul revival, Nutini has made a dramatic turn on his sophomore outing. The three-year wait was well worth it as Nutini shows a more varied sound throughout. Filled with a hybrid best described as sea-shanty soul with hints of reggae, the release shows that what hasn’t changed is the magic of Nutini’s raspy, sweet soul vocal approach.

John Mayall

This appropriately titled album from the Godfather of British blues is a piercing electric guitar tour-de-force, with Mayall’s signature keyboards almost non-existent. Mayall continues to explore new sounds and to work with different musicians. And at 76 he remains as relevant as ever. Someone please explain to me why Mayall is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

A New Tide

The tide has indeed turned for this Merseyside band on its sixth album. Like Nutini, the band waited three years to make another album. The distinctive voice of Ian Ball now shares almost equal time with that of Ben Otwell, making for a very schizophrenic album. That said, Gomez remains one of the most consistently satisfying bands of the last decade’s dominant UK music scene.