Mixed Media Online Holiday Gift Guide

This column is a follow-up to our last blog post. It includes some post-Thanksgiving, holiday gift ideas from American artists.

You Can Call Him Paul

To commemorate the 25th anniversary of Paul Simon’s classic Graceland, Sony/Legacy has issued a box set that celebrates the momentous release. The four-disc box contains a lavish booklet, a replica of the pad that included Simon’s original lyrics, two audio CDs and two DVDs. The first CD features the original album and the second CD includes demos, alternate takes and “The Story of Graceland,” as told by Paul Simon. The first DVD contains the documentary “Under African Skies,” two music videos and Simon’s historic performance of “Diamonds On The Soles of Her Shoes” on Saturday Night Live, from 1986. The Joe Berlinger-directed documentary originally aired on A&E. The second DVD is “Graceland: The African Concert.”

Shelby Lynne is a Revelation

Shelby Lynne’s second album on her label Revelation Road was an even stronger and more fleshed out effort than her Everso label debut. Now, Lynne is re-releasing the album with lots of bonus content over four discs. The beautiful box set contains the original album with five bonus tracks and an 18-track live concert recorded at the famed McCabe’s this past May. Along with these two CDs are two DVDs: “Live in London” filmed in February at the Union Chapel, and a documentary on the making of Revelation Road at Lynne’s studio. The package also includes detailed liner notes, photos and a postcard.

Bound for Glory

Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions on Nonesuch, is a collaboration between the American group Wilco and the British musician Billy Bragg. It is perhaps the best and most original tribute to one of the most quintessential American musical artists: Woody Guthrie. This four-disc set includes the first two albums of music that Wilco and Bragg released. On these albums, Wilco and Bragg took previously unpublished writings of Guthrie and set the words to music. That music comprises the first two CDs and the third CD includes previously unreleased tracks from the sessions. The DVD features Kim Hopkins’s 1999 documentary “Man in the Sand” that chronicles the sessions.

Linemen for the County

Fans of Jimmy Webb and Glen Campbell will be thrilled by the reissue of In Session from Fantasy. The two-disc set captures the legends live from a Canadian television special in 1983. The CD features eight performances. The DVD includes performances and Webb and Campbell talking about their unique and fruitful musical partnership. This is a riveting and historical document that has been rescued from obscurity.

Waltz of the Satellite Video Star

Old 97s continue to develop a following as one of the premier roots groups in music today. Also, the solo career of lead singer Rhett Miller only enhances and expands on the group’s appeal. The group’s seminal, return-to-form, 2004 release Drag It Up (New West) has been reissued with a bonus DVD. The DVD includes four live performances, a mini-documentary and a music video of “In the Satellite Video a Star.”

People Have the Power

Patti Smith’s National Book Award-winning memoir, Just Us Kids, has kick-started her career again and brought her back into the spotlight. Banga (Columbia) is Smith’s first album in five years. It is easily one of the best albums she has made in a long time and the first album of hers that includes songs she either wrote or co-wrote since her Columbia debut in 2004. Also recently released is Live at Montreux 2005 (Eagle), a concert from the Montreux Jazz Festival, which offers a great overview of her career and rightly spotlights her great backing band and includes such amazing covers as “Like a Rolling Stone.”

Bound For Glory Part Two

Pete Seeger also pays tribute to Woody Guthrie on the 100th anniversary of his birth. Seeger released Pete Remembers Woody on Appleseed, a collection of songs, recollections and collaborations on Appleseed. The two-disc set features guests such as Woody’s son Arlo and, like the aforementioned Wilco and Billy Bragg projects, includes new recordings of songs based on unpublished Guthrie lyrics. Also on Appleseed is A More Perfect Union. The album features Seeger and Lorre Wyatt. It includes such guests as Bruce Springsteen, Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle and many others.