Sly and the Family Stone
Live at the Fillmore East October 4th and 5th, 1968
Recorded after the release of the group’s third album and roughly 10 months before its career-making live appearance at Woodstock, this four-CD-set covers the band’s seminal two-night run. Although they were from San Francisco, these recordings come from Bill Graham’s New York Fillmore outpost. The show marks the group’s second appearance at the famed rock venue. For the casual fan, “Dance to the Music” will be the most familiar on the album. The sets throughout are dominated by soulful, hard edge, high-energy rock and funk workouts that defined the group’s iconic sound.
Moving away from the energetic, Elton John-inspired piano pop of his early days, Ben Folds continues to stretch himself with this new release. A collaboration with the Nashville Symphony, this ambitious outing includes eight chamber rock songs and a concerto for piano. The orchestral pop songs are accessible, yet include compositions that mix the haunting modernity of Philip Glass and the swirling melodies of George Gershwin.
Didn’t it Rain
Stepping away from her groups Ollabelle and the Handsome Strangers, Amy Helm releases her solo debut. She mixes her late dad’s final drum performances with myriad genres: country, blues, gospel, folk and rock. Joining Helm on this album are members of both Ollabelle and the Handsome Strangers: Jim Weider, Larry Campbell, John Modeski, Bill Payne and Alison Moorer. Helm’s crystal-clear and heartfelt vocals drive every track, including a startling rendition of Sam Cooke’s “Good News.”
The Trackless Woods
Since the early 90s Iris Dement has been a mainstay of the Americana music scene. Her voice brings to mind folk and country artists Emmylou Harris and the McGarrigle Sisters. After three recordings on a major label, Dement’s third self-released album moves from mournful, churchy, simple piano songs to bouncy, raw country that sounds as if it were recorded on her back porch. Dement set her music to the poems of late Russian poet Anna Akhmatova and the combination of backwoods jams with Russian lit creates a rare music mix.
Currency of Man
On her fourth album, Melody Gardot tempers her jazzy and idiosyncratic sound with sharp electronic rhythms and simpler arrangements. Her romantic vocal style combined with lush orchestral arrangements produces a surprisingly timeless, sophisticated sound for someone so young. And although Gardot is a throwback artist, her new album has a distinct modern edge.