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Next Week in Music | May 30 – June 5 • The Short List: 8 Titles You Want to Hear

Andrew Bird, DBT, Negrito, Sass, Charlie Musselwhite, FZ and the rest of the best.

Andrew Bird takes it inside, Drive-By Truckers join the club, Fantastic Negrito puts it in black and white, Sass Jordan gets the blues again, Charlie Musselwhite returns to Mississippi, The Sheepdogs are a sight to behold, and Frank Zappa dives deep into Erie. These are your plays of the week:


Andrew Bird
Inside Problems

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “There are two types of problems in this world: outside problems and inside problems. In titling his latest album Inside Problems, Andrew Bird acknowledges the various detritus swirling around the inside. These songs are the result of snatching ideas from obsessive middle-of-the-night thoughts, organizing them, and projecting them out across the threshold to the outside. Inside Problems chronicles that moment of realization, when the inside can no longer hold us, so we move outside that brittle bubble, and we are caught for a moment in the in-between. Focusing on the “inside” allows Bird’s new music to reflect the questions that keep him up at night, and, as is more often the case, the ones that stir him from bed and keep him from returning to slumber. On Inside Problems, these ideas come to life, the songs veering from technicolor brilliance to high contrast black-and-white, and back again. As he explains it, he just seemed to stumble upon the ‘spaces in between’ in everything he did. “Crossing a threshold is as simple as going from indoors to outdoors of a house,” he explains. “I’m interested in that period of time when you’re neither here nor there. There’s an unexplainable lack of clarity to it that still haunts me, that threshold between being in one place and another.”

Drive-By Truckers
Welcome 2 Club XIII

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “On the title track to Welcome 2 Club XIII, Drive-By Truckers pay homage to the Muscle Shoals honky-tonk where founding members Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley got their start: a concrete-floored dive lit like a disco, with the nightly promise of penny beer and truly dubious cover bands. “There were no cool bars in town and Club XIII was the best we had — but it wasn’t all that good, and our band wasn’t particularly liked there,” says Hood, referring to the vocalist/guitarists’ former band Adam’s House Cat. “From time to time the owner would throw us a Wednesday night or let us open for a hair-metal band we were a terrible fit for, and everyone would hang out outside until we were done playing. It wasn’t very funny at the time, but it’s funny to us now.” The 14th studio album from Drive-By Truckers — whose lineup also includes keyboardist/guitarist Jay Gonzalez, bassist Matt Patton, and drummer Brad Morgan Welcome 2 Club XIII looks back on their formative years with both deadpan pragmatism and profound tenderness, instilling each song with the kind of lived-in detail that invites bittersweet reminiscence of your own misspent youth. Featuring background vocals from the likes of Margo Price, R.E.M.’s Mike Mills and Mississippi-bred singer/songwriter Schaefer Llana, Welcome 2 Club XIII was recorded live with most songs cut in one or two takes, fully harnessing the band’s freewheeling energy. Notes Cooley: “For us it’s always about just getting together and having fun, but this time there was the added feeling of being set free after a long time of wondering if we’d ever get to do this again.”

Fantastic Negrito
White Jesus Black Problems

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The story of White Jesus Black Problems begins roughly 270 years ago, when a white indentured servant from Scotland named Elizabeth Gallimore fell in love with an enslaved Black man whose name, like so much else, had been stripped away from him by his captors. The pair lived in the colony of Virginia, where interracial relationships were not only taboo, but legally forbidden, and their romance put their very lives in danger. The same laws that prevented the two from ever marrying, however, also affixed their offspring’s legal status to that of their mother, meaning that after seven years of their own indentured servitude, Gallimore’s children would be granted their freedom, as well. And so the unlikely couple begot a generation of free African-American children, who in turn begot another generation of free African-American children, who in turn begot another generation of free African-American children, on and on down the line until the birth of their great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandson, Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz. Or, as you most likely know him, Fantastic Negrito. “I remember learning all of this for the first time last year and it felt like the room was spinning,” says Negrito. “I’d never heard anything like it. These two risked an incredible amount of pain and suffering all in the name of love. They took on white supremacy in the 1750s, and now I’m here as a result. I had to write about it.”

Sass Jordan
Bitches Blues

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Examining the visceral emotional territory of a pandemic and the world’s reeling in its rolling aftermath, multi-platinum-selling and award-winning artist Sass Jordan readies herself to rock the blues once again with her new album Bitches Blues. Following rave reviews of her 2020 all-blues offering Rebel Moon Blues, the Billboard Best Female Rock Vocalist winner mines even more of her expansive talent in the genre to deliver eight new tracks — along with originals Change Is Coming, Still The World Goes Round and more. With Bitches Blues, Sass returns to a genre that’s long been ingrained in her grasp since the start. “There’s been an undercurrent of blues throughout my whole career”, she shares. “The music that I have mostly been drawn to has always had that gritty, rootsy vein running through it, and that’s why I’m enjoying making these records so much.” As such, anticipate piercingly fierce guitar licks and defiantly driving tempos alongside her soulful signature rasp and the full backing of a glorious assortment of rambling road dogs The Champagne Hookers — guitarists Chris Caddell and Jimmy Reid, drummer Cass Pereira, keyboardist Jesse O’Brien, and Steve Marriner on bass and harmonica.”

Charlie Musselwhite
Mississippi Son

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Mississippi-born, Memphis-raised, Grammy-winning music legend Charlie Musselwhite is renowned worldwide as a master harmonica player, a seasoned, truth-telling vocalist and an original songwriter rooted deep within the blues tradition. As many of his fans know, he’s also a country blues guitarist of great depth, warmth and subtlety. On each of Mississippi Son’s 14 songs, including eight powerfully stark originals, Musselwhite’s straight-from-the-soul vocals and deep blues harmonica playing are the perfect foil to his deceptively simple, hypnotic guitar work, which he features on every track. Having recently moved back to Mississippi from northern California, Musselwhite recorded Mississippi Son in Clarksdale, right in the heart of the Delta. His honest, soulful vocals, like his every-note-matters harmonica playing and idiosyncratic guitar work, overflow with hard-earned authenticity and lasting emotional intensity. Musselwhite calls his blues, “secular spiritual music,” a sound he’s been perfecting since he, as a young teenager, played his first E7 chord on his Supertone acoustic guitar. Upon hearing and feeling the chord’s blue note, the future blues master thought, “I have to have more of that.”

The Sheepdogs
Outta Sight

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Hailing from Saskatoon, The Sheepdogs are a hardworking, hard-living, straightup rock ’n’ roll band who return with Outta Sight, the grooviest, simplest, most penetrating album of their career. Recording during the pandemic, the band — Ewan Currie, Ryan Gullen, Sam Corbett, Jimmy Bowskill and Shamus Currie — were, like the rest of us, confused, cast ashore, and feeling isolated during COVID. Their response was to do what came most naturally to them: making stripped-down rock ‘n’ roll. “It’s a weird world. Everybody stuck in place, overthinking absolutely everything. We wanted to avoid all that—just get in the room, plug in your guitar and go. So that’s what we did,” says singer Ewan Currie, who cut most of the album’s tracks in three takes. “Themes like optimism in the face of adversity, standing tall and staying strong, knowing that better times are around the corner kept coming through when making the record and it felt really damned good to play.” Outta Sight is the biggest, brightest, beer-swillingest, lighters lit in the cheap seats, non-bummer COVID stadium rock record to emerge from the pandemic blues. It’s got humour, it’s got chops, and it’s performed and recorded by five brothers from Saskatoon who are grateful to get together and play for rock fans.”

Tedeschi Trucks Band
I Am The Moon: I. Crescent

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Tedeschi Trucks Band — the revered 12-piece collective founded by husband-and-wife duo, guitarist Derek Trucks and singer-guitarist Susan Tedeschi — are beginning the most ambitious studio project of their storied career: I Am The Moon, an epic undertaking in four albums with 24 original songs. Inspired by a mythic Persian tale of star-crossed lovers, and emotionally driven by the isolation and disconnection of the pandemic era, the thematic I Am The Moon totals more than two hours of music, unfolding across a robust tapestry of genre-defying explorations that propel the treasured American ensemble into new and thrilling creative territory. The concept behind the Grammy-winning band’s fifth studio recording was suggested by TTB vocalist Mike Mattison in May 2020, two months after the band was forced off the road by the pandemic. The 12th-century poem Layla & Majnun by Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi was the title inspiration for Eric Clapton’s 1970 double-LP with Derek and the Dominos, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs — an influential album for TTB. But Ganjavi’s source material resonated with Mattison and the rest of the band in an altogether different way. Finding complex themes and storylines that inspired their creative process, they forged a new, modern interpretation of the vast 100-page poem. I Am The Moon was written collectively and collaboratively, with band members contributing their own unique perspectives on the work.”

Frank Zappa

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The latest audio treasure to be excavated from Frank Zappa’s vast and legendary vault, Zappa/Erie brings together an exciting trio of shows that the Maestro performed in Erie, Pa. and the surrounding area between 1974-76. The new six-disc box contains more than seven hours of unreleased, electrifying live performances from Zappa and three different lineups of incredible musicians from this peak period. Of the 71 tracks, only 10 minutes have been released before, on Zappa’s classic 1974 live album Roxy & Elsewhere, outside of the amateur recordings that have been passed around on the bootleg/tape trading circuit. The three complete shows included on Zappa/Erie are presented in chronological order and trace Zappa’s history with the Pennsylvanian lakeside suburb. The set kicks off with a concert at Edinboro State College, a local university outside of Erie, on May 8, 1974, and is followed by Zappa’s first proper concert in Erie at the Gannon Auditorium at the private, Catholic, Gannon University on Nov. 12, 1974; and concludes with what would be his last Erie show, held at the Erie County Fieldhouse on Nov. 12, 1976. In addition to the full shows, several performances from South Bend, Ind., Toledo, Ohio and Montreal during from the same time period, are included as bonus tracks.”

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