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Little Big Town - nightfall [2020]
"'Nightfall' is Little Big Town's album of 'peaceful' social commentary in a divisive world". Musikalisch in 13 wunderbare, gesanglich und instrumentell hinreißend vorgetragene Lieder gefasstes, überaus ambitioniertes, neues Album von Little Big Town. Das immer mal wieder als "Fleetwod Mac des Country" bezeichnete, mit vielen Grammys und anderen Preisen hochdekorierte Quartett zeigt sich textlich engagiert und kritisch wie nie zuvor. Man hat etwas zu sagen. Dazu packen Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Roads, Jimi Westbrook und Phillip Sweet die teils sehr zum Nachdenken anregenden Themen nicht in rauschende Partyheuler, sondern in entsprechend exquisites, überaus niveauvolles Midtempo- und Balladen-Songmaterial mit tollen Arrangements. "This is no 'rah-rah beer festival'", betonte die Band dazu in verschiedenen Interviews (nachzulesen in u. a. Original Album-Review des New Yorker Wall Street Journal). "Nigtfall" ist eine absolute Glanzleistung von Little Big Town!

Original Album-Review des New Yorker Wall Street Journal:

Ambitious country-music performers face some daunting choices these days. They can lean toward furthering the genre’s tradition of capturing under-explored scenes and sentiments of contemporary adult life, and thus risk appealing to hard-core connoisseurs only. Or they can engage with popular tropes that, however often repeated, dominate big-time country radio, winning acceptance by the widest audience in the process. The fairly stark dichotomy can be characterized as more lettered, Americana-adjacent country versus country pop; aiming at more mature versus younger audiences; or even simply as album-centered versus hot-single-oriented production.
But there is a third, especially challenging route—one pursued by such repeatedly honored practitioners as Miranda Lambert, Eric Church and Dierks Bentley : working consciously and deftly to have it both ways. And among vocal groups over the past decade, none has proved more adept at walking this road than the mixed-gender, always vocally harmonious quartet Little Big Town—founders Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman, with Jimi Westbrook and Phillip Sweet. Winners of the Country Duo/Group Performance Grammy for “Pontoon” (2012), “Girl Crush” (2014) and “Better Man” (2016), they were also the Country Music Awards’ Vocal Group of the Year for six years running, 2012-2017. Their latest album, “Nightfall” (Capitol Records Nashville), set for release Jan. 17, is yet another in their succession of album gems, and a prime example of an artfully constructed offering likely to gain popularity as well as critical praise.
The most-discussed track before the album’s release has been “The Daughters,” a melodic ballad written by Ms. Fairchild along with respected Nashville songwriters Sean McConnell and Ashley Ray. Introduced by the group on the televised ACM Awards back in April, it outlines the circumscribing demands and expectations young girls are so often subjected to and offers them parental hope, but a chorus line that tossed in “I’m just looking for a God for the daughters” effectively ruled it out as a single promoted to wary and guarded pop-country radio. (The same edgy cheekiness had marked the easily misunderstood “Girl Crush,” and brought more attention to it.) “The Daughters” was nominated for this year’s Country Duo/Group Performance Grammy before the album was even out.
The first track that was vigorously promoted as a single is a song about drinking, safer country territory, and is in a traditional honky-tonk mode—not just in sound and rhythm but in its clever turn on expectations. “Over Drinking” is not about drinking too much, but about being finished with crying in a beer: “I’m drunk ’cause I’m happy, not drunk ’cause you’re gone; I’m over drinking over you.” Classic hard country. But for those looking for a pop alternative, the very next album track is “Wine, Beer, Whiskey,” which, after a teasing after-hours jazz-like opening, turns to a thumping salute to friends named Jack, Jose, Brandy, Sherry and Captain. No explanations required—and audience balance achieved.
The latest single, “Sugar Coat,” is a moody, dark ballad with Ms. Fairchild singing lead, in the persona of the long-suffering wife of a husband with wandering ways. She doesn’t drink, doesn’t take pills, just smiles “with a lump in my throat.” Many will find the song instantly relatable; it was written by country’s expert on such situations, Lori McKenna, along with Josh Kerr and Jordyn Shellhart. One of the advantages of a track record like Little Big Town’s is the happy availability of new songs that work for them from top writers—a number in this case co-written along with the band, and with Ms. Fairchild in particular. The album’s all-star songwriting contributors include Daniel Tashian and Ian Fitchuck, Grammy-winning producers and collaborating writers for Kacey Musgraves’s “Golden Hour” album last year; and the so-called Love Junkies (Ms. McKenna, Hillary Lindsey and Liz Rose ) who’d been responsible for “Girl Crush.”
Overall, the instrumentation is as varied as the album’s many moods demand, and the always strong Little Big Town vocals rise to the varied occasions. But as the songs add up on “Nightfall,” you notice that there’s a theme at work, reflected in the album title—moods when the lights go down; dreams; thoughts while lying in bed alone or with company, old or new. It’s often sophisticated, yet nonetheless country-ready, after-dark material.
“Nightfall,” the group has been telling interviewers, is no “rah-rah beer festival.” Indeed, the album’s release show is set for New York’s Carnegie Hall on Jan. 16, and the Apollo Theater the following two nights. To use a phrase only occasionally appreciated or particularly appropriate in country, this is a class album from one classy group. (Barry Mazor / The Wall Street Journal)

Das komplette Tracklisting:

1. Next To You - 4:06
2. Nightfall - 3:21
3. Forever And A Night - 4:26
4. Throw Your Love Away - 3:44
5. Over Drinking - 3:10
6. Wine, Beer, Whiskey - 3:16
7. Questions - 3:03
8. The Daughters - 3:32
9. River Of Stars - 3:37
10. Sugar Coat - 3:39
11. Problem Child - 3:35
12. Bluebird - 3:11
13. Trouble With Forever - 3:31

Art-Nr.: 9977
Gruppe: Musik || Sparte: Country
Status: Neuheit || Typ: CD || Preis: € 15,90

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McKenna, Lori - the tree [2018]
Eine der am meisten respektierten und profiliertesten Singer-Songwriterinnen der Gegenwart beglückt uns erneut mit einem bestechend schönen, geradezu hinreißenden, neuen Album. Ihr voriges Werk, "The bird and the rifle" erhielt 3 Grammy-Nominierungen und heimste wahnsinnig viel Aufmerksamkeit bei der Americana Music Association ein. Außerdem schrieb sie im Jahre 2016 Geschichte, als sie als erste Frau überhaupt zum zweiten Mal hintereinander die Auszeichnung "Song auf the year" der amerikanischen Country Music Association gewann, und zwar für ihre Kompositionen von Little Big Town's "Girl crush" und Tim McGraw's "Humble and kind" Beide Songs waren dann auch noch bei den Grammys 2017 auf der Gewinnerlist. Ja, vor allem in der Countrywelt ist Lori McKenna als Songwriterin höchst etabliert. Aber was sie hier wieder an eigenem Material und eigener Musikalität abliefert, ist einfach faszinierend. "The tree" nimmt den Zuhörer mit auf eine von traumhafter Melodik geprägte Reise durch entspannte, manchmal etwas melancholische Gefilde, von sehr fein instrumentierter und abgestimmter Singer Songwriter-Kunst, veredelt in wunderbaren, semi-akustischen, meist sehr entspannten Full Band-Arrangements zwischen Americana, Roots, Folk und Country.Ihr Songwriting ist schlicht grandios und stellt sie längst auf eine Stufe mit Größen wie Patty Griffin, Mary Chapin Carpenter und Lucinda Williams. Exzellent produziert hat übrigens erneut der momentan allgegenwärtige "Guru" Dave Cobb (u.a. Chris Stapleton).11 absolute, neue Songperlen von Lori McKenna. Höchst beeindruckend, charismatisch und wunderschön!

Hier noch ein Original U.S.-Review:

It's difficult to know where to start when praising Lori McKenna's "The Tree." It's so good in so many ways. Artists like Little Big Town and Tim McGraw have benefited greatly from recording McKenna songs, yet it's unlikely many mainstream country music fans recognize her name. Fans of Miranda Lambert and Kacey Musgraves, two women that consistently and effectively write straight from the heart, would love McKenna's songs -- if only given the chance.
McKenna writes with incisive emotional intelligence, which is why "A Mother Never Rests," a song praising mothers, deftly avoids anything resembling cliché or simplistic sentimentality. Lines like, "She only sits for a minute/She's a hummingbird in the living room," paint an accurate picture that trumps any Hallmark card. McKenna closes with "Like Patsy Would," which finds her aiming to "sing it like Patsy (Cline) would." And to prove her point, she writes and performs a few songs that Cline would have been proud to sing, and she sings them just like a broken-hearted Cline. "You Won't Even Know I'm Gone," sung over a simple, finger-picked arrangement, is an underappreciated woman's goodbye note. It's as heartfelt and tragic as "By the Time I Get to Phoenix." "You Can't Break A Woman" also details a bad relationship, only in the case, the woman has decided to stick it out and stay. "Whiskey breath don't faze her anymore," she concedes.
Two of the centerpiece songs concern aging. "People Get Old" grapples with the mystery of aging. "If we live long enough, the people we love get old," McKenna muses. This is track is followed by "Young and Angry Again," a song that longs for youthful days of irresponsibility. Country radio is oversaturated with songs about high school glory days, but McKenna reaches for feelings far deeper than mere memories of high school sweethearts; she wants to recapture an elusive mindset only found in the young.
The title track meditates on identity. As much as we like to think of ourselves as dynamic and ever-changing, the saying "The apple never falls far from the tree" oftentimes proves too true. No matter how far we may think we've strayed from our roots, we're sometimes more like that stable and unmovable tree than we'd like to believe. We rarely move too far away from the house that built us.
Lori McKenna's "The Tree" can be likened to a long and meaningful evening with a dear friend, where the conversation delves deeply into the most significant issues in life. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it heals, but it's always never less than unavoidably engaging.
(Dan MacIntosh / Country Standard Time)

Das komplette Tracklisting:

1. A Mother Never Rests - 2:45
2. The Fixer - 3:28
3. People Get Old - 3:42
4. Young and Angry Again - 3:37
5. The Tree - 3:23
6. You Won't Even Know I'm Gone - 2:17
7. Happy People - 3:26
8. You Can't Break a Woman - 3:13
9. The Lot Behind St. Mary's - 3:30
10. The Way Back Home - 3:02
11. Like Patsy Would - 2:58

Art-Nr.: 9655
Gruppe: Musik || Sparte: Country
Status: Programm || Typ: CD || Preis: € 14,90

In folgende Titel können Sie reinhören:
A mother never rests
The fixer
Young and angry again
The tree
Happy people
You can't break a woman
Like Patsy would

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