Emmylou Harris and the Nash Ramblers, Ramble in Music City: The Lost Concert
In addition to being an impeccable song curator, Emmylou Harris attracts top notch talent to her bands. The Nash Ramblers was one of her best groups, as evidenced by this set of Harris set list standards, refracted through a bluegrass lens.
Ne-Yo, Year of the Gentleman
Ne-Yo pops up on New York Times crossword puzzles regularly because of his vowel-friendly moniker. I picked up this disc from the thrift store based solely on that recommendation. Turns out, he’s a mighty fine singer.
Whiskeytown, Strangers Almanac
I picked up this album alongside Old 97s’ Too Far to Care when I wanted to find out what this “alt-country” thing was all about. I liked them both, but I played Too Far to Care a lot more. I eventually let Strangers Almanac go when cash got tight. I picked it up again from the thrift shop because I’ve been hankering to hear “Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart.” I’m not interested in Ryan Adams beyond this album, but Strangers Almanac did turn me into a Caitlin Cary fan.
MONO, Pilgrimage of the Soul
I couldn’t get into Nowhere Now Here, but the more extroverted sound on Pilgrimage of the Soul is a departure for the band I more than welcome.
Ensemble of the Bulgarian Republic, Music of Bulgaria
Le Mystère de Voix Bulgares was a nice gateway into Bulgarian folk music, but this Nonesuch Explorer Series album goes further. Yes, there is choir music here, but it shares space with other forms of Bulgarian folk music.
Brothers Johnson, Light Up the Night
“Stomp!” was the big hit from this album, but the rest of it is also tight.
Soundtrack, Heavy Metal
I didn’t realize how much my brother played this album in his car. I could actually hum or sing along to many of the tracks on this soundtrack compilation, and I’m not a big fan of any of these bands.