Canadian singer/composer Loreena McKennitt is self-managed, self-produced, and the head of her own internationally successful record label, Quinlan Road. In a recording career spanning nearly two decades, McKennitt's "eclectic Celtic" music has won critical acclaim worldwide and gold, platinum and multi-platinum sales awards in fifteen countries across four continents.
Bob reached the heights of his seminal Seventies work with this confessional 1975 classic featuring Tangled Up in Blue; Simple Twist of Fate; Idiot Wind; Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts , and 6 more. Inevitably, when critics praise a new Dylan album, they label it the "best since Blood on the Tracks," and with good reason. Inspired by a crumbled marriage, and recorded after a tour with the Band had apparently re-ignited his creativity, Blood is among Dylan's masterpieces. The album's epic songs are well known, but its real high points are the shorter numbers--"You're a Big Girl Now," the flawless blues "Meet Me in the Morning," and the sweetly devastating "Buckets of Rain." These are songs of "images and distorted facts," each expressed through tangled points of view, and all of them blue. --David Cantwell
2011 debut full length from the Folk/Country duo. The Civil Wars consists of John Paul White, hailing from Florence, AL and Joy Williams, originally from Santa Cruz, CA, but now residing in East Nashville. The duo's chance meeting a year and a half ago fueled an immediate songwriting chemistry and creative synergy. Their second show ever, performed at a sold out Eddie's Attic, was recorded and released as a free digital album. Of the duo, Reg's Coffee House host, Scott Register, praises: 'In my 13 years on the radio, few of the artists I've championed had as immediate a reaction as The Civil Wars. When I first spun 'Poison & Wine' listeners couldn't get enough of it and wanted to own it immediately. This band has the 'it' factor that you look for. Don't miss out.'
BOWIE DAVID THE RISE & FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST & THE After flirting with heavy guitar rock ("The Man Who Sold the World") and lighter pop ("Hunky Dory"), Bowie found middle ground on Ziggy Stardust. The creation of the Ziggy Stardust persona would live on well after Bowie shed the alien skin, marking the first rock concept album by a sexually ambiguous, artistically bent musician who confounded critics at every turn. A blend of dramatic strings, swaggering saxophones, jagged guitars, and theatrical arrangements, the album's darker rock numbers like "It Ain't Easy," "Moonage Daydream," "Ziggy Stardust," and the irresistible "Suffragette City," still serve as solid excursions into the future (then and now) of rock. The buoyant "Hang on to Yourself" and the dreamy "Star" offer hints of optimism in Ziggy's bleak world. The dramatic "Rock 'n' Roll Suicide" and the image-heavy "Star Man" ("he'd like to come and meet us but thinks he'd blow our minds!") no doubt provided plenty of stage-worthy moments when Ziggy toured in the '70s, but years later they still thrill. Bowie blew our minds! --Lorry Fleming
UK-born, adopted Australian son Passenger (Mike Rosenberg) releases his latest, already critically-lauded album, All The Little Lights. Recorded at Linear Studios in Sydney (Empire of the Sun and Josh Pyke), All The Little Lights is the most accomplished Passenger record to date. It s very different to (the last album) Flight Of The Crow, says Rosenberg. This one is a bigger production and a bit more modern sounding.
His first ever CD greatest-hits collection, Neil Young's Greatest Hits is a long-awaited retrospective from one of rock's most influential and enduring singer-songwriters. With 16 selections spanning his entire career since 1969, Greatest Hits features some of the greatest hits of rock'n'roll, period. Also available is a CD+DVD package that includes the original stereo master mixes (for highest resolutation listening) photo gallery and other bonuses. One question would be: What took him so long? After all, a contemporary like Van Morrison has sold boatloads of his single-disc best-of set to buyers wary of diving into that deep catalog without a primer to get them started. So three and a half decades into his solo career, Neil Young finally delivers his version of that most modest of albums--the pre-holiday "hits" overview. What's surprising, coming from such a proud maverick, is its conventionality. Granted, the original master mixes are a boon for fans, but otherwise, there's not much here for loyalists who quite likely already possess the original "Like a Hurricane" on a couple of albums, as well as a handful of live interpretations scanning the years. Since Young cracked the Top 10 only once (1972's "Heart of Gold"), this set is built around concert staples as "Cinnamon Girl," "Rockin' in the Free World," and "Hey, Hey, My My" rather than chart favorites. Despite Young's honorable standing as a still-vital graybeard, the disc is skewed heavily toward his early work, shortchanging some mighty productive recent years. Peripheral fans may find this set of interest, but faithful followers are better advised to investigate the DVD version, which, at least, includes videos, photos, lyrics, and Web links. --Steven Stolder
Manufacturer: Sony Legacy
Brand: Simon, Paul
Paul Simon's 1986 masterpiece, Graceland, took home that year's Album of the Year Grammy on the strength of a collection that included "The Boy In The Bubble," "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes," "You Can Call Me Al," and a title song that won the Record of the Year Grammy. The CD's bonuses include a demo version of "Homeless," an alternate version of "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes," and an early version of "All Around the World or the Myth of Fingerprints." Graceland has sold more than 14 million copies worldwide.
Manufacturer: Sony Legacy
In 1986, Graceland sold 14 million copies worldwide and garnered both the Album and Song of the Year Grammy in 1987. Simon and the members of Ladysmith Black Mambazo performed on Saturday Night Live and appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone. It generated three hit singles and it kept Paul Simon and the Graceland tour on the road for five years. Its music was heard across the globe. Today, its music and its reputation still reach generations of music enthusiasts yet so many are unaware of how pivotal that one album was during the 1980s, how it helped birth the idea of World Music and revived the career of one of America's most important songwriters. How it influenced the political progress of South Africa a country divided by institutionalized racism, causing and then transcending years of controversy. How in fact the album came to be in the first place.Graceland's 25th anniversary CD features the original album with bonus tracks including a unreleased tracks audio documentary produced in 2012 with Paul Simon discussing the writing, inspiration and recording of the song 'Graceland'.
1975 album from New Jersey's finest. Born To Run was the album that created the legend and set the stage for massive international success. Features classic Boss tracks like 'Thunder Road', 'Badlands' and, of course, 'Born To Run'. Few albums are as fueled by hope, possibility, and the lure of the open road as Born to Run, a virtual concept album about small-town Jerseyites in search of a better life via hot-rodding out on the turnpike, scoring some small-time hustle, or blowing out of town altogether, either across the river to New York City or west for parts unknown. Songs like "Jungleland," "Thunder Road," "Backstreets," and the title track are epic productions, both sonically and lyrically, borrowing from Phil Spector, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, and West Side Story. When Born to Run was released in 1975, it earned then-unknown Springsteen the rare honor of simultaneous covers on both Time and Newsweek. The attention was warranted then, and it still is now. --Daniel Durchholz
Brand: BUENA VISTA SOCIAL C
This Grammy award winning album features legendary guitarist Ry Cooder on assorted guitars with the cream of Cuban's finest musicians. Certified Platinum by the RIAA (1/00). Ry Cooder's name has helped bring attention to this session, but it's the veteran Cuban son musicians who make this album really special. Reminiscent of Ellington in its scope and sense of hushed romanticism, Buena Vista Social Club is that rare meld of quietude and intensity; while the players sound laid-back, they're putting forth very alive music, a reminder that aging doesn't mean taking to bed. Barbarito Torres's laoud solo on "El Cuarto de Tula" is both more blinding and more tasteful than any guitar showcase on any recent rock album; a quote from "Stormy Weather" and some very distinct parallels to Hawaiian styles remind us of why it's called "world music." --Rickey Wright