Lucinda Williams is back with her first new material since 2016’s The Ghosts of Highway 20. I featured that album track-by-track on the blog, much to the consternation of some loyal readers.
Ghosts was a very meditative, delicate album, full of sad remembrances and long guitar solos. I think the Trump years have made an impact on Williams, because Good Souls, Better Angels is the opposite — loud, angry, confrontational.
Happy Mother’s Day to my wonderful mom, who I haven’t had a chance to hug in a couple of months now. I hope that changes soon.
And Happy Mother’s Day to my lovely wife, who along with our two daughters has made this extended quarantine something special. I’m going to look back on this time fondly, especially when my older daughter leaves for college (coronavirus willing) later this year and we miss the chance to see her all day every day.
Fernando Meirelles’ City of God was my #1 film of 2003 and my #4 film of the 2000s. It’s a vibrant, violent immersion into Brazil’s lawless favelas, and one of the most exhilarating films I’ve ever seen.
I haven’t watched it in full for close to a decade, I’d guess, but hearing this track from the movie’s soundtrack has me wanting to revisit it. The movie it is compared to the most is Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas, and it shares that film’s dark humor and rewatchability.
It’s never clear what exactly motivates Bob Dylan, so maybe it was coronavirus or maybe it wasn’t, but the 78-year-old legend has released two new tracks over the past month and a half, his first new original material since his 2012 album Tempest.
The first track, released in late March, was titled ‘Murder Most Foul.’ At just under 17 minutes, it is the longest track Dylan has ever released, and the first about the John Kennedy assassination, a subject that has always fascinated him. It’s extremely spare musically, a spoken-word poem set to a somber piano and strings backdrop.
Canadian singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith quietly released his 17th studio album, titled Hermitage, in mid-April. He’s not exactly an artist who pairs up an album release with multiple talk show appearances and a stadium tour, so he probably didn’t think about postponing the record due to coronavirus.
His timing turns out to be pretty good, though, because Hermitage is a very upbeat, positive, sunny record. Sexsmith often leans toward the melancholy, but he’s equally adept at spinning out feather-light tunes with sugar-sweet melodies, and he’s in that mode here.
Rufus Wainwright is another artist whose 2020 plans have been upended by the coronavirus. The April release of his new album, Unfollow the Stars, has been pushed back to mid-July and much of his tour schedule has been cancelled.
Wainwright has made the most of the situation, though, performing daily “Quarantunes” from his apartment and releasing the videos on Facebook. Each day he sits, either at the piano or with guitar in hand, always in a bathrobe, and belts out a selection from his enviable catalog.
Like Alicia Keys, The Rolling Stones have released a new song perfectly suited to our current times that was actually written well before the coronavirus pandemic.
‘Living in a Ghost Town’ was originally recorded more than a year ago, but Mick Jagger and Keith Richards took another pass at it to make it more relevant to our lives in quarantine. I assume the line “life was so beautiful, then we all got locked down” was a recent addition.