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Saturday, September 22, 2018

New releases from Mark Knopfler, Mumford & Sons, Amy Helm, The Sea The Sea, Metric

Photo: Derek Hudson
It's good to hear that guitar great Mark Knopfler has a new album in the works. Down the Road Wherever, his ninth solo studio collection, is due out November 16. It was recorded in his London studio with a band that includes Dire Straits keyboardist Guy Fletcher and musicians Knopfler has worked with in recent years. The first single, "Good On You Son," has the familiar, mellow Knopfler sound and sly lyrics.

Photo: Alistair Taylor Young

Also slated for November 16 release is Delta, the fourth album from Mumford & Sons. Love song "Guiding Light" is the preview single. Consequence of Sound describes it well, saying it "bridge(s) the electrification of their last album with the acoustic folk of their breakthrough earlier releases. There’s certainly still a plugged-in pulse, but - do our ears deceive? - is that a banjo back in the mix or just a particularly plucked guitar?"

We've previously featured singles from Amy Helm's second studio album, This Too Shall Light, and now we have the full LP. Recorded in just four days to create a spontaneous feel, the record is classic Americana, with strands of folk-rock, country and gospel tied together with Helm's terrific, emotive voice. The gospel sound dominates here, and most of the songs (all covers) are down-tempo, with lyrics that range from mournful to inspirational. The most upbeat song is our new featured track: "The Stones I Throw," a Robbie Robertson song that Leon Helm, Amy's father, sang with The Hawks before The Band was formed.

We're also dipping back into the recent release by The Sea The Sea (who happen to hail from Troy, New York, about an hour north of Amy Helm's hometown of Woodstock). From the Light is their first album since the duo of Chuck and Mira Costa added Cara May Gorman and Stephen Struss to the band. Atwood Magazine calls it "an earthy and celestial folk- rock record rooted in lush melody and intimate emotion." We're now featuring the title track, with a lyric about human imperfection: "We go / from the light to the dark / to the light to the dark again / We are right we are wrong / we are right we are wrong again."

Now we veer off in another musical direction - because that's what we do. Toronto-based Metric has just released its seventh album, Art of Doubt. AllMusic writes: "Emily Haines' powerful voice and evocative lyrics, their rock-solid rhythm section, and their ability to craft immediately hooky modern rock - these things are out in full force" on this release. Our pick for the New Music bin is a good example of Metric's blend of guitar-rock and synth-pop, "Now Or Never Now."

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