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Saturday, August 15, 2020

Latest from Bruce Hornsby, Kathleen Edwards, Lianne La Havas, Pretenders, The Trusted

Bruce Hornsby: Bright Star Cast (f. Jamila Woods, Vernon Reid)

We're always on the lookout (listen-out?) for music that breaks out of genre lanes, and Hornsby's recent works do just that, blending flavors of jazz, pop, Americana, electronica - and in this case, R&B. On this track from the new LP Non-Secure Connection, he's joined by Chicago-based singer-poet-activist Jamila Woods. The song was inspired in part by the James Weldon Johnson poem "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing," and more broadly by the current reawakening of the civil-rights movement. Hornsby notes it's "the seventh song of my career that deals with the issue of race in America, a deep, seemingly intractable problem that never seems to be solved in any satisfactory way—until, hopefully, now.” The track also features Living Colour's Vernon Reid on guitar.

Kathleen Edwards: Hard On Everyone

Returning to music after taking a break and opening a coffee shop, this Ottawa-based singer-songwriter has just released her first album in eight years, Total Freedom. We've previously featured the single "Options Open" and will be adding more tracks to our mix. The theme of taking control of your life runs through many of the songs, including this one about breaking away from a difficult person: "You're so hard on me / Why would I let you be?" The guitars and simple, repetitive percussion are reminiscent of the War On Drugs' "Under the Pressure" at a quicker pace.

Lianne La Havas: Can't Fight

We're late in picking up this swinging, soulful song from the new self-titled album by the U.K. singer-songwriter. It's her third release, coming about five years after her Grammy-nominated Blood. "Can’t Fight’ is that feeling of you know it’s not good, but you can’t not do it,” La Havas says of this track. “People say if you’re having a hard time in a relationship, just leave. It’s so easy to say, but it’s so much more complicated than that. Because there’s two of you, and neither of you are perfect.” Mixes well with: Sade, Norah Jones, Lake Street Dive, Jessie Ware. 

Pretenders: Didn't Want to Be This Lonely

Chrissie Hynde and her touring band go old-school rock 'n' roll on this quick three-minute track. Co-written like the rest of the album with lead guitarist James Walbourne, it features Bo Diddly-style licks and sounds like it should be coming over an AM car radio in 1963. AllMusic says of the new LP: "Much of the liveliness of Hate for Sale is due to [producer Stephen] Street capturing the Pretenders as a straight-up rock & roll band, adding a little flair to the mix but being sure there's enough color and groove so it's not monochromatic. It helps that the songs are good, too."

The Trusted: The Innocent

This emerging indie-rock band hails from the English coastal-resort town of Southend-on-Sea. "Jangly guitars, upbeat drums and rich vocals emit a potent and feel-good sound," writes Total Entertainment. The song evokes the dreams and innocence of youth - which can't have been very long ago for these guys. Band member Tom Cunningham says: “I don’t think we are aiming for a certain kind of ‘sound.’ For us, if it sounds and feels good, we follow it. Popular music culture is so layered, it’s really hard to stay in the same lane. With ‘The Innocent,’ we were kind of going for that cinematic indie thing.”

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