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Saturday, February 12, 2022

New music: Eddie Vedder, Seratones, Amos Lee, The Gravel Project, The Rural Alberta Advantage

Eddie Vedder: Invincible

To be honest, we were never big fans of the grim, self-pitying songs of early Pearl Jam. But whether he has exorcised his demons or just pushed them into the basement, Eddie Vedder seems to have moved past them. His new solo album, Earthling, leads off with this uplifting song. "We are invincible when we love," Vedder sings, shedding all vestiges of grunge on a track that has brought comparisons to Peter Gabriel and U2. We previously featured the Petty-esque "Long Way," and will be spinning several others, including a McCartney-ish number called "Mrs. Mills" with Ringo Starr guesting on drums, and "Try," which features Stevie Wonder and his harmonica. (But we'll pass on the sappy duet with Elton John.) 

Seratones: Good Day

Photo by Joshua Asante
Singer A.J. Haynes and her band from Shreveport, Louisiana, have announced their third album, Love & Algorhythms, due in April 29. “This is a protest album built on the form of protest I’m most interested in at this moment: getting present and sitting through difficult things with abundant joy,” says Haynes. On this lead single, she sings: “Do you really want to get better?/ Do you really want to get well?” The press release describes the track as blending "Black gospel vocals and polyrhythms with roots spread throughout the African diaspora."

Amos Lee: See the Light

This is the second single (following "Worry No More") to spin out from Dreamland, the Philadelphia-born singer-songwriter's new LP. Many of the songs deal with Lee's struggles with feelings of alienation and anxiety. Roots-music website No Depression describes the album as "an expansive sonic canvas that paints with gospel choirs and acoustic guitars, synth textures and hypnotic R&B grooves." It calls this track "a buoyant moment that speaks to the power of community in Lee’s ability to rise above the tension described elsewhere" on the record.

The Rural Alberta Advantage: CANDU

This single is the first release in about five years from the trio of Nils Edenloff, Amy Cole and Paul Banwatt. The title refers to a type of nuclear-power reactor, and the song is about the once-booming, now abandoned town of Uranium City, Saskatchewan. Edenloff explains that the mines closed abruptly in the early 1980, "leaving most families stranded without work. ... Growing up in a mining town myself, it's hard not to think about who or what would have remained for me if the jobs all suddenly dried up, and where my friends and I would have ended up." Adds Banwatt: “My Dad spent decades working as an engineer helping design the CANDU nuclear reactors. What happened to the people in Uranium City is really tragic.”

The Gravel Project: Big Deep Blue

The third studio album from this Massachusetts-based group is the first to find its way to our ears, and we're glad it did. The band is named not for country roads but for the brothers Gravel - Andrew (guitar, vocals), who started the project in 2010, and Jordan (keyboards), who joined in 2015. They cite as influences the likes of The Allman Brothers, Eric Clapton, Santana, Band of Gypsies, Tedeschi Trucks Band and Gary Clark Jr. Funky guitar licks and horns flavor this rollicking track and propelled it into our New Music bin.

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