Sugaray Rayford "In Too Deep"
A chance meeting in Memphis laid the groundwork for a unique musical partnership between soul-blues powerhouse Sugaray Rayford and producer, songwriter Eric Corne. Combining classic soul melodies with funky R & B grooves, raw blues power, and mashed up with modern sensibilities, the pair’s first collaboration, Somebody Save Me, earned Rayford a 2020 Grammy nomination while later that year he took home Blues Music Awards for ‘Soul Blues Male Artist’ and ‘B.B. King Entertainer of the Year.’
Last summer’s adventurous single “Homemade Disaster” took things further, landing on multiple retro soul and new blues playlists on Spotify, with PopMatters declaring the track “will appeal to fans of Gary Clark Jr. and Chicano Batman.”
Sugaray Rayford returns with In Too Deep. Combining classic soul melodies with funky R&B grooves, raw blues power and mashed up with modern sensibilities, the album takes on issues, such as PTSD, civil rights and social justice. With vibrantly detailed arrangements tailored to showcase Rayford’s deft portrayals and interpretations, In Too Deep is a poignant album that seeks to inspire and uplift.
Just Friends "HELLA"
“The modern musical landscape doesn’t really have a space in which to neatly deposit Just Friends. They’re an eight-piece with dual male and female vocals, bringing in a blend of funk-rock, hip-hop and pop-rock, not only with an angle that feels distinctly synonymous with the DIY scene, but also the pull to have two individual guest appearances from Lil B himself on this very album. This is not a ‘normal’ band on their face, but that’s exactly what’s so intriguing about them when the music on HELLA is this irrepressibly simple. In no way is that meant as any sort of slight either; across a wide variety of tones and instrumental angles, Just Friends have put together a true testament to a ‘less is more’ ethos, with pop hooks for days wrapped in a warmth that can only come from a band having just the best time making music.”
Carson Mchone "Still Life (Merge)"
“Still Life, Carson McHone’s third album and first release with Merge Records, quivers like a tightrope, with songs about existing within the tension of the in between and surviving beyond the breaking point. These are stories of sabotage, confusion, and surrender. The album is a testament to the effort of reaching, sometimes flailing, for understanding and for balance. Still Life invites us to gasp at our own reflection and acknowledge the unsettling beauty in this breath.
McHone wrote the songs of Still Life in quiet moments between tours in her hometown of Austin, then recorded in Ontario with Canadian musician and producer Daniel Romano. Together in a home studio McHone and Romano cut almost the entire record themselves, calling on two friends, the versatile Mark Lalama on accordion, piano, and organ, and David Nardi with some savvy saxophone, to round it out. The phrasing and tones recall John Cale, The Kinks, Richard and Linda Thompson—like-minded artists of the late ’60s and early ’70s, another era of transition and innovation.”
Basia Bulat "The Garden"
Introducing The Garden: a Strings album and a Retrospective from a room in Montreal with the windows open, and the wind moving, and the leaves changing, and a spring-coloured secret on the tip of Basia Bulat’s tongue.
The Garden gathers fourteen string arrangements by three different arrangers (Owen Pallett, Paul Frith, and Zou Zou Robidoux), revisiting material from all five of Bulat’s studio albums. There’s Pallett’s interpretation of 2010’s Heart of my Own, calling back to the Béla Bartók compositions that marked Bulat’s high-school career as an upright bassist. There’s Frith’s Infamous, which turns 2016’s prickly kiss-off into something open-facing and generous. And there’s Robidoux’s reimagining of Are You In Love? — released just last year — which here becomes a whirling ballroom dance, full of discovery.