Best of What’s New

A selection of newly released music that caught my attention

This latest installment of the recurring new music feature must acknowledge two albums that dropped today by two of the most influential music artists of our time: Bob Dylan and Neil Young. I already covered Young’s record in my previous post, so I’m skipping him here. There is also a new band of veteran session musicians who recently released their first single in the U.S., a great rock tune by an Australian band and a song from a German blues singer-songwriter and guitarist.

Bob Dylan/Goodbye Jimmy Reed

Goodbye Jimmy Reed is a tune from Rough and Rowdy Ways, the new and widely anticipated album by Bob Dylan. It’s his 39th studio record and the first with original material since Tempest from September 2012. In-between, the great music poet put out three cover albums with standards from the American Songbook. I was going to add all that’s missing is a Christmas collection when I just noticed Dylan already checked off that box in October 2009 with Christmas in the Heart. If you’re frequent visitor of the blog, you probably know my sentiments about Dylan range from outstanding to less than brilliant and everything in-between. Regardless, there’s no doubt Dylan is one of the most important singer-songwriters of our time. I also give him huge credit that age 79 instead of releasing yet another cover album, he dropped a collection with brand new songs. Goodbye Jimmy Reed is a tribute to the American electric blues guitarist who influenced Elvis Presley, Hank Williams Jr., The Rolling Stones and many other artists who I have no doubt include Dylan.

The Immediate Family/Cruel Twist

The Immediate Family is what you could call a super group featuring five veteran session musicians: Danny Kortchmar (guitar), Waddy Wachtel (guitar), Leland Sklar (bass), Russ Kunkel (drums) and Steve Postell (guitar). Between them, they have worked individually and together with artists like Jackson Browne, Carole King, Neil Young, Linda Ronstadt, Stevie Nicks, Keith Richards, James Taylor, Bob Dylan, Joe Walsh – and the list goes on and on. It’s yet another illustration that great musicians like to play with great musicians. But throwing together a group of top-notch musicians doesn’t automatically guarantee the outcome is as great as their skills. In this case I have to say I really like what I’m hearing! Cruel Twist is the group’s first U.S. single released on June 12. As reported by Rolling Stone, an EP is planned for October, followed by a full-length album next year.

Datura4/Give

According to their website, Datura4 are a Western Australian band combining full-tilt boogie, heavy psychedelia, blues and classic rock’n’roll for a sound heavy on riffage and mind-bending wig-outs – okey dokey. Founded in 2009, the band includes Dom Mariani (guitar), Bob Patient (keyboards), Stu Loasby (bass) and Warren “Wazza” Hall (drums). They released their debut album Demon Blues in 2015, followed by sophomore Hairy Mountain in 2016. Give is a great rocker from Datura4’s most recent album West Coast Highway Cosmic, which appeared on April 17. I dig the harmony guitar playing and the keyboard work. These guys are cooking – check it out!

Michael van Merwyk/We’re Human

Michael van Merwyk is a blues singer-songwriter and guitarist from Germany. According to this biography, he has become famous as one of only a few lap steel guitar players in the blues business. Michael performs and entertains fans at large festivals and also smaller clubs throughout Europe, either together in an acoustic duo with a blues harp player and singer Gerd Gorge as Delta Boys or his own band called Bluesoul. The (German) website of Bluesoul also notes van Merwyk started playing guitar at the age of 15 and has been an active musician for almost 35 years. I had never heard of him before. We’re Human is from what appears to be his most recent CD The Bear released on May 8. According to Discogs, the CD was recorded live in studio in December 2019 and January 2020.

Sources: Wikipedia; Rolling Stone; Last.fm; Bluesoul; YouTube

17 thoughts on “Best of What’s New”

  1. Datura4 I love it. I love the sound, song, and that artwork…I WILL look at more of their music.

    Dylan- You know how I feel about that one.

    Immediate Family… I’ve always liked Waddy Wachtel’s guitar playing. Sounds really good and they are loaded with talent man….

    Michael van Merwyk – Excellent guitar tone. Really tight sound he has…

    Out of all of them…Dylan is a no brainer but Datura4 knocked me out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had a feeling you might latch on to Datura4.😀 My reaction was similar when I heard that tune.

      I just listened to the entire album, “West Coast Highway Cosmic” – wow, it’s pretty cool. I like their sound, man!

      Immediate Family is also right up my alley, and I definitely look forward to hearing more from these guys – good old-fashioned blues rock by masters of their craft!

      As for Michael, I agree his sound is cool. Plus, frankly, while there is a German label called Ruf Records that has a nice roster of contemporary blues artists, I believe they are all English or American. Michael is the first German blues artist I’ve come across. That in and of itself sufficiently intrigued me to include him.

      Last but not least the uber-artist Robert Zimmermann. I think I may let that one simmer for a while. Based on what I’ve seen, the album is mostly getting very favorable reviews.

      Admittedly, “Murder Most Foul” isn’t my thing, but there are definitely other tunes I like much better including this one. I also think Dylan’s voice sounds better than what I’ve heard on other occasions over more recent years.

      Plus, the man recently turned 79 years old. I give him a lot of credit to come out with an album of brand new songs! Doing another collection with American pop standards or frankly not doing anything at all would have been easier!

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      1. With the Young and Dylan albums…it is a bit of sensory overload right now. A lot of music to take in. I’m getting the Young first and then moving to the Dylan. The biggest reason is I’m so excited over the tracks that have sat there for years. It’s like a time portal.

        Dylan never ceases to surprise me. He will do what is not expected of him.

        It’s funny I knew I would like Datura4 as soon as I saw their artwork. The feel of what they have is great.

        Immediate Family…what you said is true. Just because you throw a bunch of great musicians together that doesn’t mean they will click. This sounds really good so they didn’t have that problem. I’ve always liked the thought of pooling talent like the Wilburys. When done right it’s great.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. We’re 100 percent aligned, Max. I’m starting to wonder whether we’re somehow distantly related!😀

        I’m currently listening to Dylan. It’s down to “Murder Most Fowl”.

        There’s a lot to take in on that album. With each additional spin, I seem to like it better.

        Of course trying to figure the meaning of Dylan’s lyrics and whether some are autobiographical is nearly impossible.

        Sometimes I’m wondering, ‘What if Dylan simply makes up all his deep-sounding words?’ And then sitting back laughing to himself while watching all the music critics scramble to come up with anything intelligent to say.

        Wouldn’t that be brilliant?😀

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Brothers in music Christian.
        I do think he laughs when people try to figure out the puzzle…and sometimes the puzzle is not there. It is brilliant by him…keeps us guessing and keeps him relevant.

        He did say that I Contain Multitudes is about him. He usually doesn’t say much at all about his songs…which keeps his mystique going.

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      4. Brothers in music – I like it, Max! 🙂

        And as for Dylan, who knows.

        Since admittedly I’m more of a casual listener when it comes to the maestro, it’s safe to assume I’m not very well equipped to figure it out. Frankly, I don’t even think I really want to.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I would ruin the fun if you did. Some people out there have spent all of their lives trying to figure Dylan’s songs out.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. That is a great idea…we will just enjoy it! I more than once tried to figure out “It’s All Right Ma I’m Only Bleeding”….after a few days I just loved the word play.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Boy, he has a bunch of lines on this album that make me think if they are autobiographical, you don’t wanna mess with him – I suppose you don’t want to do that in any case. Dylan doesn’t strike me as a particularly warm-hearted type of guy!

        Liked by 1 person

      8. I knew a man that met him and chatted with him a little. Dylan asked him who his favorite artists were… He got aggravated when the guy said you, John Prine etc…Dylan shot back No No No I mean artists as in painters…
        He said after that Dylan was fine and he enjoyed it but..he said Bob was just on a different thought process than most people….the guy I knew passes away but he was a huge Dylan fan…he did say Dylan was really nice to him as a fan.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Wow, that’s a fascinating story!

        I think it’s fair to say Dylan is known for being “socially awkward.” In fact, I do seem to recall reading somewhere that he has a form of high-functioning autism they used to call Asperger’s syndrome. Obviously, I can’t confirm that.

        Dylan certainly wouldn’t be the only brilliant mind with the condition. Aspis can think in amazing ways!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I skipped the Dylan, figuring I’ll catch up on that on your other post. I like everything here. I know all those guys in Immediate except for Postell. I guess it’s no surprise for them to pull together a blues. Easier if you’re isolated vs. something more complex. The Datura4 song is pretty commercial and is hook-y enough to be a hit if they went for it. Van Merwyk sounds good too, laid back. I’m disappointed you never heard of him. You are our German connection and must know everything. 🙂 Robert Randolph is another lap steel blues player who I’ve seen open for the Allmans.

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