American Aquarium, Lucinda Williams & Brendan Benson
Brendan Benson - Dear Life - Third Man Records
Third Man Records is proud to release the first new LP in almost seven years from Brendan Benson. Benson’s seventh solo album and first full-length release via Third Man, Dear Life is heralded by the rhapsodic first single, “Good To Be Alive.” “’Good To Be Alive’ is kind of weird, to be honest,” Benson says, “But that’s what I’m most excited about. It says a lot about this record, it’s almost got a split personality or something. It’s totally bizarre – I still sit back and listen to it, thinking, that’s so cool! It’s like somebody else played it, it’s not the same old me.” Benson finds himself in an enviable spot as he enters the third decade of a remarkably creative, consistently idiosyncratic career – an accomplished frontman, musician, songwriter, producer, band member, husband, and dad. DEAR LIFE marks this consummate polymath’s most inventive and upbeat work thus far, an 11-track song cycle about life, love, family, fatherhood, and the pure joy of making music. Produced and almost entirely performed by Benson at his own Readymade Studio in Nashville, the album sees the Michigan-born, Nashville-based artist – and co-founder, with Jack White, of The Raconteurs – reveling in a more modernist approach than ever before, fueled by a heady brew of cannabis, hip-hop, and a newly discovered interest in software drum programming. The result is an untapped playfulness that elevates expertly crafted songs like the future funk-fueled opener, “I Can If You Want Me To,” and the ecstatic “Richest Man Alive” with voluble arrangements, elastic grooves, and incandescent power. Imbued with revitalized ambition and confidence, DEAR LIFE is Brendan Benson at his very best. “There's something about this record,” Benson says. “A friend of mine called it ‘life-affirming.’ I thought it was a joke at first but then realized, well, it’s about life and death for sure. I don’t know if that’s positive or optimistic or whatever, but that's what's going on with me.”
Lucinda Williams - Good Souls Better Angels - Lucinda Williams
Three-time Grammy Award winner Lucinda Williams unabashedly takes on some of the human, social and political issues of our day with her boldest and most direct album to date, Good Souls Better Angels. During the course of her celebrated four-decade, pioneering career Williams has never rested on her laurels as she continues to push herself as a songwriter. On Good Souls Better Angels, she has much she needs to get out. On Good Souls Better Angels, Williams changes course and chooses to forgo the personal and narrative-based songcraft that has become synonymous with her name and instead speaks to some of the injustices permeating our society. Williams recorded Good Souls Better Angels backed by her remarkable, long time band, featuring Butch Norton (drums), Stuart Mathis (guitar) and David Sutton (bass). The rock-solid unit propels the music with both fire and finesse. Good Souls Better Angels marks the first time Williams' husband/manager Tom Overby is credited as a co-writer on many of the new songs. The album was co-produced by Williams, Overby and Ray Kennedy, who last worked with Williams on her 1998 landmark album Car Wheels On A Gravel Road.
American Aquarium - Lamentations - New West Records
Lamentations is a 10-song rumination on the current state of the world around me. I was raised in the faith and the book of Lamentations was always one that caught my attention. A broken man crying out to the heavens, asking why God sat back and let his country fall apart. Questioning the sheer existence of a higher power in the lowest of times. How could an all loving God sit back and let an entire nation’s cry for help go unanswered? I saw many parallels in that story and the current climate of this country in 2020. There are a large group of people who were promised something in 2016. They are still waiting for those promises to be fulfilled. This is a record about the things that break people. Religion, politics, addiction, love, money, family, history. I believe it is an empathetic look at the other side. A group of stories about losing everything and still finding the will to stand back up and fight for the things that matter the most. - BJ Barham, American Aquarium