DC March 5 New Release Recap

If you can't find something in this week's list of new releases to tickle your fancy, all we can say is you haven't really taken a good look. For starters, we've got the latest from jazz/folk chanteuse Madeleine Peyroux and her tribute (in a way) to Ray Charles' "country" songbook, the fine major label debut from orchestral/Americana outfit The Last Bison and two fine new albums from Nashville singer/songwriters Ashley Monroe and Caitlin Rose -- each is well worth your time. We've also got the exquisite Lines We Trace from Seattle art-poppers Hey Marseilles along with the surprisingly clear-eyed look a divorce and its aftermath from someone who just happened to go through the endeavor: Josh Ritter. And lastly we present the wonderful sophomore album from the slightly left-of-center N.Y. songwriter and instrumentalist Christina Courtin and the new project from Carolina songstress Shannon Whitworth. Also out this week: Boz Scaggs' collection of Memphis-influenced covers, Trent Reznor's How to Destroy Angels, the Jimi Hendrix archives dig People, Hell and Angels, Olof Arnalds' Sudden Elevation and new music from Stereophonics, Son Volt, Poco, The Howling Brothers and Canada's Wildlife. Take a look at our features below with links to listen to music as well as the full DC list of releases below...

When Jack White wanted a backup singer for The Raconteurs, he called on Ashley Monroe. When Pat Monahan and Train needed a Nashville voice to duet on their latest single "Bruises" they called on Ashley Monroe. An in-demand songwriter blessed with a classic country voice, the 26-year-old singer has been slowly, quietly making a name for herself with her own recordings, a side project with fellow songwriter (and Ten Out Of Tenn alum) Trent Dabbs and a more recent collaboration with friends Miranda Lambert and Angeleena Presley in the Pistol Annies. Now Monroe steps front and center with a new album Like A Rose arriving this week via Warner Nashville...more DC

Acclaimed pop, folk and jazz songstress Madeleine Peyroux interprets classics from the Ray Charles "country" songbook as well as reimagining a few of her own favorite covers on The Blue Room, her sixth studio album arriving March 19 via Decca. Produced by Peyroux studio veteran Larry Klein with lush string arrangements by Vince Mendoza, The Blue Room resurrects tracks from Charles' groundbreaking 1962 album The Modern Sounds of Country and Western Music, a 50-year-old creative hybrid of country and orchestrated jazz that stands as one of the most influential, original and successful cross-genre albums of all time...more DC

If you tried to imagine what mountain music might sound like played by a folk orchestra of fiddles, banjos, mandolins and cellos you might come up with something akin to the music of Virginia's The Last Bison. With hirsute frontman and songwriter Ben Hardesty forging the way, the Chesapeake septet is less sturm and drang and more strum and twang as they take the front porch folk into new realms of sophisticated and intricate string arrangements. "At once epic and intimate", raves The L.A. Weekly, "great outdoorsy and fireside cozy"...more DC

“I have a tendency to work small so this album is like my first attempt at a high kick,”  says Nashville-based singer/songwriter Caitlin Rose of The Stand-In (March 5, ATO), her second album and, as her comment would suggest, the 25-year-old's first shot at a large-scale studio production. Rose's 2010 debut Own Side Now certainly had its own admirers (including us) garnering an annual Top 10 listing from that little indie rag Time Magazine and Q gushing "major star alert". But it only takes a few seconds when the band kicks in on the sterling "I Was Cruel" to realize that this Stand-In is both a complete original and a massive step forward...more DC

The sweeping orchestral pop of Seattle's Hey Marseilles finds an even larger, more colorful canvas with Lines We Trace (March 5, ONTO/Thirty Tigers), a grand, often theatrical melding of folk, chamber pop and artful modern cabaret leanings. “With our first record, we were inspired by traditional folk instrumentation and arrangements, but at our core we were trying to make solid pop songs,” explains frontman Matt Bishop. “We see this album as a continuation of that goal, but we hope the arrangements reflect our maturation as musicians and songwriters"...more DC

Destined to forever be referred to as Josh Ritter's "divorce" album, The Beast In It's Tracks (March 5) finds a way to emotionally deconstruct the songwriter's split with fellow New York tunesmith Dawn Landes while discovering the personal catharsis that comes from surviving such a gut-wrenching shit storm. More often than not, Ritter's heartbreak is rendered with the cool and distant eye of forensic pathologist telling tales of the dissolution as one might describe the features of a lifeless body in an autopsy. But despite the wistful, woeful contemplation, Beast is surprisingly light on its feet and, in the end, optimistic...more DC

New York singer/songwriter Christina Courtin follows up her fine 2009 Nonesuch debut with Varsity (March 5, Hundred Pockets), a graduation of sorts from her accomplished and witty folk/pop bow to a more vividly colorful stylistic palette embracing, as she puts it, "more of the real Christina...attitude, edge, and ROCK." Producers Mick McCarthy (Spoon, Patty Griffin) and longtime musical mate Ryan Scott offer Courtin able assistance as she explores everything from the head-bobbing, chiming guitar-riffed "I Am And You Are" and punky-spunked title track to the witty, theatrical rush of "Landslide Dive" and orchestrated dirge "Join Us Jackson"...more DC

Shannon Whitworth - High Tide (March 5) - North Carolina songstress teams with Band of Horses bassist Bill Reynolds and producer Seth Kauffman for her third album since her 2007..."Americana, a la Mark Knopfler meets Norah Jones and the ghost of Julie London" says her bio and Whitworth's sultry alto combined with some atmospheric alt-country backing makes those words ring true...While her earlier works -- her 2007 debut No Expectations and '09's critically-praised Water Bound -- favored a more rustic, back porch style heavy on banjo, mandolin and acoustic guitar, High Tide adds a new dimension with a more dynamic rhythmic foundation and subtle but significant use of her Gibson SG electric...more DC

More March 5 DC Releases:

Alan Bonner - Balladeer (UK)
Beady Belle - Cricklewood Broadway (3/1 EUR)
Birds of Tokyo - March Fires (3/1 AUS)
Bloody Amateur (Andy Comer) - S/T
Bow Thayer & Perfect Trainwreck - Eden
Boz Scaggs - Memphis
Brooke Waggoner - Originator
Chelsea Light Moving (w/ Thurston Moore) - S/T
Fiction - The Big Other
Great Peacock - S/T
Helado Negro - Invisible Life
Highasakite - In & Out of Weeks
Hollis Brown - Ride On the Train
How To Destroy Angels (Trent Reznor) - Welcome to Oblivion
Jimi Hendrix - People, Hell and Angels
Joe Banfi - Nomad (EP) (UK)
John Amadon - The Bursting Sheaf
John Patrick Walker - The Guilty Party
Kate Nash - Girl Talk
Ólöf Arnalds - Sudden Elevation
Poco - All Fired Up
Rhye - Woman
Robyn Hitchcock - Love From London
Son Volt - Honky Tonk
Stereophonics - Graffiti On This Train
Superhuman Happiness - Hands
Suuns - Du Futur
Terry Allen - Bottom of the World
The Cave Singers - Naomi
The Howling Brothers - Howl
They Might Be Giants - Nanobots
Tunde Baiyewu - Diamond In A Rock
UNA - The Laughing Man
Wildlife - ...on the Heart
Young Dreams - Between Places