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Warm up with these January music releases

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Following what appeared to be a crowded but reasonably upbeat fourth quarter in 2017, a number of artists have readied new albums for January release. Take the chill off and fire up some of these titles in rock, alternative, bluegrass and country/Americana.

Joe Satriani“What Happens Next” (Sony; Jan. 12)

Listeners of Satriani’s 2015 album “Shockwave Supernova” found the guitar great in the process of shedding his alien alter-ego and looking to find a more terrestrial manner to deliver his music. Suggesting an artistic rebirth, Satriani has recorded what he calls the most straightforward rock album of his career. With Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith and Deep Purple bassist Glenn Hughes, Satriani has come up with a sound he dubs “pure rock and soul.”

Umphrey’s McGee“It’s Not Us” (Nothing Too Fancy; January 12)

The progressive jammers turned 20 last month and celebrate by releasing an album highlighting the musicianship of each band member over 11 tracks spanning multiple genres. With elements of rock, funk and jazz, Umphrey’s shakes it up on a record full of twists and tight grooves while proving they are much more interested in breaking new ground than repeating past glories. If you’ve heard the name and were wondering about these guys, “It’s Not Us” is a good place to jump in.

Tommy Emmanuel“Accomplice Once” (CGP Sounds/Thirty Tigers; January 19)

Play guitar? You know Tommy. A professional musician since the age of six, this Australian native is a modern genius of acoustic guitar. His technique may have been informed and inspired by greats like Chet Atkins and Hank Marvin but Emmanuel remains original to the core. It’s a full house on his 33rd album; a guest-fueled affair that includes Jason Isbell, Ricky Skaggs, Mark Knopfler, Jerry Douglas and Rodney Crowell tackling tunes from Jimi Hendrix, Django Reinhardt, Otis Redding and more.

Fall Out Boy“Mania: A Fall Out Boy LP” (DCD2/Island; January 19)

Originally slated for release last September but pulled back for further recording, Fall Out Boy tweaked “Mania” after woodshedding some new tunes. Pete Wentz told Rolling Stone that the new record is aimed “at kids who are trying to figure themselves out.” Another band bent on not treading familiar ground, Fall Out Boy plans to follow the album with a more extensive tour this year.

Kristy Cox - “Ricochet” (Mountain Fever Records; January 19)

Already a superstar in her native Australia, this Nashville-based bluegrass triple threat (singer-songwriter-performer) is on track to further expand her territory in the US with album number five. The title track is an up-tempo banjo-driven, harmony-soaked song about a country gal aiming for love. The Country Music Association of Australia has been heralding Kristy for years. It’s time for America to take notice. 

Devin Dawson“Dark Horse” (Warner Bros. Nashville; January 19) 

Touring with Tim McGraw and Faith Hill last year introduced 28-year-old Dawson to scores of new fans, but in truth, his debut album has more in common with artists like Jason Isbell and Chris Stapleton. “Dark Horse” is a stunning introduction to this young singer and songwriter; its songs run the gamut from straight-up love (“Asking For a Friend”) to moody and atmospheric (“Symptoms”) to confessional (“Dark Horse”). Dawson grew up about 10 minutes outside of Folsom Prison - and yes, he likes Johnny Cash - but he also likes Marvin Gaye and AC/DC. 2018 will be Dawson’s year.

Last modified on Friday, 19 January 2018 09:52

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