Jimmy Barnes new album My Criminal Record is a triumphant return to form for the 63-year-old veteran. It contains a collection of blues-based rock songs that looks back at his long troubled life. With some of his most personal lyrics to date, Barnesy immediately sets the tone on the title track. He sings: “Well I came from a broken home/ My mamma had a broken heart/ And even though she tried to fight it/ It was broken from the start.” And if that is not enough of an indicator of his mindset, he bares more of his soul on Stolen Car, where he sings “My life is like a stolen car, out of control/I’ve got no destination, I lost my soul.” He continues on in this vain for much of the album but its not all dark and dreary. There are some nice moments too, especially on If Time Is On My Side. As a bonus we also get two amazing covers, the first of which arrives midway through the album, John Lennon’s Working Class Hero and Bruce Springsteen’s Tougher Than The Rest, which concludes the album; a song Barnesy dedicates to Jane, his wife of 38 years.
Under the guise of an otherworldy R&B soundtrack and her soulful voice, New York-based Indian American singer Raveena takes the listener on a journey to hell and back (so to speak) on her conceptual based debut album Lucid. It’s an album that peels back the layers of Raveena’s pain and the heartache she bottled up as a teenager, before eventually changing tact giving rise to the power of love and self acceptance and its healing power. That amazing arc of pain and healing is no better felt by the time we reach the song Mama. It’s further dealt with in Floating and the album’s final track Petal.
Only a select few can truly boast a career in blues rock as influential as Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Today, I was thrilled to sit through my first listen of The Traveler, Shepherd’s ninth studio album. True to form Shepherd delivers again exploring his incredible love and fascination with rock and blues music. I often wonder whether Shepherd plays his Fender Strat in his sleep because how he manages to keep coming up with brilliant new riffs is beyond me. Along for the journey again on this new album is his trusty band. Noah Hunt sounds better than ever on lead vocals but its nice to see Shepherd continuing to take more of an active role in vocal duties, especially on I Want You and Gravity.
Australia’s knack of producing amazing female musicians continues to gather speed with Tamworth native Charlie Collins and the release of her debut album Snowpine. I first heard of Collins last year when her debut single Wish You Were Here made a real splash on youth radio Triple J. Since then I’ve spent some time discovering the person behind that amazing debut single. Of interest, I found out that her love of singing country songs with her dad, also led to her really taking an interest in understanding the inspiration and meaning behind the songs and lyrics she was singing. From it sprung a desire to write her own songs, and to tell her own stories of personal upheaval, love and other life experiences, to ultimately make her debut solo album Snowpine. In short, from the twang of country guitars on Unwell to the gorgeous sounds of acoustic bliss on Run Dry, Collins blurs the lines of alt-counrty and indie rock to create one hell of an album. Standouts include Mexico, Beautifully Blind and Please Let Me Go. Honestly, if this isn’t on your radar this week, it should be! It’s my album of the week.