With the glut of new music being released each week, it’s easy for albums to arrive and then drop off the radar quickly. Below are five albums released in the last year or so that slipped out of the spotlight way too fast, solid discs that deserve a second look (and repeated listens).
Keith Richards – Crosseyed Heart
Comedian Bill Hicks is famously quoted as saying: “I picture nuclear war and two things surviving: Keith [Richards] and cockroaches!” If Richards’ first solo album in 23 years is any indication, the Rolling Stone’s guitarist and rock and roll legend will be making music for years to come. Crosseyed Heart finds Richards in fine form both vocally and musically. The old-school blues of the title track, the Stonesy “Trouble” and jangly cover of American Folk Standard “Goodnight Irene” are three aces in a stacked deck.
Steve Earle – Terraplane
He’s been a New Country outlaw (Guitar Town), a rocker (Copperhead Road), an Americana kingpin (I Feel Alright), a Bluegrasser (The Mountain), so it comes as no surprise that Steve Earle decided to release a hardcore blues album. Earle doesn’t simply offer a facsimile of the blues with Terraplane, the singer-songwriter gets down in the dirt, borrowing from the likes of Lightning Hopkins and Mississippi John Hurt for a roots-soaked collection that could have been released 70 years ago. Disc highlights include “Go Go Boots Are Back” and “King Of The Blues.”
Eric Church – Mr. Misunderstood
Eric Church surprised his fans with a ten song album that wasn’t announced until the day it dropped. The edgy Mr. Misunderstood is equal parts rock, blues and country. Songs like “Mistress Named Music” and “Kill A Word” stand among the best Church has written to date. The emotionally charged “Mixed Drinks About Feelings,” featuring a powerful vocal from blues queen Susan Tedeschi, is one of the disc’s many standout tracks.
Elle King – Love Stuff
Thanks to the addictive “Ex’s & Oh’s,” Elle King had a breakout year in 2015. Anyone who thinks the tattooed singer-songwriter is a one hit wonder, though, needs to get off the couch and down to the nearest music store to pick up a copy of Love Stuff. The album overflows with soulful singing and crafted songwriting. King burns from the inside out on tracks like the thumping “Where The Devil Don’t Go” and the searing “America’s Sweetheart.”
Adele – 25
You won’t find many Pop CDs (yep, CDs, downloads, for the most part, suck) in this writer’s music library, but Elle King’s Love Stuff and Adele’s 25 are no-brainers. Like King’s Love Stuff, the songwriting on 25 is rife with raw emotion, infectious melodies and a sweet but never saccharine production. The tearstained “All I Ask” has to be of the saddest breakup songs every written (try listening to the track without getting a little misty-eyed). From the hollow ache of “Hello” to the set closing “Sweetest Devotion,” 25 hits likes Floyd Mayweather, Jr.