Welcome to this week's Release Round-Up!
U2, Songs of Surrender (Interscope)
4CD (40 tracks): Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
4LP (40 tracks): Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
Deluxe CD (20 tracks): Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
CD (16 tracks): Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
2LP (16 tracks): Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
U2 is revisiting its discography on the new project Songs of Surrender. The album takes its name from the speaking tour undertaken last year by frontman Bono, tied to his memoirs. While writing those, he - along with guitarist The Edge, bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen, Jr. - went back into the studio to rearrange, re-record and reinvent 40 songs spanning nearly all of the band's albums and then some. The results, from early teases, promise to be stripped back as well as, in some cases, involving lyrics "finished" by Bono. "A few songs...I've always felt were never quite written," he wrote in Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story. "They are now. (I think.)" The Edge serves as producer and curator of the sessions, having built "sketch recordings" to review with producer Bob Ezrin. The album is available in a variety of formats and colors on CD, vinyl (including exclusives at Amazon, indie stores, directly from Universal, and more), cassette, and digital services. Click here for the track listings and more.
Macy Gray, Stripped (7a Records)
7a Records reissues R&B diva Macy Gray's award-winning 2016 album Stripped in which the self-decribed "underground jazz singer" came to the surface with the backing of a jazz quartet. The repertoire was accessible to both Gray's existing fans and to jazz purists; she reinvented her chart-topping, Grammy-winning 1999 hit "I Try" as well as four other gems from her 1999-2014 discography. Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters" and Bob Marley's "Redemption Song" were beautifully reimagined while three new songs including the languid "Annabelle" premiered on Stripped. 7a's deluxe package has all of the same hallmarks as the label's Monkees releases. The CD package offers a 20-page booklet with full lyrics and new liner notes by TSD's Joe Marchese; the lavish vinyl package also includes both the lyrics and liner notes. The vinyl version is pressed onto 180-gram "cool white" vinyl. With this reissue, Stripped's soul-drenched fusion of pure jazz and adult R&B comes into its own once again. Read more here.
Leon Russell, Signature Songs (Dark Horse/BMG)
Dark Horse Records is kicking off its Leon Russell campaign with a reissue of his intimate 2001 set Signature Songs, on which Russell revisited such classics of his songbook as "A Song for You," "Tight Rope," "Delta Lady," and "This Masquerade" in piano-and-vocal arrangements. Available on CD, vinyl, and digital formats. Read more here.
Ten Years After, A Space in Time: 50th Anniversary Edition (Chrysalis)
Ten Years After's sixth album, originally released in 1971, returns in a new 2-CD deluxe edition as well as a 2-LP half-speed mastered vinyl reissue. This long-delayed 50th anniversary celebration features a new mix of the original album by original producer Chris Kimsey, sourced from the 2-inch multitrack masters, on the first CD or LP and the 1971 album mix on the second CD or LP.
Singer-songwriter Jeff Larson has teamed with producer Gerry Beckley of America for this exquisite, intimate tribute to the late Tim Hardin. Its six songs encompass such Hardin classics as "Reason to Believe," "If I Were a Carpenter," "Misty Roses," and the title track. Larson handles lead vocals and acoustic guitar while musicians including Beckley, Joachim Cooder, Brian Eichenberger, Jonathan Zwartz, Rick Braun, Jim Hoke, Austin Hoke, Kristin Weber, Nathaniel Murphy, Matt Beckley, and Matt Combs have all joined him to provide the wide-ranging instrumentation. The emotional truths at the core of Hardin's songs bubble to the surface in these reinterpretations; nowhere is Hardin's yearning more apparent than on the wistful title track on which Larson's sensitive vocal is supported by Braun's reassuring trumpet. "If I Were a Carpenter," most famous in Bobby Darin's rendition, gains an earthiness in the inventive, near-Appalachian arrangement while "Misty Roses" is heard anew as beguilingly flecked with bossa nova. Larson picks up the tempo on a persuasive "Don't Make Promises" and hauntingly delivers "How Can We Hang on to a Dream" with grace and a baroque flair (accompanied by stately strings). It'll Never Happen Again pays homage to Hardin's timeless and personal songs with elegance. It's a subtle, deeply felt tribute from one veteran singer-songwriter to another.
Into the Woods: The New Broadway Cast Recording (Concord Theatricals/Craft Recordings)
The Grammy Award-winning cast recording of the much-lauded revival of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Broadway musical comes to vinyl today with Jonathan Tunick's original orchestrations and a star-studded cast including Sara Bareilles (The Baker's Wife), Brian d'Arcy James (The Baker), Philippa Soo (Cinderella), Patina Miller (The Witch), Gavin Creel (The Wolf/Cinderella's Prince), Joshua Henry (Rapunzel's Prince), David Patrick Kelly (Narrator/Mysterious Man), and Kennedy Kanagawa (Milky White). A CD version is already available. This production is currently on tour with Creel, Kelly, Kanagawa, and other members of the Broadway cast. The standard release is on "apple red" vinyl while Barnes & Noble has a gold variant.