Weeks like this are the ones I live for when it comes to doing this column. There are a ton of compelling new releases. I didn't realize some of these were streeting this week. I feel an Amazon order coming on. I'll have the links at the end of this article. Best you go ahead and jump on a few of these as well.
American VI: Ain't No Grave
We are pretty sure this is the final chapter of Cash's collaboration with Rick Rubin. I suppose it's possible there is more. Rubin released a terrific box set of previously unissued material and has now released two posthumous volumes. Very little of what Cash and Rubin did was less than excellent and some of it stands among the best things this icon ever recorded. Rubin hasn't always been on the right side of every moment in his career but he deserves a lot for helping Cash get that great final act. I'll likely have a review of this up soon. In the meantime, would you all please read this excellent review my friend El Bicho has written?
Carolina Chocolate Drops
Genuine Negro Jig
I'm not independently familiar with Carolina Chocolate Drops but I'm hearing some buzz about them. My cursory research indicates they have some blues/roots elements in their sound and seeing how I'm — forgive the blatant self-promotion, dear readers — in the midst of an exhaustive examination of albums and artists nominated for the 2010 Blues Music Awards, that is something that has my attention. I've also found that Nonesuch is one of the few major-mini labels that has etched out an identity for itself and I've found myself enjoying some artists that might have otherwise fallen out of my standard musical ambit. This is on my "to-do" list.
This is a remastered, re-issued edition of Johnson's out-of-print debut. Metalheads and guitar geeks know and respect Johnson. Unlike some of the other players in this genre, Johnson can't be strictly pigeonholed as a "metal" guy. He's an interesting player who stays gone for years at a time and only occasionally emerges. Fans of his work will be glad this one is back in print.