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New Music Tuesday: Jack Johnson, Watermelon Slim, Clay Aiken, Paul Weller, & U2

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Fans were shocked, disappointed, and even a little worried when it was announced the 2010 North American leg of their U2:360 tour was being postponed after frontman Bono sustained a serious back injury requiring emergency surgery.  The prognosis for the charismatic leader of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame band is good but the enormity of the tour is such that rescheduling those dates this year was a near impossibility.  To cope with the disappointment, U2 offers up a DVD shot from last year's show at the Rose Bowl.  The set is being offered in the bevy of packages that is now the industry norm and will be available on standard DVD as well as Blu-ray.

Other top flight new releases for this week include the latest from surfing Svengali Jack Johnson.  Johnson has established himself as a top-selling artist and concert draw and there is every reason to think his audience will quickly slurp up To The Sea.  I've never really understood the appeal of Johnson myself but there's no question he's a major player right now and should do big numbers.

Clay Aiken is a father and the former American Idol contestant confirmed details of his personal life that had been suspected in some trashy ways by some mean-spirited bloggers and gossip columnists.  He's now back with a new album, Tried And True.  I'm not sure what Aiken's commercial prospects are at this point in his career.  He's got a following, for sure, but I'm not sure if there is crossover appeal or if radio is going to embrace him.  Aiken has flourished over the objections of his detractors as much as anything else.  Is there still a passion for him and what he does?

The other interesting release this week is the latest from Watermelon Slim.  Slim established himself as a premier bluesman but on his last album Escape From The Chicken Coop and this week's release Ringers he is expanding beyond the blues and embracing a country and Americana-roots sound.  Ringers was again recorded in Nashville and features many of the contributors who assisted him with Coop.

Here's the rest of your New Album Releases for New Music Tuesday:

Atlanta Rhythm Sections- Anthology – Greatest & Latest
Beres Hammond- Just A Man
Betts, Dickey & Great Southern- Atlantas Burning Down / Great Southern
Bibi Tanga- Dunya
Bieber, Justin Tribute- Piano Tribute To Justin Bieber
Born Ruffians- Say It
Bow Wow- Playlist: The Very Best Of Bow Wow
Bullet For My Valentine Tribute- String Tribute To Bullet For My Valentine – Volume 2
Chase Coy- Picturesque
Cherryholmes- Cherryholmes Iv: Common Threads
Clay Aiken- Tried And True
Cloud, Tom- A New Day
Copperhead- Copperhead
Corrosion Of Conformity- Playlist: The Very Best Of Corrosion Of Conformity
Daniels, Charlie- Playlist: The Very Best Of The Charlie Daniels Band
Darey, Matt- Nocturnal 2010
Dixie Chicks- Playlist: The Very Best Of The Dixie Chicks
Elk City- House Of Tongues
Estelle Tribute- Smooth Jazz Tribute To Estelle
Firehouse- Playlist: The Very Best Of Firehouse
Fishbone- Playlist: The Very Best Of Fishbone
Forgiven Rival- This Is War
Formula, Dave- Satellite Sweetheart
Funki Porcini- On
Fursaxa- Mycorrhizae Realm
Futureheads, The- The Chaos
Garfunkel, Art- Playlist: The Very Best Of Art Garfunkel
Good Old War- Good Old War
Hammill, Peter- The Passionkirche
Hammond, Fred- Playlist: The Very Best Of Fred Hammond
Hard- Time Is Waiting For No One
Havens, Richie- Mixed Bag / Something Else Again (2-For-1)
Hawthorne Heights- Skeletons
Hooray For Earth- Momo
Hornsby, Bruce- Playlist: The Very Best Of Bruce Hornsby
Howe, Steve: Trio- Travelling
India- Unica
Infant Sorrow- Get Him To The Greek / [Explicit]
Iona And Other Artists- Songs For Luca 2
Jace Everett- Red Revelations
Jack Johnson- To The Sea
Jeff Lorber Fusion- Now Is The Time
Jones, Howard- Ordinary Heroes
Karnataka- The Gathering Light
Kelly, R.- Playlist: The Very Best Of R. Kelly
Kelly, R.- Playlist: The Very Best Of R. Kelly
Kidd Kidd- Kidd Of The Streets 2
Kokane- Gimme All Mine
Lala- Lala Land
Lamb Of God- Hourglass – Volume I – The Underground Years
Lamb Of God- Hourglass – Volume Ii – The Epic Years
Lamb Of God- Hourglass: The Cd Anthology
Land Of Kush's Egyptian Light Orchestra- Monogamy
Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam- Playlist: The Very Best Of Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam
Mas Rapido- Dumb Is King!
Mayfield, Curtis- Curtis
Moe.- Smash Hits, Volume One

Molly Hatchet- Justice
Mr. Shadow- Gangsta Classics (3X Cd Box)
Noctorum- Offer The Light
Ole Ask- Nine To Go
Ortiz, Joell- Free Agent
Outrageous Cherry- Seemingly Solid Reality
Ozric Tentacles- Erpland Cd/Dvd
Peggy Sue- Fossils And Other Phantoms
Pell, Axel Rudi- The Crest
Phillips, Anthony- Private Parts And Pieces 1 & 2
Phonomik- Soul Creeper
Pop, Iggy- California Hitchhike
Quitzow- Juice Water
Ray, Gemma- It's A Shame About Gemma Ray
Rocola Bacalao- Infierno
Roland White- I Wasn't Born To Rock 'N Roll
Rondo Brothers- The Foreign Globester
Sergio Mendes- Bom Tempo
Sergio Mendes- Bom Tempo / [Remixes]
Setting Sun- Fantasurreal
Sibun, Innes- The Box Set
Sleepy Sun- Fever
Sleigh Bells- Treats
Soundtrack- Atrevete A Soñar 2
Stick To Your Guns- The Hope Division
Taio Cruz- Rokstarr
The Melvins- The Bride Screamed Murder
Tift Merritt- See You On The Moon
Toile De Dakar Featuring Youssou N'dour- Once Upon A Time In Senegal: The Birth Of Mbalax, 1979-1981
Trae- Reasonable Drought
U2 – 360° At The Rose Bowl
Unbunny- Moon Food
Van Zandt, Townes- Legend – The Very Best Of
Various- Ding Dong Presents – Volume 1
Various- Thug/Goon
Various- Listen Up! The Official 2010 Fifa World Cup Album
Various- Playlist: The Very Best Of Gospel Praise & Worship
Various Artists- This Is Progressive Trance
Various Artists- In Search Of Sunrise 8
Various Artists- An '80S Metal Tribute To Journey
Various Artists- Guitar Masters Vol. 3 & 4: Lespaul Dedication (2Xcd)
Various Artists- Disco Fever
Various Artists- Songs For The Car
Various Artists- Totally '80S For Kids
Various Artists- Motown For Kids
Various Artists- A Song For My Father
Vs The Earth- The Initiative
Watermelon Slim- Ringers
Watson, Doc & Merle- The Best Of The ‘70S: Columbus Stockade Blues
Wdr Big Band Cologne, Mendoza, Vince- Caribbean Night
Weller, Paul- Wake Up The Nation
Wendell B- In Touch With My Southern Soul
Wes Montgomery- The Jazz Biography
Who Needs Johnny- Who Needs Johnny
Wilder, Webb- Town And Country / Acres Of Suede
Wilson, Charles- That Girl Belongs To Me
Wintersleep- New Inheritors
Withers, Bill- #Name?
Wyman, Bill: Rhythm Kings- Just For A Thrill / Live
Yardbirds, The- Roger The Engineer (Expanded Version)
Young, Steve- Solo Live / Switchblades Of Love
Yukmouth- Free At Last

About Josh Hathaway

  • Judy

    Josh,

    I hope you get to listen to Clay’s new CD “Tried & True” It is fantastic. Clay has never sounded better. These songs and the big band sound, fit him to a tee…. He is such a wonderful vocalist, great humanitarian and funny guy. He definately is refreshing in the music business.

    Hugs,
    Judy

  • Sylvia

    Clay is in his element right now. He had fun doing this album and you can tell when you listen to it. He sounds amazing and the band only makes him sound better. He still has it…

  • Shelly

    Clay Aiken has a huge fan following.There is definitely still a passion for him and what he does. This album is where Clay always should have been vocally. He’s never sounded better!

  • 11

    Looking forward to giving the U2: 360 DVD a spin. As usual, they could have done a better job with this package (only Springsteen Inc. is more clueless) but I am anticipating that the performances of ‘The Unforgettable Fire’ and ‘Ultraviolet’ will make this set worth owning.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/josh-hathaway Josh Hathaway

    I’ve so far refrained from the U2:360 as I’m a bit annoyed with the unnecessary clumsiness of its assembly. Now if Clay Aiken had sung “The Unforgettable Fire” and “Ultraviolet…”

  • Sherry

    Thanks for your respectful comments on Clay. HIs new album is terrific!

  • Liz Smith

    I think Clay may indeed have a future. His old label never really promoted him well, after the 1st flush & album. Even his new material was largely unplayed on radio. You may say it wasn’t commercial enough. But I look at how well other artists like Rod Stewart have done, doing covers(which the last album was at least half of & this one is entirely). While covers might not be exciting, a good voice doing classics never goes out of style. (His voice is the best I’ve heard it sound, on the PBS special). He has matured.

    I think doing specials & concerts is what he will be best at. The album is there for those who still want it, but far less music is sold that way than before, regardless of artist. What Clay also has, is a winning or entertaining personality & he can easily host a show or concert (between numbers). Very few male singers have such a strong (perfect pitch) voice, with this much range.

  • grace

    WAs a big fan of Clay Aiken before he decided to become a “cheesy Barry Manilow.” I will not buy this cd and it will be the first time that’s happened. Sorry – but I’m disappointed in the path that Clay has chosen. Always wish him the best of luck though.

  • andy

    I think Clay’s got a very bright future now that he’s out of the greedy, shake ‘em down for all you can get out of ‘em & throw ‘em away attitude of RCA & Clive Davis. They never had Clay’s long-term career or best interests at heart. Altho he may or may not ever sell Triple Platinum again (finally being marketed internationally as Decca has planned & RCA never did will help with that), at least now he’s in the hands of a label that looks at the big picture, not relying on the big bang of first week sales or airplay that the radio industry was never going to give him anyway. His promotion arc this time will be longer than 3 wks – what a concept! With the opportunity for many TV appearances & performances over the coming months, a tour with Ruben this summer & then a longer one in the winter, that kick-ass PBS special in June, August & beyond, a possible QVC concert, this album will have plenty of time to prove itself. So far it’s gotten very positive reviews & I’ll even guess that Clay might very well be up for serious consideration come Grammy time. There’s only 1 category in his genre, but if he’s not one of the 5 up for Best Traditional Pop album, there’s something seriously rotten in Denmark because this CD is stellar work from everyone involved. Clay’s also diversified into acting, hosting & writing, so he has many avenues to follow in entertainment.

  • http://www.mondoirlando.com Aaron McMullan

    Never mind the Clay Aikens – Legend: The Very Best of Townes Van Zandt. Pick that number up, maybe alongside the Mr Aiken record if you fancy. But it’s a rare soul could stand against the likes of If I Needed You or She Came and She Touched Me and STILL be standing by the close of the first verse. And how is that delighful Mr Taylor Hicks doin these days? I saw him a second on this year’s finale – not a note have i heard from that man’s face since he won all them centuries ago.

    And good work, Sir Josh!

    (Now where’s that Bieber piano covers record, for that’s what I’m really after…)

  • kit

    “Tried and True” is SPECTACULAR! I have high hopes that this beautiful CD will capture a market that has previously thought it was uncool to like Clay Aiken. And, yes, he still has a huge following of devoted fans. He’ll do just fine.

  • http://sayitinasong.wordpress.com/ Songbird

    I saw the U2 show at Wembley Stadium, and I have also seen the DVD…(was shown on telly here in UK) I would say the DVD footage does not do it justice. The way it is shot is very “dark and jerky” and does not really give you a feeling of the enormous, fabulous stage show.