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* Eric Lindell, West County Drifter

This 2-disc collection pairs a couple albums released independently by soulful New Orleans songwriter Lindell over the past two years.  Like Paul Thorn or Greg Trooper, Lindell transcends his genre as a seemingly effortless singer and guitarist.  With special guests Delbert McClinton, Peter Joseph Burtt and Ivan Neville, this generous collection ranges between upbeat Louisiana faire to roots rock and horn-driven soul.

Produced by: Eric Lindell
Label: MC Records
File Under: Americana



* John Doe, Keeper

The former X-man’s eighth solo album is one of the year’s stronger albums, and proves Doe is deserving of a place with Dave Alvin among California’s americana royalty.  While Doe’s singing voice is the same lonely, low tenor, he set forth on his new collection to write, “a love song where people actually get loved.”  Doe is joined here by Steve Berlin, Don Was, Patty Griffin and more.  Recommended.

Produced by: Dave Way
Label: Yep Roc
File Under: Americana



* Micky & the Motorcars, Raise My Glass

Best known as the home of the other two Braun brothers, Micky and Gary (Willy and Cody head up Reckless Kelly).  Given the relation, it’s no surprise that Micky & the Motorcars readily bring to mind their brothers’ roadhouse, their vocals are remarkably similar.  While Reckless K tend towards more pop-inflected sounds, Micky & Co remain in the bar, with roots rockers and songs with a bit more of an edge to them.

Produced by: Bukka Allen and Brian Standefer
Label: Smith Entertainment
File Under: Americana



* Hugh Laurie, Let Them Talk

It’s almost a shame that Hugh Laurie is best known as Dr House since, as this release testifies, he is a very good pianist and an effective singer.  Produced by Joe Henry, it’s probably no surprise that Mr Laurie sounds a bit like his producer.  He also has an amazing backing band, featuring Greg Leisz, Jay Bellerose and Irma Thomas.  Most of the music is New Orleans-based, with a nice groove and very good arrangements.  While he will doubtlessly earn attention for his past, Laurie deserves praise foremost as a musician and singer.

Produced by: Joe Henry
Label: Warner
File Under: Rock