Monday , October 23 2017

Crabb delivers strong performance on Road

Jason Crabb, “Whatever the Road” (Reunion Records)

Jason Crabb is as good as the Christian singer has ever been on his new album, “Whatever the Road.”

Crabb sings about love, faith and hoping for miracles on his fifth solo album, his first with new label home Reunion Records, a division of Provident Label Group/Sony Music. His vocals are strong and production from Jason Ingram and Paul Mabury is solid on the 10-track set.

On “Mysterious Ways,” Crabb sings about the aftermath of a car wreck and relies on wise words given by his grandfather. He is steadfast on God’s ability to deliver no matter the circumstances on “He Knows What He’s Doing.”

Those tracks are just a taste of Crabb’s masterful display on this project. Every track flows easily from one song to another. And despite despair, he sings with hope on “It’s a Good Life” and “Chance for a Miracle.”

Don Henley, “Cass County” (Capitol)

On his first solo album in 15 years, Don Henley extends the polished, soulful take on country music initially heard on the Eagles hits “Best of My Love” and “Wasted Time.” To his credit, he doesn’t attempt to out-posture, or out-rock, contemporary country artists such as Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan. Instead, he creates the kind of country music that fans of the Eagles, and of traditional country music, can embrace.

Steel guitar rates as the album’s most prominent instrument, and fiddles and mandolins surface nearly as frequently. The old-school instruments fit Henley’s songs: Stripped to an elegant simplicity, the arrangements match Henley’s attitude, which wavers between wistful and hopeful, fighting off a jaded view on such stone-country tunes as “The Cost of Living,” a duet with Merle Haggard.

Henley invites plenty of guests to “Cass Country”: Mick Jagger and Miranda Lambert take verses on the old-fashioned original “Bramble Rose”; Martina McBride proves to be a passionate duet partner on “That Old Flame”; and Dolly Parton harmonizes with heart-tugging emotion on the Louvin Brothers’ “When I Stop Dreaming.”

Generous at 16 tracks, and consistent in how he connects his world-weary originals with well-chosen covers, Henley proves that this longtime rock star – originally from small-town Texas – can go home again.

 “I Am” is Leona Lewis’ first post-Simon Cowell offering, but the aftermath of their professional split resonates throughout her fifth studio album.

“It was very hard and very nerve-racking because I didn’t know what I’d be walking into once I left Simon. I had no idea,” Lewis said. “I needed to kind of create my own path, and I went out and created the album based on … the strength that it took to walk away from different situations.”

Cowell signed the British-born singer to his label, Syco Music, after she won “The X-Factor” in 2006. In 2014, after collaborating on four albums over eight years, Lewis wrote an open letter to fans detailing her decision to leave Syco.

“I cannot make music that does not speak to my soul, and as scary as it seemed, I could no longer compromise myself, and so I decided to leave,” Lewis, 30, said in a handwritten note posted on her Twitter account.

But in a recent interview, the “Bleeding Love” singer insisted there’s no bad blood.

“Simon has been so amazing and instrumental in my career, but it was just time for me to move on and time for me to do something different, and I wanted to seek out a different label that had kind of a different energy,” she said.

Lewis, who’s signed with Universal’s Island Records, said she’s in a better place emotionally and aims to inspire with “I Am.”

She sings about the courage to come back after being held down in the song “Thunder” and feeling stronger and freer on her own in the album’s title track.

“I definitely have learned a lot about my own strength and how much I can take. I can take things into my own hands and take control of situations that maybe I wouldn’t have before. So I wrote a lot about that,” she said.

Chart-topping boy band One Direction (1D) have revealed the name and artwork for their fifth album, to be called “Made in the A.M.”

One Direction have also released a track from the album, “Infinity”, for anybody who pre-orders the album, to be released on Nov 13, or streams it through online retailers.

The announcement came on Tuesday ahead of the band’s concert at Camden’s Roundhouse Theatre in London, where they were performing as part of the Apple Music Festival.

Dozens of excited fans lined up outside the venue hours before the show started to see band members Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson in person.

“We’re gonna be quite close so, I’ve never been that close to them so I don’t know how I’ll react. I’ll probably cry,” one female fan said.

“Knowing Harry Styles will be there makes me want to get up every day,” another said.

The intimate gig may be one of the band’s last for a while since they said that they would be taking a break in March 2016.

The foursome were a five piece until Zayn Malik quit in March earlier this year.

Julio Iglesias announced on his 72nd birthday on Wednesday that “Mexico” will be his last studio album, but the iconic Spanish crooner insisted he would keep singing “until I’m 150.”

Presenting the album in Mexico City, Iglesias said that recording music in a studio is “complicated” and takes too much time.

“It is the last album I will record in a studio in my life,” Iglesias said at a news conference after he was serenaded with a birthday song by a mariachi band.

“My retirement from the studio is merely because I don’t have a year and a half to spend in a studio, as the albums I do are long,” he said as he presented “Mexico,” which features 12 songs of Mexican flavor.

But Iglesias, whose son Enrique has enjoyed his own successful career, said he was not ready to give up the stage.

“I will not retire until I am forced out by life or the people,” he said. “I want to sing until I’m 150 years old.”

Famous for his romantic ballads and love life that has garnered tabloid headlines, Iglesias is one of the biggest stars of Latin music, with 300 million albums sold in his decades-long career.

Iglesias successfully underwent a minor back surgery in June for an injury he suffered 52 years ago.

Bob Dylan experienced a flurry of creative energy from 1965-66, producing three acclaimed albums, and the rock legend is now sharing outtakes that trace his evolution.

Dylan on Thursday announced the latest installment of his back catalog, which will cover the period in which he released “Bringing It All Back Home,” “Highway 61 Revisited” and “Blonde on Blonde,” a trilogy of albums all considered rock classics.

The six-CD box-set, entitled “The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series Volume 12,” will come out on Nov 6.

The release coincides with the 50th anniversaries of the albums as well as Dylan’s revolutionary 1965 performance at the Newport Folk Festival Newport where the acoustic-guitar icon went electric.

Holy musical matrimony? Pope Francis and UK pop group The Vamps are releasing albums of the same name on the same day.

Pope Francis announced that he will release “Wake Up!” on Nov 27, the same day the Vamps will drop their sophomore album called “Wake Up.”

“It’s ridiculous really, like it’s ridiculously cool. I didn’t even know the pope was releasing anything, but for it to be released at the same time and with the same sort of name, it’s amazing,” Vamps guitarist James McVey said in an interview with The Associated Press on Friday. “We’re very excited and kind of honored to be releasing an album at the same time as the pope with a similar title. That’s awesome.”

McVey, 21, added that “it would be amazing to do a gig together” with Pope Francis at the Vatican.

“Could you imagine?” he said.

The Vatican-approved album will include the religious leader’s speeches in various languages, including English, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. The sound ranges from pop to rock to Latin. The album will include 11 tracks. (Agencies)

By Jonathan Landrum Jr

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