Buy if you like: Dusty Springfield, Lucinda Williams
Shelby Lynne is a queen of confessional songs, though she usually leaves a sense that she's holding back. Not this time. With Revelation Road, she gets more personal than ever, singing about the agony of growing up with a crazed, alcoholic father — the one she protects her younger sister (Allison Moorer) from in the achingly beautiful ballad, "I'll Hold Your Head"; the one who killed her mother, then himself, when she was 17. She addresses that trauma in the harrowing "Heaven's Only Days Down the Road" and throughout this self-made effort. Lynne's bluesy, Southern-soul vocals express still-acute suffering in "I Want to Go Back" and she screams as if literally exorcising the pain in the title song's powerful ending. But with "I Won't Leave You," she gives a gorgeous catharsis — and hope that she might heal after all. — Lynne Margolis
The Gaslight Anthem
Buy if you like: Bruce Springsteen, The Hold Steady
This superb, live-in-the-studio seven-song EP from New Jersey's finest new rock 'n roll band is made up of four covers, two remakes of its own tunes and a new song. The covers are: a bombastic take on The Who's "Baba O'Riley," a raw, but jangly version of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers' "Refugee," Pearl Jam's "State of Love and Trust" (on which singer Brian Fallon sounds eerily like Eddie Vedder), and "House of the Rising Sun," with Fallon growling, screaming and slapping new life into the old war horse. The redone originals are stripped-down, slowed-up takes on "Boxer" and "The Navesink Bank." The new track is the anthemic "Our Father's Sons," which cops a line from Cheap Trick's "Surrender," making it a perfect fit for this all-killer, no-filler, 26-minute collection. — L. Kent Wolgamott
Kitty, Daisy & Lewis
Smoking in Heaven
Buy if you like: The Squirrel Nut Zippers, Asylum Street Spankers
The Durham, N.C., siblings, a retro trio of two sisters and a brother, have returned to the scene, veering away from their previous rockabilly stylings to add all kinds of pre-war pop, from 1940s and '50s swing to lounge and even some ska — all recorded on vintage gear, which makes it sound perfect. Lasting just more than an hour, "Smoking in Heaven" might be a little too long, but it's still full of pretty cool stuff like the 7½-minute instrumental "What Quid?" that gives a nod to T. Rex, and the gentle, swinging "You'll Soon Be Here" and "You'll Be Sorry," which are still kinda rockabillyish. All in all, this is pop music from the past that doesn't sound like it's under glass or done by a bunch of preservationists, which makes for an undeniably enjoyable listen. — L. Kent Wolgamott
This show at Stargazers with the Charlie Milo Trio will be broadcast live on local…
This is awesome! Excited about the new music and adventures for his year!
Thanks so much!!!