In mid-lockdown last spring, we covered artists who released finished works online without waiting for LPs and CDs to arrive. Other musicians have created works speaking to the lockdown itself. The wrong way to do this is exemplified by Van Morrison, who will release three singles in October ranting about authoritarian health care workers and COVID-19 plots.
The right way is exemplified by experimental pedal-steel guitarist Heather Leigh, who eschews dissonance in her Glory Days (Boomkat) release, in favor of soaring alto-to-mezzosprano moans accompanied by birds outside her Glasgow home. Boomkat has a Documenting Sound series of quarantine works that also includes pianist Sarah Davachi. Hoboken indie favorites Yo La Tengo aimed for the ambient in their quarantine album We Have Amnesia Sometimes (Matador), featuring five quiet drone instrumentals.
For more traditionalist folk, check out John McCutcheon’s Cabin Fever (Appalsongs), 18 beautiful songs composed in two weeks of isolation in a cabin in rural Georgia, including two versions of the heartbreaking “The Night That John Prine Died.” Any of the three artists will assuage quarantine blues better than the paranoid ramblings of Van the Man.