With a few exceptions like Norah Jones or Sean Lennon, children of famous musicians who turn to music can face a hard path. Lilly Winwood, daughter of Traffic founder Steve Winwood, has been banging around Nashville a while, raising eyebrows with a stunning 2017 EP and her “Higher Love” duet with her father. Her debut full-length Time Well Spent (Lilly Winwood) pulls you in with her rich, bluesy voice and the captivating lyrics of “Few More Records” and “Seventeen,” but what’s also apparent is the fine attention to detail by session musicians. Every brushed snare or bass guitar run is perfectly in place, giving standouts like “Bruno” a guaranteed future.
The other side of parental legacy is when the parent survives the child. Steve Earle faced the grim task of memorializing his talented son, Justin Townes Earle, who died in 2020 from an accidental drug overdose. Father Steve recorded tribute albums to Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, but J.T. (New West Records) is his finest covers masterpiece. Earle knew what a fine songwriter his son was, and it’s hard to imagine how painful it was to record such moving and beautiful covers of songs like “Lone Pine Hill” and “Last Words.”
Also New & Noteworthy
The Notwist, Vertigo Days (Morr Music/Sub Pop) – It’s been six years since this Bavarian indie ensemble offered a studio album, and The Notwist’s return significantly expands their EDM/dreampop base. Tracks like “Where You Find Me” recall their Neon Golden period, but adding American clarinetist Angel Bat Dawid and the backing of Argentine vocalist Juana Molina on the track “Al Sur” gives this ninth studio album a distinct jazz and world-music feel. Still, Markus Archer’s vocals preserve that haunting Notwist vibe.
3 Pairs of Boots, Long Rider (Dark Country) – It’s not often a country duo gets praised for majestic sadness, but there’s something in the aura of Laura Arias and Andrew Stern that deserves the accolade. Their second album honors “Lady Long Rider” Bernice Ende, who logged 30,000 miles on horseback in her later years. The cowpoke and trail references may seem archaic, but the beauty of tracks like “Devil Road” and “Everywhere I Go” are enhanced by Arias’ coy but heartbreaking delivery.