The first is Annabelle Chvostek's album Resilience. Annabelle is a former member of the Wailin' Jennys, a band that won several Juno Awards for their album Firecracker, which featured four of Annabelle's songs, and built quite a buzz during her tenure, touring internationally, playing festivals, and appearing frequently on Prairie Home Companion. Resilience is her first solo release since leaving the Jennys (there were several before she joined). It was recorded in New York and Montreal with Grammy-nominated Canadian record producer Roma Baran (Laurie Anderson, Rosalie Sorrels, Penny Lang, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Bitch & the Exciting Conclusion). The album features Bruce Cockburn, Mary Gauthier, Michael Jerome Browne, Julie Wolf (Ani DiFranco's keyboard player), and a slew of other great players. It's getting rave reviews so far. I am partial to the title track and the last track, "Nashville". Those songs are what songwriting is about, to me. There is also a great cover of the Ella Jenkins song, "Racing With The Sun" which she introduced to the Jennys' repertoire.
Full disclosure: I am doing a little bit of booking for Annabelle. But the reason I am doing it is because I loved this album, not the other way around.
The second new album I need to mention is Eliza Gilkyson's Beautiful World. It almost goes without saying that each album she puts out these days is stunning, and possibly a little better than the last one. I don't know of any other artist who can write political songs so effectively. There are so many stand-out tracks on Beautiful World that I find it hard to know which ones to mention. “Beautiful World is Gilkyson’s masterpiece," according to All Music Guide. I will say that the title track is gorgeous, and I think the last track, "Unsustainable", is brilliant. It's basically a parody of Nat King Cole's "Unforgettable". With that tune in mind, here are some of the lyrics:
We’ve gone too far and now it’s uncontainable
Let’s tear it down and start all over again
The way we are is truly incomprehensible
Back to the drawing board
Start all over again
Madly, we loved you madly
We would have gladly maintained the status quo
Badly, we’ve behaved badly
And now, sadly, we’ll have to let you go
So my point is that you should order both albums online immediately and then look up both artists' tour schedules and see them as soon as possible. I might mention that both will be in Portland this fall...