New releases for 25 August 2023

The first of our six scorchers for this week is João, a collection of songs made famous by Bebel Gilberto’s father. João Gilberto, widely regarded as the father of bossa nova music, passed away in 2019 after a 70-year career in music. Bebel began singing with him as a small child and the songs she sings on this new album have been with her all her life. Says Bebel: “João is a love letter to my father. Since my first album I’ve never really covered any of my Dad’s music. Now it’s time to present to the public the songs from João Gilberto that have influenced me since I was born – and even before.

Haunted Mountain is the new album from Texas-bred singer/songwriter and Big Thief guitarist Buck Meek, following his beloved 2021 album, Two Saviors. Haunted Mountain is about love and … something other. Something bigger than love, something that doesn’t challenge love exactly but stands in contrast to it. A soulfulness, or a soul-seeking fullness. Meek says that loves songs are the hardest write. “Not break-up songs, but an actual love song written in earnest? That is taboo now,” he says. “Sometimes it can feel like all the great love songs have already been written.

It’s spring 2023 in the North Carolina Piedmont, and songwriter and singer M.C. Taylor, leader of the band Hiss Golden Messenger, is feeling alive. Joyful. Eternal, he might say. For the Grammy-nominated musician, whose albums have traced an internal path through adulthood, fatherhood, spirituality, and depression for well over a decade, this is something new. “The tunes on Jump for Joy were composed in free moments throughout 2022, a year during which Hiss was on the road more or less constantly,” explains Taylor. “And perhaps because the post-pandemic energy out in the world felt so chaotic and uncertain, I found myself thinking a lot about the role that music has played in my life and how exactly I ended up in the rarefied position of leading a band and crew all over the globe through dingy graffiti-scrawled green rooms, venerated music halls, dust-blown roadside motels. It’s an outlaw life but one, I’m coming to realize, that makes me happy.

More Than a Whisper is an all-star celebration of the life and legacy of the Grammy-award-winning singer, guitarist, and songwriter Nanci Griffith (1953–2021). Born in Seguin, Texas and raised in Austin, Griffith began writing and performing songs as a teenager, drawing inspiration from Loretta Lynn and Townes Van Zandt, as well as from Southern literary heroes like Carson McCullers and Tennessee Williams. Featured artists on this tribute include Brandy Clark, Shawn Colvin, Iris Dement, Steve Earle, Mary Gauthier, Emmylou Harris, Sarah Jarosz, Lyle Lovett and Kathy Mattea, Ida Mae, John Prine and Kelsey Waldon, Todd Snider, Billy Strings and Molly Tuttle, Aaron Lee Tasjan, and The War And Treaty covering some of Griffith’s most notable releases.

Zero to Infinity is the tenth album from Gong, and the fifth instalment in the evolving saga of Zero the Hero. Unavailable as a standalone album for almost 20 years, it is now being released on vinyl on the original commissioning record label for the first time and features re-purposed album artwork by Daevid Allen. The album’s concept is based on Zero the Hero, the character introduced on the famous Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy: Flying Teapot, Angel’s Egg and You, in which the protagonist was seemingly trapped in the ever-repeating cycle of life and death. Zero is then shown a path to possible liberation through love where he evolves to exist on a non-physical plane, leading us to Zero to Infinity, where our hero discovers the advantages of a body-free, virtual existence.

Our release of the week comes from the now 28-year-old Morgan Wade – the same person who not long ago felt as if she “didn’t have anything” – who now finds herself eager and ready to reveal herself to her ever-growing legion of dedicated fans like never before. To hear Wade tell it, it’s time to peel back layers of her psyche and let people in. “I realised the more authentic you are and the more you pour yourself into your songs, and most importantly if you’re being honest, people will connect to that,” Wade explains of her highly personal motivation when crafting Psychopath. Her second full-length studio album is a no-holds-barred meditation of an LP that dives deep into life’s oft-twisted path to the present. “I want every song to get the credit it deserves.

Morgan Wade - PsychopathBebel Gilberto - JoãoBuck Meek - Haunted MountainHiss Golden Messenger - Jump for JoyVarious Artists - More Than a Whisper: Celebrating the Music of Nanci GriffithGong - Zero to Infinity

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