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CD Reviews:
The Listening Room: Loretta Lynne, Ray LaMontagne, Esperanza Spalding, Violent Femmes and more...

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Sunday, March 6, 2016

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Loretta Lynn

"Full Circle"


Grade: A

Loretta Lynn came back with such force thanks to 2004's Jack White-produced "Van Lear Rose" it's hard to believe how many years have passed between that album and her new "Full Circle." The good news; the now 83-year-old Coal Miner's Daughter doesn't sound like she's aged a minute during the intervening years. Her voice is still a clear and versatile instrument throughout these 14 tracks, delicate when that's called for -- check out a new version of "Whispering Sea," the first song she ever wrote, and her rendition of "Always on My Mind" -- but still strong enough to lead the charge on more full-bodied tracks such as A.P. Carter's "Black Jack David" and her own "Everybody Wants To Go to Heaven" and "Fist City." "Full Circle's" producers -- Lynn's daughter Patsy Lynn Russell and fellow music progeny John Carter Cash -- are careful to frame Lynn's voice with spare but still rich arrangements bolstered by top-shelf players such as Randy Scruggs, Dennis Crouch, Bryan Sutton and Sam Bush, while Elvis Costello and Willie Nelson duet on "Everything It Takes" and Lay Me Down," respectively. Lynn's may not be quite the honky tonk girl she was back in 1960, but "Full Circle" makes the convincing case that she's much more than that now.

New & Noteworthy:

Ray LaMontagne, "Ouroboros" (RCA): The singer-songwriter co-produced his sixth studio album with good pal Jim James of My Morning Jacket.

Lapsley, "Long Way Home" (XL): The anxiously awaited debut album from the British singer and electronic music artist comes after two well-received EP and a batch of singles.

Miike Snow, "iii" (Atlantic/Downtown): The Swedish indie pop trio's third album includes a collaboration with Charli XCX on the track "For U," as well as a song about "Genghis Khan."

Esperanza Spalding, "Emily's D+Evolution" (Concord): The bass auteur worked with a "power trio" on her latest album -- including Detroit-born drummer Karriem Riggins -- co-producing with longtime David Bowie cohort Tony Visconti.

Violent Femmes, "We Can Do Anything" ([PIAS]): Though they've never quite gone away, this is the MIlwaukee-formed trio's first new studio album in 15 years.

M. Ward, "More Rain" (Merge): The eighth solo album from the Portland singer-songwriter and Him half of She & Him with Zooey Deschanel.

Also Out: Bas, "Too High To Riot" (J. Cole/Dreamville); Byrne & Kelly, "Echoes" (self-released); Steven Curtis Chapman, "Worship and Believe" (Provident); Church of Misery, "& Then There Were None" (Rise Above); The Coral, "Distance Inbetween" (Ignition); Face To Face, "Protection" (Fat Possum); Eileen Ivers, "Beyond the Bog Road" (eOne/Musical Bridge); Tim Hockeneberry, "Tim Hockenberry" (Poignant); Hotel Lights, "Get Your Hand in My Hand" (Bar None); Judah & the Lion, "Folk Hop N' Roll" (self-released); Kenny Barron Trio, "Book of Intuition" (Verve); Greg Laswell, "Everyone Thinks I Dodged a Bullet" (Vanguard); Nada Surf, "You Know Who You Are" (Barsuk); Newsboys, "Love Riot" (Fair Trade Services); Ninja Sex Party, "Under the Covers" (self-released); Jennifer O' Connor, "Surface Noise" (Kiam); Polica, "United Crushers" (Mom + Pop); Darren Rahn, "Sonic Boom" (Woodward Avenue); Alfredo Rodriguez, "Tocororo" (Mack Avenue); Granger Smith, "Remington" (Wheelhouse); Taemin, "Press It" (KT Music); Thao & the Get Down Stay Down, "A Man Alive" (Ribbon Music); Tiga, "No Fantasy Required" (Counter); Steven Wilson, "Insurgentes" (KScope); Wussy, "Forever Sounds" (Shake It)

From The Vaults: The Lords of the New Church, "The Complete I.R.S. Albums Collection" (Real Gone); The Lords of the New Church, "The Complete I.R.S. Albums Collection" (Friday Music); Twiztid, "Mutant: Remixed & Remastered" (Universal)

Soundtracks: Janis Joplin, "Janis: Little Girl Blue" (Columbia/Legacy); Mark Korven, "The Witch" (Milan); Michael Giacchino, "Zootopia" (Walt Disney)

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