They are treating us well here.
The Blind Boys of Alabama and Burlap to Cashmere both have new albums out, and I reviewed both at PopMatters (hence the links), and both are very good but Burlap to Cashmere's is a little more surprising and less like other stuff I've heard before so I will give top marks to it. But yeah, I could listen to both for a while. Here's an excerpt from the BtoC review:
If there’s room in your pop heaven for Simon & Garfunkel, Cat Stevens, the Indigo Girls, and Fleet Foxes, you oughta make room for Burlap to Cashmere, mostly-acoustic choogaloogers with a thing for lyrics both inscrutable and sincere. Their self-titled second album even OPENS by emulating the Foxes’ wide-eyed wonder: chiming guitars and tenor voices advise, “Keep your eyes on the new day / You and me, we are the same / Shout it out at the horizon / And don’t forget to change your name.” (No idea what that means, though it reminds me of the end of The NeverEnding Story, when Bastian shouts the Empress’s new name out the window.) From there the music gets fleeter and foxier, as the hard-strumming trio builds into a weird-time-signatured ode to… vacation? Singer/songwriter Steven Delopoulos is at ease, the ocean’s near, and the sun is sinking; he keeps telling his baby, “Don’t forget to write”, even though he keeps seeing said baby in the sun and the wind. Oh, and Delopoulos also tells us he’s the ocean, which might make him Neil Young. In any case he’s a hippie who’s one with nature. I keep trying to dislike him for this, but he and his band sound terrific.
For some reason that's my second NeverEnding Story reference in as many weeks. Maybe I need to watch that again. The first was at Singles Jukebox, talking about some song that I liked a lot less than everyone else:
Is it just me, or does the blaring trumpet-y synth running through the ‘chorus’ remind anyone else of some theme from The NeverEnding Story? And is it just me, or is The NeverEnding Story the SEXIEST GOTH MOVIE EVER??? I mean, you’ve got the hero riding around with a Luck Dragon between his legs, Teeny Weeny sliding around on his snail, that sublime scene where the hero’s stallion sinks into the Swamps of Sadness, the freakin’ ROCK BITER tooling around on his massive rock-hard bike or whatever — I mean, everybody in that movie is always RIDING something. Way sexier than this song, anyway.
Speaking of Luck Dragons, here's an excerpt from the Blind Boys review:
At center stage, the Boys themselves sound as great as ever. Founding member Jimmy Carter and his mates have perfected a blend of passion, good humor, gentleness, shouting, rhythmic acuity, and mile-wide vibrato that seems to deliver songs as naturally as plain speech or breathing. Somehow all the vast enormity of the Christian walk resides in their voices.