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For her 7th full-length studio album - and her first for over 9 years - Canadian singer, songwriter, accordionist, harpist, and pianist Loreena McKennitt has followed An Ancient Muse indeed.

This unique compilation project brings together the legendary musicians of the Buena Vista Social Club and some of today's most popular artists Radiohead, Chris Martin of Coldplay, Sting, U2's Bono, Dido, Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs, Arctic Monkeys, Jack Johnson and others. They perform collaborations of some of their classic hits, and the result is pure genius.

Already considered by many rock critics to be one of the finest offerings of '06, Boys & Girls In America is a great album on a number of different levels. The intensity, hooks and words of The Hold Stady's latest are quite remarkable, and the album's charm grows with each listen.

Consisting of two brothers and a childhood friend, The Slip play like they know each other all their lives. Their Bar/None Records debut - Eisenhower - is a sonic treat, boasting powerful musical interaction with some very well written songs.

Endless Wire is the first studio album in 24 years to consist of new material from The Who. The last two Who standing - Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend - have delivered an enjoyable, if uneven, album worth of new material.

One of this year's most outstanding new artists, Rodrigo y Gabriela are Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintana, Mexico City natives who now live in and wrok out of Dublin, Ireland. It's a simple formula, really... two acoustic guitars, all instrumental songs. I can assure you that the results are much more interesting than the description.

Well... what's not to like? Neil & his favorite band at one of America's classic concert venues, recorded March 6 & 7 of 1970. The sound quality is very good, the performances are inspired. My only complaint? Only six tunes - but two of them are the epics "Down By the River" and "Cowgirl In The Sand", so I'm not too dissappointed.

Eric Clapton has been an unabashed J J Cale fan for some time now. For Clapton, the artist that he admires for his "work ethic and anonymity" has provided him with a couple of major hits, namely "Cocaine" from the 1977 album Slowhand and a raved-up version of "After Midnight." The results of this long-rumored collaboration album are extremely enjoyable.

Willie Nelson's new album Songbird - produced by Ryan Adams and featuring Ryan and his band The Cardinals - sounds a lot like... well... Willie Nelson being backed by Ryan Adams & The Cardinals. The vibe is consistent & rootsy, and Nelson's voice never dissappoints.

Man, oh, man... has this new Killers' album ever taken a beating in the press! Outlets from Rolling Stone to The Village Voice to The New York Times (and many others) have panned Sam's Town. It's taken a critical flogging as bad as I've ever seen any major release get. That being said, it's currently in the Billboard Top 10, they're selling out on their tour, and I'm here to tell you that this album does not deserve the nasty reception it's gotten.

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