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2005

Ever since jazz guitarist John Scofield was a kid, the music of Ray Charles had a significant influence on him. So when Verve Records’ President Ron Goldstone approached Scofield with the idea of doing a tribute album to Charles, Scofield was game.

The Austin, Texas based originated in 1994 and released their first full length album in '96 on the indie label, Matador Records. Following an ill-timed move to a major label in 1998 the band left Elektra Records and returned to Merge Records, another vital indie-rock label which Spoon has called their home since.

Is the former Led Zep front man still vital after all these years? You bet. With his band The Strange Sensation (including musicians who have performed and collaborated with Massive Attack, Portishead, Jah Wobble and Roni Size), Plant has delivered the best of his now eight solo album catalogue.

Cold Roses, the new double album from Ryan Adams, is probably very much the record that his hardcore fans have been waiting for him to make since his days with Whiskeytown. But since his 2000 collection of rustic Dylan-esque songs on Heartbreaker, alt-country rocker Ryan Adams made a nod towards his love for Morrissey and Brit-rock on 2003’s Rock N Roll and was followed by the dark double Love Is Hell (Parts 1 and 2). Now he returns with the 18 song Cold Roses. Writing for amazon.com, music critic Don McLeese sums up Roses succinctly: “This double-disc gem delineates the possibilities of alt-country in 2005 while transcending the limitations typically associated with the genre.”

Aimee Mann returns with her fifth solo album, The Forgotten Arm, a "concept album," that loosely tells the story of John and Caroline as they meet, fall in love and road trip across the country together. On her web site, Mann tells the story of these two lovers. "The guy's a Vietnam vet and a boxer, but he's also a drug addict, and she's trying to get away from the dead end world where she lives in the South.

Three years after his post 9/11 inspired rock record The Rising , and the incredible tour that followed with the E Street Band, the Boss returns with a sparse, folk and country inspired collection of songs. Many of these songs were written in 1997 on the road during Springsteen's solo The Ghost Of Tom Joad tour, and were intended to be a follow-up to Springsteen's 1995 John Steinbeck-inspired acoustic record.

Fair & Square is singer-songwriter John Prine's first album of original material in nine years and comes after his recovery from a bout with cancer. His last studio album was the Grammy-nominated Lost Dogs & Mixed Blessings. It included some classic Prine stories - "New Train," "Ain't Hurtin' Nobody," "Humidity Built The Snowman," and continued to showcase an American icon at the top of his game and craft - some thirty years after his brilliant 1971 debut that included songs like "Angel From Montgomery," "Sam Stone," and "Hello In There."

With bossa nova beats, trip-hop, Jamaican dub, and world grooves galore, the Washington DC based DJ duo of Rob Garza and Eric Hilton are back with The Cosmic Game, their fourth record. Since the mid-90's Hilton and Garza have created their own flourishing cultural cottage industry with their own record label and a niteclub, restaurant and bar in Washington, DC. Starting out as DJ's catering to fans or rare-groove and acid-jazz music, they broadened their sound to include an ecelctic mix of groove and ambient genres of music. The Cosmic Game is their finest studio record yet.

South California native Billy Miles was discovered by producer and musician Andre Williams while Miles was making the rounds of small clubs in Los Angeles. With her excellent debut release and words of praise spreading from fans that have seen her live shows, Miles is an exciting and exotic new talent.

‘Guero’ is a wonderfully creative work that straddles the line between the mature sophistication of 1998’s ‘Mutations’ and the beat-driven excitement of his classic ‘Odelay’.

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