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2010

As we know is the case for certain artists, the church is the place where some of their earliest musical experiences occur. We know this to be true for Robert Randolph, and his gospel influences have always played a part in his music. While his last record did its best to capture the bands live energy and flash, We Walk This Road accomplishes a more mature musical journey.

We’ve seen a number of artists in the first half of 2010 whose stock continues to rise upon the release of new albums. The best recent example comes from The Gaslight Anthem. More confident and just as powerful the Jersey-based rock band truly breakthrough on their third full-length album American Slang.

For XPN Artist To Watch, Trombone Shorty, measuring success doesn’t necessary seem like it equates to album sales or tangible assets. For Shorty it appears more about creation, collaboration and the excitement of the music he plays. It’s a veteran like perspective, but that’s not surprising coming from the 24 year old virtuoso. He’s been leading bands since the age of 6, long before he arms could even extend the length of his instrument, and even less surprising from Shorty is his inspiring debut album for Verve, Backatown.

One of this year's most anticipated records!
~ Bruce Warren, Program Director WXPN

Much like their first two albums, The Suburbs from The Arcade Fire stands as a grandiose musical adventure. Similar to Funeral and Neon Bible, this new batch of songs triumphs with dynamic orchestrations and pure power. Yet, what sets The Suburbs apart from its predecessors is a sense of nostalgia. Where a dark cloud of impending doom may have at times hovered over their first two albums, The Suburbs offers a unique look back at adolescence both in a standalone state and in comparison to our current social state.

For many, Omni, the new album from the Seattle-based band Minus the Bear is an introduction. However, as fans of the experimental rock band already know this is a band and a sound, that for years has escaped mainstream success, yet record after record saw their fan base only grow larger. On stage the music of Minus the Bear is undeniable from small club stages to major festivals. Until Omni however, harnessing their fearlessness for sonic boundary, seductive lyricism and muscular energy never seemed so easy.

For nearly 40 years, Los Lobos has been an inspiring model of consistency in the world of rock and roll. It's difficult (if not impossible) to think of bands over the past four decades that have maintained the same line-up and continue to engage at such a high level as Los Lobos do on their brand new studio album, Tin Can Trust.

It's a bit hard to believe that God Willin' & The Creek Don't Rise is the fourth album from the soulful singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne. It doesn’t seem so far off from when many of us first stopped us in our tracks upon hearing the song “Trouble” from his debut album. But over the course of his career, Ray has captivated audiences with an emotionally driven songbook, a voice that summons goose bumps and a fascinating aversion to the spotlight he so requires.

In a time where most country musicians seem as glitz and glam as their pop music counterparts, it's songwriters like Ryan Bingham who remind us that it's not just the hat you’re wearing but the words you’re spilling that make you a country artist. Now on his third proper album, Junky Star, Bingham continues to impress as a songwriter offering a collection of songs that stress his talent with wordplay and emotion.

Promise and Potential are two words that often bring with them as much excitement as they do disappointment, especially in the case of young musicians. So, you can’t blame many of us for holding our breath in anticipation of the full-length debut album from the artist that simply goes by the name Lissie. The twenty something songwriter, originally from Rock Island, Illinois, perked our ears last year with her debut EP Why You Runnin’. And upon the release of Catching A Tiger not only could we exhale but applaud the collection as one of the years truly dynamic debuts.

Which direction Robert Plant turns next is anyone's guess. After his hugely successful collaboration album with Alison Krauss, Raising Sand, the Led Zeppelin frontman decides to turn back the clock on his latest solo effort Band Of Joy. Besides being the title of the new album, Band Of Joy references Plant's pre-Zeppelin blues band with drummer John Bonham. Band Of Joy is a bluesy, Americana collection comprised mostly of covers and supported by an all-star cast of musicians.

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