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2008

On his third album, Gossip in the Grain, Ray LaMontagne breaks out of his own mold a bit, relying less on lamenting love loss and seemingly is more centered on expanding into more hopeful musical territories . The album's opening track is evidence. "You Are the Best Thing" is perhaps, up to this point, the most optimistic we've ever heard Ray.

Rachael Yamagata has hardly been idle since her acclaimed 2004 full-length debut, Happenstance, and its Adult Top 40 hit 'Worn Me Down.' So for her Warner Bros. premiere, the singer-songwriter-pianist with the sultry voice unveils a double disc set: Elephants...Teeth Sinking Into Heart.

Twenty years after they started to bring the grunge revolution out of the Pacific Northwest, the resilient music lovers at Sub Pop Records have now given us a band with brilliant five-part harmonies and a decidedly hippie-esque world view that owes as much to Crosby, Stills & Nash and The Beach Boys as Mudhoney did to Iggy & The Stooges.

Amos Lee's music on his third album Last Days At The Lodge, on Blue Note, continues to be a compelling mix of soul, folk, and blues music. The new album was produced by Don Was. The CD features Amos on guitars/vocals, Doyle Bramhall, Jr. (Eric Clapton) on guitar, Spooner Oldham (Neil Young, Aretha Franklin) on keys, Pino Palladino (The Who) on bass, and James Gadson (Bill Withers) on drums.

Featured Album of the Week June 9, 2008
CD of the Month August 2008

Arguably the most anticipated lbum of the year - indie, major, whatever - Evil Urges finds Louisville (pronounced LOO-uh-vull) reverb rockers My Morning Jacket poised on the cusp of mainstream success while still maintaining a link to their Southern rock, slow burning, lap-steel slide roots.

Death Cab for Cutie is a band that boasts two of the very best artists in all of indie-dom: singer Ben Gibbard, who's blessed with an amazing, natural voice, and guitarist and producer Chris Walla, who has the knack of making everything he touches sound real and epic at the same time. The talent is certainly on display on this new album, Narrow Stairs, but the subject matter is much more suffocating.

On her third full-length album, Canadian Kathleen Edwards has once again proven herself to be among the very best of the young songwriters out there. Combining an interesting worldview with a very honest voice and plenty of attitude, this 29-year-old has stepped up in several ways on this new release, Asking For Flowers.

Sounding rested and refreshed, Joe Jackson's new stripped-down album Rain harkens back to the Night And Day era. Always a talented tunesmith, Jackson has given us an album that plays to his strengths.

It's hard not to compare Ryan Bingham to some other Texas troubadour heavyweights. Hints of Joe Ely, Steve Earle and - most notably - Townes Van Zant permeate his Lost Highway records debut Mescalito. This is not to say that he hasn't already developed his own voice, but these songs are just as dusty and heartfelt as his predecessors.

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