Taken from JamBase (Jul 22, 2022)
Today's New Albums: Jack White, Ben Harper, Mihali, John Moreland, ZZ Top
by Team JamBase
Today's New Albums cover art
Each week Release Day Picks profiles new LPs and EPs Team JamBase will be checking out on release day Friday. This week we highlight new albums by Jack White, Ben Harper, Mihali and ZZ Top. Read on for more insight into the records we have all queued up to spin.
Jack White - Entering Heaven Alive
Entering Heaven Alive is the second solo album released this year by guitarist Jack White. The record follows April's release of Fear Of The Dawn. White, a co-founding member of The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, and The Dead Weather, recorded Entering Heaven Alive throughout 2021. The album, White's fifth solo LP, was created entirely in-house, with recording sessions held at White's Third Man Studio, mastering done by Third Man Mastering, vinyl production at Third Man Pressing and issued by Third Man Records. Currently on The Supply Chain Tour in support of the two albums, White has performed nine of the 11 tracks on Entering Heaven Alive live in concert. The two albums are bookended by the Fear Of The Dawn opening track "Taking Me Back" as well as its companion "Taking Me Back (Gently)" which is the final song on Entering Heaven Alive.
Ben Harper - Bloodline Maintenance
Ben Harper shared his new album, Bloodline Maintenance, today via Chrysalis Records. Harper's first non-instrumental solo LP since 2016's Call It What It Is sees the renowned singer-songwriter reflecting on the loss of a longtime friend as well as the lingering influence of his late father Leonad Harper. Dealing with such personal subject matter, Ben opted to largely record the album on his own. He played his usual guitar and signature lap steel - on which he found a new tone he describes as a cross between "Robert Johnson and Jimi Hendrix" - but also bass, drums and percussion.
"It was like I was moving forward and venturing into places I had never been before," Harper said of the Bloodline Maintenance sessions. "Taking everything I've learned from every other record and kind of setting fire to it all and starting over. And I knew the sounds I was hearing in my head were so unorthodox that I had to do most of it myself."
Twiddle guitarist Mihali returns today with his second solo studio album, Effection, via Ineffable Records. Mihali Savoulidis crafted the reggae album's 10 tracks with longtime friend and collaborator Nathan Aurora. Nathan and Mihali worked together remotely as the material on Effection came to fruition during the pandemic. When it was finally time to cut the record, Savoulidis tapped Nate Feinstein of California roots reggae band Iya Terra to produce and engineer E.N. Young to mix. Iya Terra also appears on "All Day," the closing track on an album full of special guests including Jacob Hemphill of SOJA on the title track, Iration on "Living Is The Lesson," Dispatch's Chadwick Stokes on "Open House," The Movement & The Elovaters on "Greater Escape" and bluegrass quartet Kitchen Dwellers on "Ballad of the Broken."
"On this record, I tried not to go super heavy or deep on the emotional side of things," Mihal said of the new LP. "Instead, there is a lot of happiness and hope on Effection. I'm incredibly proud and excited to be releasing this music, and as always, evolving with it."
ZZ Top - Raw
Legendary Texas rockers ZZ Top are back with Raw, an album consisting of the band's iconic hit songs as well as earlier favorites. ZZ Top largely captured the record live at New Braunfels, Texas' historic Gruene Hall in conjunction with the 2019 documentary That Little Ol' Band From Texas. Raw features the classic ZZ Top lineup on music from the era they speak of above including "Brown Sugar," "Certified Blues," and "Just Got Paid." The LP also boasts some of their later hits like "Legs," "Tush," "LaGrange," "Gimme All Your Lovin'" and more. The 12-track collection produced by ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons is also one of Dusty Hill's final recordings and is dedicated "In righteous memory" to the late bassist who passed away on July 28, 2021. Gibbons and drummer Frank Beard shared their thoughts on the Raw sessions with Hill in the album's liner notes:
"It was, in a very real way, a return to our roots. Just us and the music, no audience of thousands, no concession stands, no parking lot social hour, no phalanx of tour busses. Just us and the music. We knew right then it was a very special circumstance, all of us in the same place at the same time, and what a time it most certainly was! It was as bare bones as when we first started touring in a behemoth Chrysler station wagon, driving vast stretches between those early far-flung shows under blackened Texas skies and first hearing our records on the radio. We were bonded as brothers. 'The Dust' may have left the building but he's still very much with us."