Grammy Award-winning gospel and CCM singer Israel Houghton and his group New Breed deliver the second installment in their Alive series of concert albums with Covered: Alive in Asia. Recorded during an extensive 2014 tour of Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Singapore, and other Asian nations, Israel & New Breed offer up a passionate, high-energy worship spectacle that features guests like BJ Putnam, Tye Tribbett, and Yolanda Adams. The album arrives ten years after the group's acclaimed Alive in South Africa concert album.
Chris LeDoux was born in Mississippi, but his music and lyrics both have plenty of Texas heart -- maybe brought on by the fact that by the time he hit his teens he was already living in Texas, and soon began the normal cowboy path of taking part in rodeos and spending his summers doing ranch work. The recording Chris LeDoux and the Saddle Boogie Band has been called a great cowboy-style album, like most of LeDoux's work. Country fans will find both ballads and upbeat numbers on this offering. Songs such as "Cowboys Like a Little Rock and Roll," "Night Rider's Lament," and "Hooked on an 8 Second Ride" showcase his skill at tapping into the celebrated world of the everyday cowboy that he knows so well and shares even better. All you need to do is tug off your cowboy boots, tip back your hat, get comfortable, and have a nice long listen.
Light years removed from the expansive psychedelia of his work with the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, Shaun Harris' lone solo LP remains a compelling curio of the singer/songwriter boom of the early '70s -- while its lush country-pop sensibility sits squarely in the mainstream, the record's melodies and arrangements are atypically complex and its lyrics are profoundly introspective, exploring themes of melancholy, self-doubt, and even suicide with uncommon candor. Recorded with members of L.A.'s famed studio team the Wrecking Crew and featuring string arrangements by the artist's father, the esteemed symphonic composer Roy Harris, Shaun Harris captures the fear and resignation of an artist in the twilight of his career -- "Nothing to write that hasn't been written/What's the real point of livin'?" Harris asks in the record's emotional centerpiece, "Today's the Day," his most direct confrontation of the despair that spreads like cancer across otherwise slick, sun-kissed productions like "Empty Without You" and "I'll Cry Out." Harris revels in such contradictions, capturing with nuance and insight the sunset of West Coast pop's seemingly endless summer.