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Continuum

Live in Concert

continuumsound.com

If you’ve seen the Destin band live, you understand their performances are lightning in a bottle. This live album—a mix of covers and originals—does an amicable job of capturing the band and each member’s distinct personality. Playing the album feels like you’ve invited them into your living room. It’s cozy and personable.

– Nikki Hedrick

Bill Frisell

When You Wish Upon a Star

OKeh/Sony

Jazz guitarist Frisell obviously took no holidays last year. His latest, When You Wish Upon a Star, will remind people of a certain age of pretty much everything they’ve lived through. The 16-track feast offers classic film and TV soundtracks—romance, comedy, westerns, noir, and the title Disney tune. As for Frisell’s signature meditative style—part shimmer, part crystal bell tones, equal parts longing and fulfillment, yeah, it’s all there. He still plays like he’s got all the time in the world. The cover art will make you think of every Otto Preminger film you ever saw.

– Bruce Collier

Lauren Kay

Single Mamma

laurenkaymusic.com

The Pensacola country songstress is back, this time with Sugarcane Jane’s Anthony Crawford in her corner. Kay shows off her heart and dreams with personal songs that reveal her deepest inner workings. Whether she’s singing about the trials of love or the juggling single motherhood requires, Kay is strikingly forthright and hauntingly somber.

– Nikki Hedrick

Megadeth

Dystopia

Universal

It was easy to wonder if Megadeth’s time in the spotlight had faded and if their ability to turn out tunes that could grab critics and fans alike had passed. Dystopia puts these questions to rest. Every song on the album straddles the difficult task of being both fresh and respectful of the band’s past achievements. It pulls thrash metal back into the limelight as an expression of grandeur.

– Nikki Hedrick

Gretchen Peters

The Essential Gretchen Peters

Scarlet

This 27-track collection goes the 30A Songwriters Festival veteran’s previous compilation Circus Girl one better by including highlights from Peters’ great recent albums Hello Cruel World and Blackbirds. Additional incentives to buy—a bonus disc of live recordings, rarities and the loveliest version of “When You Wish Upon a Star” you’re ever likely to hear. Liner notes by Dave Marsh.

– Chris Manson

Dr. Lonnie Smith

Evolution

Blue Note

Hammond B-3 organist Smith’s Evolution is reportedly his first album for Blue Note in decades. Pianist Robert Glasper and saxophonist Joe Lovano sit in on several tracks. The turbaned septuagenarian takes a trip through some hallowed standards (“Afrodesia,” “Straight No Chaser,” etc.) for roots’ sake, and some heretofore-untried stuff. It’s Blue Note gold—plenty of leisurely passages (such as “Play It Back”) in which the instrumentalists trade off, have fun, then toss the ball to the next guy. It’s taken me a while to check in on the good doctor—don’t know why I waited.

– Bruce Collier

Winfield

Radio Silence Over

Winfieldmusic.bandcamp.com

Tallahassee’s Winfield unleashes a unique blend of ethereal rock music. With memorable hooks and an unconventional musical approach, it’s hard to find a neat little genre box to tuck Winfield into. It’s indie rock without the trappings of indie rock clichés, college rock without the overt brooding lyrics—it hangs its hat on trippy sensibilities without journeying so far out it loses its footing as a rock album. A textured listen that deserves an audience.

– Nikki Hedrick
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