New Music for April 2019

Welcome warm weather with old-school soul, expert-level guitar picking, and more fresh Southern releases
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Lee Fields and the Expressions | It Rains Love

Sixty-eight-year-old soul singer Lee Fields has been making music for half a century, but the North Carolina native found a deeper groove when he linked up with his band, the Expressions, in 2009. Their latest, It Rains Love, spellbinds with big brass, a bold sixties sound, and smooth vocals. “As far as I am concerned, the world needs more love,” Fields told G&G earlier this month. “So that’s what this album is.”

Essential Tracks: “Will I Get Off Easy,” “It Rains Love”

Shovels & Rope | By Blood

The fifth album from Charleston, South Carolina’s Shovels & Rope features the same dark undertones and gritty sound longtime fans might expect—the ten-song album (complete with murder ballad) was recorded in the duo’s backyard studio. But it’s not all doom and gloom for the husband-and-wife team, who welcomed their second child earlier this year: The harmonica-heavy “C’mon Utah!” shares an inspirational plot with the couple’s new children’s book of the same name, and the driving drums on standout track ”The Wire” beat along with a promise to stick around through thick and thin.

Essential Tracks: “Carry Me Home,” “I’m Comin’ Out”

John Paul White | The Hurting Kind

Since his last solo album in 2016, this former member of the Grammy Award–winning duo the Civil Wars has kept busy—he owns Single Lock Records in Florence, Alabama, and has worked on albums by artists such as Dylan LeBlanc and Penny & Sparrow. The Hurting Kind trades on White’s penchant for collaboration, with the Alabama Shakes’s Ben Tanner in the producer’s chair and vocal contributions from The Secret Sisters and Erin Rae. One of the album’s high points—“This Isn’t Gonna End Well,” a duet with Lee Ann Womack—starts at a slow pace and builds to a sweeping, orchestral chorus as the lyrics reveal a guarded narrator too afraid of loss to appreciate a good thing.

Essential Tracks: “My Dreams Have All Come True,” “This Isn’t Gonna End Well”

Molly Tuttle | When You’re Ready

Twenty-six-year-old Molly Tuttle is best known for her dexterity on the guitar—bluegrass mainstays such as Sam Bush have praised the Nashville resident as one of the genre’s most promising young stars—but the lyrics and vocals on her latest full-length release, When You’re Ready, match the excellence of her instrumentals. Slow burner “Million Miles” expresses a heartfelt apology to a long-gone loved one, while up-tempo “Take the Journey” showcases the picking that continues to earn Tuttle international acclaim.

Essential Tracks: “Take the Journey,” “Million Miles”

Tyler Ramsey | For the Morning

If you don’t know Tyler Ramsey’s name, you likely know his work—for ten years, the Asheville, North Carolina, native was the guitarist for folk rockers Band of Horses. But he’s been writing and releasing solo material since 2005, and For the Morning reveals him at the top of his craft: The quiet strumming, vivid imagery, and echoing vocals on songs like “1000 Blackbirds” will make it an instant favorite of fans of Fleet Foxes or Lord Huron.

Essential Tracks: “1000 Blackbirds,” “Breaking a Heart”

The Amours | Mon Amour EP

Sisters Jakiya Ayanna and Shaina Aisha have spent the better part of the last two years singing backup for and touring the country with the musician PJ Morton. But if their EP Mon Amour is any indication, the Washington, D.C., duo belongs center stage. Smooth harmonies on the track “I’m Good Luv, Enjoy” belie a sizzling clapback—“You can lose my number,” coo the vocals, “please believe I don’t need you”—and you’ll have the R&B earworm (and debut single) “All the Time” on loop this summer.

Essential Tracks: “All the Time,” “Mon Amour”

Get a taste of these April releases—along with last month’s favorite albums and the latest singles from the Black Keys, Mountain Man, The Avett Brothers, and more—by following our New Music playlist on Spotify.