Ambition is rewarded on new releases

Music Worth   Buying by Robert Kinsler

Music Worth
Buying by Robert Kinsler

The Waterboys return to winning form on the poetic “An Appointment with Mr. Yeats” while Hit Dog Hollar and Gabriel Kelley infuse the roots rock scene with a welcome sense of artistry and purpose on their respective debuts.

Artist: The Waterboys

Title: An Appointment with Mr. Yeats (Puck Records)

You might be interested if you like: World Party, Snow Patrol, Bell X1

Tell me more: There is an artistry and grandeur of scale that defines The Waterboys’ “An Appointment with Mr. Yeats,” a years-in-the-making project from frontman Mike Scott where he has set 14 of Irish poet W.B. Yeats’ poems to music. Having dreamed of completing this project since the early 1990s, Scott’s glorious “An Appointment with Mr. Yeats” was well worth the wait. Likely the Edinburgh, Scotland-spawned troupe’s best collection since 1985’s “This Is the Sea” or 1988’s “Fisherman’s Blues,” the new disc finds the ensemble blending its traditional Celtic folk and modern rock with spoken word (“Song Of Wandering Aengus”), neo-electronica (“News for the Delphic Oracle”), and mystical genre-defying territory (“Sweet Dancer”). Information:

Artist: Hit Dog Hollar

Title: Ruckus (independent release)

You might be interested if you like: Moreland & Arbuckle, The Dead Weather, Leogun

Tell me more: San Diego-based Hit Dog Hollar is not yet a household name, but soon could be. The hard-rocking four-man outfit blends hard edged Americana and blues with the approach of modern hard rock outfits such as Leogun and Band of Skulls. Singer Austin Prince has a big mighty voice, and the entire band shines on the slide guitar-anchored “The Battle of San Pasqual” and “Shenandoah,” as well as on the slower blues vibe of White Flag.” Information:

Artist: Gabriel Kelley

Title: It Don’t Come Easy (Mean It or Leave It)

You might be interested if you like: Neil Young, Nils Lofgren, Jackson Browne

Tell me more: One of my favorite discoveries at the recent Stagecoach festival was singer-songwriter-guitarist Gabriel Kelley, who performed a fantastic 50-minute set on the Palomino Stage on April 28. Armed with nothing more than an acoustic guitar and a blues harmonica, Kelley is on tour in support of his new debut, the terrific “It Don’t Come Easy,” which showcases his ability to blend “Harvest”-era Neil Young songcraft with a modern day approach to mine his own emotions in the creation of powerful songs. Highlights on his new disc include the bright “Faith” where his own shining baritone is blended with Bekka Bramlett’s soprano and the piano-anchored ballad “When Is Enough.” The “Only Thing To Do” finds Kelley stepping it up with a fiery Southern blues rocker. Information: 

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