Fresh Music – May 2012

Norah Jones, …Little Broken HeartsNorah Jones’ deep appreciation for music in all its forms has produced four diverse, critically acclaimed albums and collaborations with the likes of Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Outkast, Ray Charles and Ryan Adams, among others. Jones gives us something entirely different with her “break up album,” with super producer Danger Mouse – she first worked with the producer on his stunning ode to Spaghetti Western film score, Rome, with Jack White.

Rufus Wainwright, Out of the Game – As one of the most musical pop musicians of the day, Wainwright has reveled us with everything from Top 40 pop to jazz to opera and even a wholesale recreation of a famed Judy Garland concert. Now, he’s teamed with star producer Mark Ronson – the man who launched the careers of Amy Winehouse and Adele – for one of the season’s most anticipated albums. Ronson thinks it’s his best album yet, and that’s saying a lot.

Carrie Underwood, Blown AwayCountry music sweetheart and Checotah, Okla., homegirl Carrie Underwood has amassed more accolades, awards and hit records than just about any other woman in contemporary country music. The lead single from her upcoming fourth studio album is “Good Girl,” but Underwood is showing her bad girl side with songs such as “Two Black Cadillacs,” “Cupid’s Got a Shotgun” and “Wine After Whiskey.”

Willie Nelson, HeroesAmerican music icon Willie Nelson has released 115 albums, including more than 60 solo studio albums, in his storied career. The 78-year-old shows little sign of stopping, continuously touring, releasing new material and working with musicians new and old at every opportunity. Nelson’s latest album includes his take on three country classics and his rendition of Pearl Jam’s “Just Breathe” and Coldplay’s “The Scientist,” as well as new material. The album also features appearances by Sheryl Crowe and Merle Haggard and an all-star recording of “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die” with Snoop Dog and Kris Kristofferson.