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Rock - Released October 5, 2018 | Fantasy Records

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Rock - Released October 5, 2018 | Fantasy Records

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Steve Perry really meant it when he sang Don't Stop Believin' in 1981. For a long time, the former singer from Journey insisted that he and music had broken up for good. He hid himself away for quite some time before returning with this third solo album: Traces. It’s a comeback that owes a lot to his relationship with Kellie Nash, a young woman who made him love music again and sadly passed away before her time… For Perry, Traces is a broken-hearted album, but also a tale of reconstruction, resilience and getting back on your feet. Before even listening to the record, the intriguing album cover is worth a look at. The Californian certainly doesn’t skimp on details... Welcome to the American star’s Garden of Eden! At the front there’s an old white guitar which serves as a perch for a dove of peace, as well as a snake wrapped around a bottle of champagne. Then, on closer inspection, you see a flaming microphone hidden in the garden, electrical cables and an upside-down pin-up girl. The artist even appears to have discretely embedded himself into the landscape, with his back turned to the audience. The many (maybe too many) symbols sum up part of his career but also reflect his years of isolation. Staying true to an eighties rock style, Steve Perry’s voice is still intact. The 69-year-old dives into his feelings and seeks to take his listeners for an emotional ride. Addressing the crowd with the hit No Erasin', Perry confirms that he’s back and that he’s missed all these faces. From the soul of No More Crying to the intense final track We Fly, Steve Perry heals all wounds inflicted on the body and soul. © Anna Coluthe/Qobuz
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Rock - Released October 5, 2018 | Fantasy Records

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Country - Released September 7, 2018 | Fantasy Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 7, 2018 | Fantasy Records

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Rock - Released July 13, 2018 | Fantasy Records

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Rock - Released July 6, 2018 | Fantasy Records

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Rock - Released May 25, 2018 | Fantasy Records

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Rock - Released May 11, 2018 | Fantasy Records

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Rock - Released May 11, 2018 | Fantasy Records

After Ry Cooder issued 2012's biting Election Special with its indictments of the GOP, Mitt Romney, and the Koch Brothers in a meld of sounds that included folk, blues, and roots rock, fans wondered where he'd go next. Prodigal Son, his debut album for Fantasy, takes him back to the beginning when he recorded old blues, gospel, folk, and swing tunes that reflected the musical past as illumination for the historical present. Co-produced with son Joachim -- who also contributes drums and percussion -- Cooder takes control; he plays guitars, bass, banjo, mandolin, and keyboards in a program of eight covers and three fine originals. He opens with an intimate version of the Pilgrim Travelers' 1950s gospel hit "Straight Street." With banjo and mandolin buoyed by his electric guitar fills and Joachim's snare, Cooder presents evidence of his protagonist's difficulties living "...on Broadway right next to the liar's house...." before finding solace in God's light. The backing chorus (featuring the late Terry Evans) slips and sways, underscoring every syllable. Cooder doesn't need to testify vocally, the lyrics and his guitar do that. "Shrinking Man" is an original filled with poignant metaphor set to a raucous, bluesy country stomp delivered in electric jug band style. The original "Gentrification" offers biting social satire adorned with layers of acoustic and electric guitars played in Nigerian hi-life style with kalimba, bells, and whistles; its humorous lyrics are rife with the truth. Cooder's readings of Blind Willie Johnson's "Everybody Ought to Treat a Stranger Right" and "Nobody's Fault But Mine" resonate with conviction and gritty determination. Alfred Reed's hymn "You Must Unload" features Robert Francis Commagere on bass and Aubrey Haynie on violin. They color his prophetic vocal in calling the powerful, greedy, and decadent to account. The title cut is traditional. Cooder renders it a grimy, electric, country blues -- complete with an homage to country legend Ralph Mooney's pedal steel guitar playing. Banjo, mandolin, and snares create a frame for Blind Roosevelt Graves' strident "I'll Be Rested When the Roll Is Called," while Carter Stanley's "Harbor of Love" has been recontextualized as a gently soulful, painterly, country-gospel tune. Cooder's own "Jesus and Woody" is a tender allegory sung from the former's viewpoint as he requests the legendary folksinger to sit and play for him as he reflects on sin, fascism, and the dream of a better world. This would have been a great place to stop, but Cooder has another rocker to deliver in the traditional church stomper "In His Care," where crisscrossing rhythms and gospel strut meet rebellious roots rock & roll. His reliance on gospel here illuminates his commitment to equality. Prodigal Son is yet another act of committed intention from one of American music's greatest guardians and purveyors. In its grain, aesthetic pleasure and the will for justice converse and ultimately convince the rest of us to act. ~ Thom Jurek
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 11, 2018 | Fantasy Records

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Country - Released April 27, 2018 | Fantasy Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 19, 2018 | Fantasy Records

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California native Van William (aka Van Pierszalowski) has been kicking around the music industry since the mid-2000s, first fronting the indie folk combo Port O'Brien, then later forming the glossier rock outfit WATERS. Achieving a modicum of commercial success and some critical respect for each project, he's always been a little tough to pin down in terms of direction and style. While the more organically inclined Port O'Brien showed wild flourishes of creativity, the young singer/songwriter still seemed to be finding his artistic footing. WATERS, on the other hand, brandished the kind of big pop sound that seemed deliberately aimed for chart success. That's not to say that Countries, William's debut as a solo artist, entirely puts all the pieces together, but it does come across as his most honest release to date. Loosely billed as a break-up record, Countries is by no means a brooding soundtrack to heartbreak. A sort of wayfaring narrative of life's emotional peaks, valleys, and the road to healing, William opts for a panoramic folk-rock tone that is ultimately optimistic. Folkier than WATERS and hookier than Port O'Brien, the sound isn't quite rough-edged, but there is something almost Midwestern in its appeal, like the graying of West Coast dreaming into fly-over state realism. You can hear it in aptly titled standouts like "The Country" and "The Middle," where William's inherent knack for strong melodicism meets a newfound warmth and authenticity. With no band name to hide behind, the journeyman musician has chosen a pleasingly mature and introspective set of songs to represent his first solo outing. ~ Timothy Monger
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 19, 2018 | Fantasy Records

Places have always mattered a great deal for Van Pierszalowski a.k.a. Van William: California, where he grew up, as well as Alaska, which he regularly visits and where he was even a professional fisherman, and Norway, at last… It’s probably for this reason that the former leader of the band Port O’Brien has called this disc Countries.  It’s an album that blends folk, rock, pop and country in a fluid and almost cinematographic way. Most of all, this opus highlights more than ever the romantic voice of this endearing songwriter. This romance sometimes hurts (the consequences of a break-up sometimes rear their heads) and sometimes finds the perfect shrine in interlacing light guitar with soft percussion and incandescent harmonies. In this enchanting modern folk rock digression, you’ll even find the Söderberg sisters (a.k.a. First Aid Kit) on the title Revolution. © CM/Qobuz
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Rock - Released December 8, 2017 | Fantasy Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1953 | Fantasy Records

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Jazz - Released September 1, 2003 | Fantasy Records

Cuban Fantasy consists of previously unissued selections from two 1977 concerts by Cal Tjader at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, though this is anything but an example of clearing out tape vaults simply to issue new product. Joined by pianist Clare Fischer, conga player Poncho Sanchez, guitarist Bob Redfield, bassist Rob Fisher, and drummer Pete Riso, Tjader energizes the crowd with his interpretation of Ray Bryant's infectious "Cuban Fantasy," switching over from vibes to timbales to build it to an exciting climax. Fisher contributed the subtle "Guarabe," while the engaging arrangement of Mongo Santamaria's "Tu Crees Que?" would have had the audience on their feet dancing had this been recorded outdoors. This is one of Cal Tjader's best groups, and it is a shame that this music remained hidden for a quarter century. ~ Ken Dryden
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Jazz - Released September 11, 1954 | Fantasy Records

Mambo with Tjader was one of vibraphonist and composer Cal Tjader's first major recordings. Fascinated with the rhythms and atmospheres of Latin music, Tjader was one of the first musicians to successfully fuse South American musical styles with straight-ahead jazz. In retrospect, the lush, laid-back, vibes-heavy groove of Tjader's inventions anticipates the "lounge" music of the '50s and '60s -- offering the sort of soft, swinging soundtrack appropriate for the consumption of dry martinis on leatherette love seats. But Mambo with Tjader is valuable for more than mere kitsch factor. Over the course of the album's 12 tracks, a rich tapestry of tropical percussion works through three rhythmic models -- the mambo, the cha-cha, and the bolero. Overlaid with jazz structures and Tjader's easygoing vibes playing, this set is a tasty cross-section of early Tropicalia. While the disc lacks the hot salsa that would characterize El Sonido Nuevo or the large-scale orchestrations of the composer's collaborations with Lalo Schifrin, Mambo with Tjader is a vintage exploration of the fusion of jazz and Latin music. ~ Rovi Staff
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Rock - Released October 27, 2017 | Fantasy Records

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Rock - Released October 27, 2017 | Fantasy Records

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