Listen Up: Dave Stewart, Matchbox Twenty, and more
This week in music
By Steve Jones, Jerry Shriver and Edna Gundersen, USA TODAYSeptember 3, 2012
So what if the former Eurythmics mastermind is a bit vocally challenged? He's a terrific songwriter, guitarist and producer and surrounds himself with great players and vocalists such as Alison Krauss, Joss Stone, Jessie Baylin and Diane Birch. Stewart reveals just enough of the love-perplexed man behind the curtain to keep us entranced.
Pianist Corea and vibraphonist Burton celebrate their 40th anniversary of their first collaboration with their seventh album together. This long association hasn't dulled the sense of excitement. Fresh takes on the music of Art Tatum, Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans, Dave Brubeck and others are exhilarating and accessible.
These 20 original songs make for a whole lotta Mark. But if you already like the ex-Dire Straits leader's comfortable, well-worn voice and masterful, moody guitar work on his first six solo albums, you'll treasure this stint. The engaging collection of countrified blues, folk-rock and Celtic ballads is a crowning achievement in a stellar career.
Rob Thomas' appealing voice adds distinction to the better tunes on the band's first album in 10 years. But he can't salvage the duds. Despite standouts like Sleeping at the Wheel, nothing here matches the radio-friendly pleasures on 1996's Yourself or Someone Like You. Thomas fell asleep at his own wheelhouse when he let cornball club tune Put Your Hands Up slip in.
Catch up on recent music reviews you might have missed the first time around.