Fresh Audio For Your Ears – Friday, Sept. 11

Ben Folds and yMusic

Today, there are two highly anticipated album releases by two critically acclaimed artists that are exploring the territory of blues and classical music, and pulling it through a modern wormhole.

Ben Folds What can’t Ben Folds do? The singer-songwriter reunited with Ben Folds Five for his last album released in 2012. on “So There,” released on New West Records, Folds collaborated with yMusic to record eight chamber rock songs and also recorded his 2013 Concerto for Piano and Orchestra with the Nashville Symphony, conducted by Giancarlo Guerrero.

Folds has always blended the worlds of rock, pop and jazz in his songs but since diving into the symphony world a couple years ago, his fire burns for chamber rock; which combines pop and classical music for a fresh, inspirational sound.

The album is classic Folds backed by a group of classical artists from yMusic: Rob Moose, CJ Camerieri, Gabriel Cabezas, Alex Sopp, Hideaki Aomori and Nadia Sirota. His lyrics are deep, talking about operations and regrets as well as quirky and fun. I can’t get the rhythm of “F10-D-A” out of my head as fold sings the progression “F-to-the-A. F-to-the-A. F-to-the-A, with a D. With a D. With a big fat D. C.”

See for the various editions and methods of purchasing “So There” or listen to the album on Spotify.

Gary Clark Jr. Not enough people know about Gary Clark Jr. The prophetic singer, songwriter and guitarist has won two Grammy Awards and has been in the studio working on “The Story of Sonny Boy Slim” since his major label debut “Blak and Blu” in 2012.

The Austin-based guitarist is not just a blues player – Clark Jr. is a young master at the guitar. He’s probably the best guitarist of his generation or at least tied with with Derek Trucks, who is 36 to Clark’s 31. Still, the blues tracks on “The Story of Sonny Boy Slim,” and his relentless guitar solos are both powerful and insightful. See to see the various packages available for “The Story of Sonny Boy Slim” or listen to it on Spotify.

Slayer Slayer reminds us they can still thrash on its newest album “Repentless,” released Friday, Sept. 11. The band’s 11th studio album is without two major players, replaced by drummer Paul Bostaph and guitarist Gary Holt who join guitarist Kerry King and singer and bassist Tom Araya. The band is also without longtime producer Rick Rubin. See for information about “Repentless,” or listen on Spotify.

Other new releases include: “Anthems for Doomed Youth” by 90s British rock band The Libertines  including frontman Pete Dougherty and Alaskan singer-songwriter Jewel released “Picking Up The Pieces.”

If you remember Jewel, even if you’re not a fan, I highly recommend you listen to Steve Poltz sing the song and tell about how he co-wrote “You Were Meant For Me,” after he and Jewel were caught up in a Mexican drug bust. You can watch it on YouTube or listen to him perform it on his latest album “Live at the Belly Up” on Spotify. Or you can just look at the photo of Poltz holding a kilo of marijuana and Jewel holding an AK-47.

What’s on your weekend playlist? Leave your comments below or on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ and Instagram. #TheHighNote