Hello new music lovers. Welcome to NEXT. We have a simple goal: Find you a NEXT, new favorite song. #NextFavoriteSong

“Music is the divine way to tell beautiful, poetic things to the heart..” ― Pablo Casals

Let us begin NEXT week 768 with Doves. One of the more puzzling examples of culture lost in translation is the British musical act that fails to make a popular dent in the states. Plenty of acts from the UK from the Beatles and the Stones to U2 and Oasis have enjoyed a considerable amount of popularity in the U.S. Yet some of Britain’s biggest bands barely register to US music fans. Blur comes to mind. Right behind them has to be Doves, a Manchester trio that released its 6th studio album, “The Universal Want” last week to glowing reviews in the UK press and barely a shrug in the states. It was the band’s first record in 11 years and promptly went straight to number one in the UK album charts. Men in their 50s channeling the memories of their teens through the music of their 30s. Doves amble as they surge, swirling in a middle distance between Radiohead and Coldplay. Doves do represent the best of a form of moody, mid-tempo, atmospheric rock that doesn’t have much of an equivalent in the States. In the UK post Britpop rock has a bunch of bands: Coldplay to Kasabian, Elbow and Travis. Doves are a band with big, well-orchestrated rock songs.

Switchfoot’s Jon Foreman dropped three new songs from his upcoming solo album titled Departures. Listeners can preview the new music with pre-release tracks “Education,” “Red And Gold,” and “Jesus, I Have My Doubts”.  The full album is set to drop on February 12th, full of songs “born from the Journey, not the destination.”

It’s hard to believe that it has almost been five years since the death of David Bowie. What’s even more amazing is that new music from the Starman is still being discovered, including newly-unearthed recordings of David Bowie covering Bob Dylan and John Lennon which were released on Friday, Bowie’s birthday. The recording of Lennon’s “Mother” was made in 1998 alongside longtime producer Tony Visconti for a Lennon tribute album that was ultimately abandoned. Also recorded in 1998 was a take on Dylan’s “Tryin’ To Get To Heaven”, which was taken off the iconic singer-songwriter’s album from the previous year, Time Out Of Mind. The latter cover was made at New York’s Looking Glass studio in February of 1998, coming just five months after the release of Time Out Of Mind. For his take on the iconic Plastic Ono Band track “Mother”, Bowie gives the song the full emotional commitment that it requires. While paying reverence to Lennon and the original version, Bowie also adds some flair of his own with a stiff kickdrum as well as an overdrive-laden guitar that jumps in for the crescendo—a modern take on a vintage classic, even though the cover was recorded over 20 years ago. The same goes for “Tryin’ To Get To Heaven”, a track not nearly as well-known as “Mother”. The dreary opening and syncopated guitar riff sounds like it could have been pulled from a later Soundgarden album before Bowie comes in to soften things with Dylan’s lyrics. To celebrate what would have been Bowie’s 74th birthday, his estate released these two gems. Covers of Dylan’s “Tryin’ to Get to Heaven” and Lennon’s “Mother” remind us again (as if we needed reminding) why we miss Bowie so much.

The Black Crowes’ 30th anniversary edition of Shake Your Money Maker is coming soon. The Black Crowes are to release an expanded 30th anniversary edition of their classic debut album, Shake Your Money Maker. Chris and Rich Robinson’s band will re-issue the album, originally released on February 13, 1990 [so, er, 31 years ago], in various formats on February 26, via UMe/American Recordings. For Crowes fans, the most enticing-looking editions are the four LP/three CD Super Deluxe sets, which includes a remastered version of the original album, three never-before-heard studio recordings, two unreleased demos from the band’s early incarnation as Mr. Crowe’s Garden, single B-sides and a previously unreleased 14-song gig recording, taped in the band’s Atlanta, Georgia hometown in December 1990. These box sets also include reproductions of an early Mr. Crowe’s Garden show flyer, setlist and tour laminate, a Crowes patch and a 20-page book with liner notes by Rolling Stone journalist David Fricke.

It’s been close to five years since we’ve heard a new batch of songs from Nashville’s original homegrown rock stars, Kings of Leon. The band plans to release their eighth studio album, “When You See Yourself.” You can hear two songs from the project — the gritty, up-tempo “The Bandit” and synth-spiked “100,000 People.” Both tracks suggest a calming spin on the rough-and-tumble garage rock of the band’s early days. 

The Deluxe Anniversary Edition of Brothers features a number of editions to what proved to be the Akron, OH-bred duo’s mainstream breakthrough. In addition to “Keep My Name Outta Your Mouth” and “Black Mud Part II”, the re-release also hosted the rarity “Chop and Change”, which would appear on the soundtrack for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. These two new-to-you singles are reminiscent of a bygone era of The Black Keys. In 2010, the Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach outfit was a garage rock staple of the American underground alternative scene. With Brothers, however, the band finally poked its head out into the sunlight of commercial success with “Tighten Up” which spent ten weeks at number one on the Alternative Songs chart. The two extra songs included on the Brothers expanded edition, however, aren’t any of those radio-friendly earworms. Rather, “Keep My Name Outta Your Mouth” is still awash in the indie club, backroom fuzz that was the foundation of the group’s early sound. The arrival of Auerbach’s vocals do provide some resemblance to the group’s future star power, but it is well hidden beneath an impenetrable layer of instrumental distortion. Later, the lyricless “Black Mud Part II” serves as a coda to “Black Mud” found earlier on the record, and provides an extra two-and-a-half minutes of eerie alternative soundscapes.

Fort Frances is a cool chicago band with a name from Canada. Things are undeniably tough, but this song shows that any semblance of solidarity is crucial to powering through. From the near-decade of Fort Frances’ existence as a band, McMillin’s lyrics come as a welcome reminder that things might be ok. 

Nathaniel Ratliff’s latest is lyrically about being redeemed from all of one’s misgivings and whether or not the individual is worthy of redemption. This is made clear in the line “Are you worthy of being saved / all your fears and insecurities.” He also states “While redemption seems far away / While I stumble through every day / just set me free / keep running until we learn to find peace.” Missouri Born, Denver based singer-songwriter Nathaniel Rateliff shared a new single entitled “Redemption.” The single is scheduled to appear in an upcoming Apple Original film entitled Palmer.

Steve Earle pays moving tribute to his son’s talent. Steve Earle has recorded tribute albums before, to songwriting mentors Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark. But this one is different. Maybe that’s because he started recording it just months after his son, Justin Townes Earle, died alone in his Nashville apartment of an accidental overdose at the age of 38. It feels like something he had to do, a father’s way of grieving. “J.T.” consists of 10 of his son’s songs and one original composition, “Last Words.“ Oddly, the one new song feels impersonal even as it recounts their last phone call. The details are intimate but somehow generic, and Steve Earle reveals more about their relationship in liner notes and interviews. But how can you blame a father for not being vulnerable enough in his grief? The hurt could be too raw to be so far out there, the way Steve Earle has been throughout his career. Still, the more moving homage comes in the careful curation and performance of the son’s songs. The passion Steve Earle and his band, which once included Justin in their ranks, poured into them is palpable. One can imagine the heartbroken father, working his way through his son’s impressive but suddenly finite catalog, making careful, loving choices.

Cat Ridgeway demonstrates her multi-instrumental skills: besides assuming lead vocals, Ridgeway plays guitar, various keyboards, mandolin, trumpet, and percussion over the course of the approximately twenty-five minutes duration. Cat Ridgeway is a skilled singer/songwriter from Orlando, FL known for her soulful vocals, high energy, and magnetic stage presence. She recently caught the attention of hit songwriter Shawn Mullins (known for his 1998 chart-topper “Lullaby”), who has personally invited her to open several of his shows and joined her in her hometown for the release show celebrating her latest project, “Nice to Meet You”. Her band was also recently voted one of Orlando’s Best Rock Acts by local music lovers. “…(Cat’s) totally got it going on, and she’s just a phenomenal singer/songwriter… occasionally [helping an up-and-coming artist] happens. It hasn’t happened in a long time… you know, I gave John Mayer’s demos to Columbia Records back in the day… when you see something and you hear something that’s really great, it’s just part of your duty to pass it along to the people who need to hear it…” -Shawn Mullins


Passenger is working through heartbreak. It’s a nice treat for fans, and an interesting insight into the genesis of these songs which, in total, add up to an engaging and rewarding record. There is something comforting about these sweet, sad, sentimental songs. Though his voice is unmistakable, Passenger is doing nothing new. But in the midst of a long hard winter, there is something comforting about his sweet, sad, sentimental songs.

I hear DBT don’t you? While country music has grown overproduced and glamorous, this young, gritty musician embodies the traditions that built the genre. In the last two decades, country music has become a pop-ified, glamorous and overly produced genre. Enter Zach Bryan, a 23-year-old singer with a guitar, an unkempt mustache and a grainy, desperately romantic voice. Bryan, an Oklahoma native, posts most of his music on his YouTube channel directly from his iPhone.

Bowie I’ll guess would be happy. Duran Duran have released their version of David Bowie’s track “Five Years”, to honour the music icon. David Bowie passed away in 2016 and this month would have marked the singer’s 74th birthday.. This comes as the band appeared alongside several high profile figures in a livestream A Bowie Celebration: Just for One Day. It was organised by Bowie’s long time pianist, Mike Garson. Stars included Boy George, Ricky Gervais and Slipknot’s Corey Taylor among others. Regarding the band’s cover, Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon said that David Bowie was the “reason I started writing songs“. Le Bon said, “My life as a teenager was all about David Bowie. Adding, “Part of me still can’t believe in his death five years ago, but maybe that’s because there’s a part of me where he’s still alive and always will be”. Le Bon continued, “When we got the ‘Ziggy Stardust’ LP and put the needle in the groove, our first taste of its perfection was the song ‘Five Years’”. Simon Le Bon described being asked to help commemorate the music of David Bowie as an honour. LeBon said, “I can’t begin to explain how honoured I feel for Duran Duran to be given the opportunity to perform this icon, and to place our name alongside Bowie’s for this commemoration of his music”.

The Chills give us a baroque, propulsive, and deeply catchy track. Chills mastermind Martin Phillipps cites Love’s Forever Changes as a primary influence, but it’s just as much part of the post-punk and indie-pop traditions that have always informed the Kiwi underground. Phillipps bills this song as a quest for truth and hope in a time of misinformation and despair. Here’s a statement from Martin Phillipps: These are unprecedented times but, as usual, the young feel invulnerable and the elders are concerned. The old people (like me) want to feel more involved but they also know that their time of influence has largely passed. So we learn from the young and admire them as they make their own mistakes yet still, hopefully, shape extraordinary history we could not have imagined.

Music is Life. And new music keeps you young at heart. And keeps your mind nimble. It’s science. Do the google if you don’t believe me.

It was tough before Covid 19. Now more than ever we need to support these bands. Even something as simple as buying an album, or a ticket to a show (when live music comes back or if they are hosting online events), or a tee shirt. And if you can buy directly from them. Even better. Thank you.

Spotify playlist updates on Thursday(ish). Link to Chris Bro on Spotify.


WARNING may contain bad words. Or may not. Depends.

You can listen to NEXT on the radio. Listen to NEXT on Ocean 98 in Maryland Sunday nights at 10. Or Saturday afternoon on VOBB in Canada

Artist and Song Title:

  • Doves – For Tomorrow
  • Jon Foreman – Education
  • David Bowie – Tryin’ To Get To Heaven (Bob Dylan Cover)
  • The Black Crowes – Charming Mess
  • Kings of Leon – The Bandit
  • The Black Keys – Keep My Name Outta Your Mouth
  • Fort Frances – The Year of Impossibilities
  • Nathaniel Ratliff – Redemption
  • Steve Earle – Turn Out My Lights (Justin Earle Cover)
  • Cat Ridgeway – Giving You Up
  • Passenger – Remember to Forget
  • Zach Bryan – Heading South
  • Duran Duran – Five Years (David Bowie Cover)
  • The Chills – You’re Immortal

and remember if you love someone hug them right now

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