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Celebrating the Year in Nonesuch Music: 2013

  • Friday, December 20, 2013
    Celebrating the Year in Nonesuch Music: 2013

    As 2013 draws to a close, and the Nonesuch Journal takes a bit of a hiatus till the start of 2014, it's time to take a look back and remember all of the great and diverse music made by Nonesuch artists over the past year. Many of these artists and their recent Nonesuch releases have made music critics' and fans' year-end best lists. Here, in words and music and in chronological order (more or less), is a look back at the year in Nonesuch music:


     

    FEBRUARY

    Nataly Dawn: How I Knew Her

    Nataly Dawn
    How I Knew Her

    The new year in Nonesuch music began with the Nonesuch debut album from Nataly Dawn, an artist new to the label but familiar to fans of the duo Pomplamoose, of which she is one half. How I Knew Her, released February 12, comprises 12 autobiographical, introspective songs by Dawn, produced by her longtime partner Jack Conte (the other half of Pomplamoose) and recorded with a group of accomplished musicians—Ryan Lerman, David Piltch, Louis Cole, and Matt Chamberlain—at Prairie Sun Studios, where many of her favorite Tom Waits albums had been made. Mojo gave the album four stars, as did the Daily Telegraph, which called it "delightful." The BBC called it "the sound of a woman brimming with ideas as she seizes her moment."

    Throughout the year, Dawn released a number of videos of songs from the album shot at the recording sessions, and in October came the official music video for the album track "Leslie."



     

    Pat Metheny: The Orchestrion Project

    Pat Metheny
    The Orchestrion Project

    The first of Pat Metheny's two albums to be released on Nonesuch this year was The Orchestrion Project, released on February 12. Recorded at a church in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, The Orchestrion Project showcases the full evolution of the Orchestrion as documented at the tail end of a sprawling 2010 world tour. The two-disc set features all five tunes from Metheny's Orchestrion—“a soaring five-movement suite featuring some of the most intricate music he's ever created" (Boston Globe)—plus eight additional Metheny compositions, which he plays on his phalanx of remarkable, custom-made instruments via solenoid switches and pneumatics. Q gave the album four stars, as did the Observer, which called it "fresh, elegant and surprising." The album, said the Financial Times, "captures the guitarist in inspired form." The Orchestrion Project recently landed on the Best of Echoes 2013 Listener Poll.



     

    Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell: Old Yellow Moon

    Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell
    Old Yellow Moon

    Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell began what would prove to be a banner year with the February 26 release of and subsequent months-long tour in support of Old Yellow Moon, their first official collaboration since Crowell joined Harris’s Hot Band in 1975. The 12-track duets album features songs written by Crowell as well as interpretations of songs by Hank DeVito, Roger Miller, Allen Reynolds, and others. Among the world-renowned musicians on the album are Stuart Duncan, Vince Gill, Bill Payne, and members of the original Hot Band. "It hearkens back to classic recordings like Harris's Elite Hotel and Crowell's Diamonds and Dirt," said NPR Music, "and brings the best out of the two veterans."

    Old Yellow Moon went on to earn Harris and Crowell two Americana Music Awards, for Duo of the Year and Album of the Year, and has been nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Americana Album, with the winner to be announced in January. It has landed on the year-end-best lists of Uncut, Mojo, Daily Telegraph, and American Songwriter, was named the No. 1 Singer-Songwriter Album of 2013 by the CBC, and is among Amazon's Customer Favorite Albums of 2013. Harris and Crowell made their Austin City Limits duo debut on PBS in November and recently performed for the Opry and the Ryman.



     

    MARCH

    Devendra Banhart: Mala

    Devendra Banhart
    Mala

    Devendra Banhart made his Nonesuch debut with the March 29 release of Mala, his eighth studio album. Mala took shape in Los Angeles, where Banhart and longtime cohort Noah Georgeson produced the album together, playing most of the instruments themselves, using borrowed equipment and a recorder they’d found in a pawn shop. The LP, pressed on 140-gram vinyl, includes the album on CD and an additional 7” with two bonus tracks. The Guardian said it's a "triumph," giving it four stars, as did Q, which called this "enthralling" album a "career best." The New Yorker called it a "thought-provoking joy."

    Mala was recently included in Q magazine's list of the 50 Albums of the Year. The album track "Mi Negrita" was named among MTV Iggy's Best Latin Alternative Tracks of 2013. Mala landed at #24 on the CMJ radio chart of the Top 200 of 2013.

    In October, the official music video for the Mala track "Für Hildegard von Bingen," directed by Isaiah Seret, premiered on MOCAtv.



     

    APRIL

    Bombino: Nomad

    Bombino
    Nomad

    Tuareg guitarist, singer, and songwriter Omara "Bombino" Moctar made his Nonesuch debut with the April 2 release of Nomad. The album, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard World Music Chart, was produced by The Black KeysDan Auerbach, leading NPR to call the pairing "inspired," noting that Bombino's "sound and style are alluring on a global scale." NPR's All Things Considered said the album is "a landmark in African rock music." The Los Angeles Times said that "anyone who has ever appreciated a master player make magic on a Fender ... will find comfort in Bombino’s music." Rolling Stone said: "A perfect match of sound and soul, the set introduces a new guitar hero, and confirms Auerbach’s arrival as a roots-music producer to be reckoned with." The BBC called it "utterly, utterly fantastic."

    On April 20, Nonesuch released a special 10" single of the album track "Azamane Tiliade" with an exclusive non-album B-side, "Si Chilan," for Record Store Day 2013.

    Nomad has brought Bombino a bounty of year-end accolades, landing on the Best of 2013 lists of NPR, the CBC, iTunes, Rolling Stone, Uncut, Chicago Tribune, and Philadelphia Inquirer, and earning the highest ranking of any new world-music album on the CMJ Top 200 of 2013. 

    Bombino and his band, who have spent much of 2013 touring Europe and North America, close out the year by launching a two-week tour of Australia on December 29. They then kick off the next leg of their European tour in Paris on January 15. 

     



     

    Iron and Wine: Ghost on Ghost

    Iron and Wine
    Ghost on Ghost

    Iron and Wine made its Nonesuch Records debut with the April 16 release of Ghost on Ghost, the fifth release from singer-songwriter Sam Beam under that pen name. The album was recorded in Brooklyn and produced by Beam’s longtime associate Brian Deck. "Every song feels lived in, and radiates palpable warmth," said American Songwriter; they "sound absolutely sublime." Uncut too called it "sublime ... a work of immense beauty and scale." The AP said: "Ghost on Ghost is a wonderfully produced and assembled record, propelled with joyous momentum even on tracks with darker lyrics ... With each successive album, Beam has been able to gradually expand and layer his sound with taste and dexterity."

    For Record Store Day, on April 20, Nonesuch released a special 7" including two exclusive tracks unavailable anywhere else: "Next to Paradise" and "Dirty Dream."

    Following the release of Ghost on Ghost, Iron and Wine toured across North America, including performances on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Conan, and Jimmy Kimmel Live, and recently made a special appearance on Fallon to perform with Calexico, Glenn Hansard, and Kathleen Edwards. The performers had just come from the Holiday Cheer for FUV benefit concert, highlights from which will be broadcast on NYC public radio station 90.7 FM WFUV on Monday, December 23, at noon and on Christmas Day at 7:30 PM.

    Ghost on Ghost was included among the Best New Releases of 2013 by Uncut and on Public Radio's Heavy Rotation list from KUTX, WFUV, and World Café. The album landed at No. 19 on CMJ's Top 200 of 2013 and at No. 2 of CMJ's Top AAA chart for the year.



     

    MAY

    Joshua Redman: Walking Shadows

    Joshua Redman
    Walking Shadows

    On May 7, Joshua Redman released Walking Shadows, his first recording to include an orchestral ensemble. The album was produced by Redman's friend and frequent collaborator Brad Mehldau; its core ensemble is a quartet featuring Mehldau, Larry Grenadier, and Brian Blade. Walking Shadows includes original tunes from both Redman and Mehldau along with works by a wide range of composers, like John Mayer and Pino Palladino, Kern and Hammerstein, and Lennon and McCartney. Buffalo News called it "an unmitigated triumph ... one of the jazz discs of the year." The New York Times said "there hasn’t been a more sublimely lyrical gesture in his 20-year recording career."

    Walking Shadows made the 2013 NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll and landed on the CMJ radio chart for Top Jazz.

    Earlier this month, Redman joined a group of jazz all-stars onstage at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, to pay tribute in performance to Herbie Hancock, who was receiving a Kennedy Center Honors. Tune in to celebration gala broadcast on CBS on Sunday, December 29, at 9 PM ET/PT.



     

    Sam Amidon: Bright Sunny South

    Sam Amidon
    Bright Sunny South

    Sam Amidon made his Nonesuch Records debut with the release of Bright Sunny South on May 14. The album was produced by Amidon with Thomas Bartlett (a.k.a. Doveman) and legendary English engineer Jerry Boys. The Guardian, Mojo, and Q all gave it four stars. Drowned in Sound called it Amidon's " most emotionally and tonally complex LP to date." The vinyl edition was released in September and includes the complete album program plus a bonus 7" disc featuring two previously unreleased recordings.

    Shortly after the album's release, NPR premiered the official video for the album track "As I Roved Out," directed by John Hardwick. MusicOMH said the song "is arguably the most striking track on the album."

    Bright Sunny South made the No. 1 spot on Magnet's list of the Best of 2013: Indie Roots and appears on Mojo's list of the year's Best Americana Albums. NPR includes Amidon's take on "My Old Friend" among its 100 Favorite Songs of 2013.



     

    Pat Metheny: Tap: John Zorn's Book of Angels, Vol. 20

    Pat Metheny
    Tap: John Zorn's Book of Angels, Vol. 20

    Pat Metheny’s second release of 2013 was his recording of John Zorn’s Tap: The Book of Angels, Vol. 20 from Zorn’s Masada Book Two. The album is the first collaboration between the two artists. Besides his frequent collaborator, drummer Antonio Sanchez, Metheny plays all other instruments—guitars, sitar, tiples, bass, keyboards, orchestrionics, electronics, bandoneón, percussion, flugelhorn, and more—himself. The New York Times called the album "an impressive feat of imagination, and a strikingly clear distillation of both artists’ distinctive languages." NPR said it's a "stunningly vivid sound world." The Independent concluded: "It's all dazzlingly virtuosic and evocative."

    Tap has made the NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll of the year's best, Best Albums of 2013 lists from Downbeat and All About Jazz, and the Best of Echoes 2013 Listener Poll and landed on the CMJ radio chart for Top Jazz.


     

    Audra McDonald: Go Back Home

    Audra McDonald
    Go Back Home

    Audra McDonald released her first solo album in seven years, Go Back Home, on May 21. The album features songs by composers with whom she has long been associated (Guettel, LaChiusa, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Sondheim) and some, like the Kander & Ebb title track, relatively new to her repertoire; in addition, she continues to champion works by an emerging generation of composers. "As usual," said the Los Angeles Times, "she stuns upon entrance, exit and everything else." New York raved: "It’s entirely possible that Audra McDonald is the greatest singer alive." USA Today said: "McDonald has one of the warmest, most glorious singing voices on the planet."

    To coincide with the album's release, Audra McDonald performed at Lincoln Center's spring gala in a concert featuring songs from the album that was then telecast on PBS as part of Live From Lincoln Center. "Absolutely thrilling," raved the New York Times' Stephen Holden of the concert. "The very sound of the word 'thrilling,' with its suggestion of an embedded trill, evokes qualities inherent in Ms. McDonald’s soprano, which seemed to unfurl in ever-richer textures as she imbued songs with a sense of bursting possibility ... A defining voice of our time."

    McDonald went on to tour the US with songs from the album and made a number of television appearances, including Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Colbert Report, and, most recently, NBC's Christmas in Rockefeller Center and the live broadcast of The Sound of Music.

    Audra McDonald was named Musician of the Year by Musical America, which presented her with the award in a ceremony at Lincoln Center earlier this week.



     

    JUNE

    Sing Me the Songs: Celebrating the Works of Kate McGarrigle

    Sing Me the Songs:
    Celebrating the Works of Kate McGarrigle

    On June 25, Nonesuch Records released Sing Me the Songs: Celebrating the Works of Kate McGarrigle, featuring highlights from three concerts in honor of the late singer-songwriter Kate McGarrigle, held in London, Toronto, and New York. The two-CD set was produced by Joe Boyd, who curated the concerts, and features performances by Rufus and Martha Wainwright, Anna McGarrigle, Emmylou Harris, Antony, Norah Jones, Teddy Thompson, and others. The Guardian called it "glorious."

    That same day, the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) screened the documentary Sing Me the Songs That Say I Love You: A Concert for Kate McGarrigle, directed by Lian Lunson, which showcases the New York concerts heard on the album. The following day, BAM presented a concert featuring Rufus and Martha, Norah Jones, Emmylou Harris, and others celebrating McGarrigle's rich career.

    Proceeds from these events and from sales of the album benefit the Kate McGarrigle Foundation for sarcoma research.



     

    JULY

    Timo Andres: Home Stretch

    Timo Andres
    Home Stretch

    Composer/pianist Timo Andres released his second Nonesuch album, Home Stretch, on July 30. The album pairs the newly composed title work with two reinventions of works by musical heroes in Mozart "Coronation" Concerto Re-Composition, described by The New Yorker's Alex Ross as "mesmerizing," and Paraphrase on Themes of Brian Eno. Metropolis Ensemble chamber orchestra performs with the composer on piano. The album, said NPR, offers "thought-provoking glimpses into how the past and the present merge in classical music today." The Chicago Reader said it "bursts with creativity." The Guardian and the Independent gave it four stars.

    Gramophone included Home Stretch in its year-end Critics' Choice 2013 list. The album also made the San Jose Mercury News's Best of 2013 classical list, with music critic Richard Scheinin saying: "The music is lyric, humorous, at times surreal, and always gorgeously crafted." Paraphrase on Themes of Brian Eno was recently included among NPR's 100 Favorite Songs of 2013.



     

    AUGUST

    Chris Thile: Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1

    Chris Thile
    Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1

    On August 6, mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile released Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1, on which he performs three Bach works written for solo violin: Sonata No. 1 in G minor, BWV 1001; Partita No. 1 in B minor, BWV 1002; and Sonata No. 2 in A minor, BWV 1003. The vinyl album, featuring the first two pieces, was released in September. "His timing is meticulous," said The New Yorker, "but his version also has the liveliness that improvising musicians sometimes can bring to written material." Gramophone exclaimed: "This is extraordinary playing from an extraordinary musician who is willing to stretch stylistic and technical boundaries to further his art while paying homage to one of the greatest composers of all time." The album was produced by Edgar Meyer.

    Gramophone included released Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1 in its year-end Critics' Choice 2013 list. Thile's performance of the Partita No. 1 in B minor made the list of Heavy Rotation: Public Radio's Songs of 2013 from Classical New England.



     

    SEPTEMBER

    Ry Cooder & Corridos Famosos: Live in San Francisco

    Ry Cooder & Corridos Famosos
    Live in San Francisco

    Ry Cooder’s first live record in more than 35 years, Live in San Francisco, was released on Nonesuch / Perro Verde Records on September 10. The album was recorded in 2011 during a special two-night engagement with the Corridos Famosos band and a ten-piece Mexican brass band at San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall. "One of those nights when you wish you'd been in Row A," said the Times of London. The album, produced by Cooder, includes original songs and interpretations of other material from throughout his career, as well as Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs' "Wooly Bully" and Lead Belly's "Goodnight Irene."

    The Morton Report's Bill Bentley recently included Live in San Francisco among his Favorite Albums of 2013. The album finds "guitarist extraordinaire Ry Cooder," says Bentley, "playing lead and rhythm parts that defy gravity and logic. There is no one else doing these things on guitar anymore except Cooder, and with any luck he will continue for a very long time."



     

    Rokia Traoré: Beautiful Africa

    Rokia Traoré
    Beautiful Africa

    Rokia Traoré's new album, Beautiful Africa, received its North American release on September 24, following an international release earlier in the year. Produced by John Parish (PJ Harvey, Eels, Sparklehorse), Rokia the album earned perfect five-star reviews from the Observer, Guardian, and Songlines, which raved: "It really doesn’t get better than this in today’s African music ... Rokia’s work is exciting, surprising, and always perfectly executed." The New York Times said: "Traoré has a gentle voice with a steely core, one that’s revealed more clearly than ever on Beautiful Africa." NPR said the album "is just as smart and lovely as its creator."

    Beautiful Africa has made a multitude of best-of-the-year lists, both in Europe and North America: from Songlines, Uncut, Mojo, the music editors at iTunes, NPR, the CBC, the Chicago Tribune, and Independent on Sunday. The album made the CMJ Top World radio chart. The track "Mélancolie" was recently included among NPR's 100 Favorite Songs of 2013.



     

    Jeremy Denk: Bach: Goldberg Variations

    Jeremy Denk
    J.S. Bach: Goldberg Variations

    Jeremy Denk's recording of J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations was released September 30, just days after he was named a 2013 MacArthur Fellow, also known as the "Genius" grant. The album includes a companion DVD with video "liner notes" of Denk demonstrating passages on the piano as he explains certain details of the iconic piece. The New York Times has remarked on Denk's "profound affinity with Bach," and the Philadelphia Inquirer has called his performance of the Goldberg Variations "mesmerizing." NPR said: "Once you've entered the Denkian dimension, you won't want to leave."

    Denk's recording of the Goldberg Variations was named the No. 1 Classical Music Album of the Year by the CBC and has made the Best of 2013 list from the San Jose Mercury News and the list of the New York Times Critics’ Favorite Classical Recordings of 2013. "The result of years of study and exploration are admirably clear in this alluring reading, notable for its clarity, pulse and coloristic flair," says the Times' Vivien Schweitzer. The New Yorker's Alex Ross also includes the album among the Notable Classical Recordings of 2013, as do the music editors at iTunes. Jeremy Denk was named Instrumentalist of the Year by Musical America.



     

    NOVEMBER

    Billy Bragg & Wilco: Mermaid Avenue, Vol. III

    Billy Bragg & Wilco
    Mermaid Avenue, Vols. 1-3 (Vinyl)

    On the acclaimed Mermaid Avenue albums, Billy Bragg and Wilco put music to lyrics by folk legend Woody Guthrie for which he had not written music or made recordings. On November 29, to coincide with Record Store Day Black Friday, Nonesuch Records reissued the first two volumes on vinyl and released, for the first time on vinyl, a third volume comprising 17 previously unreleased recordings made during the original sessions, which was first released in the 2012 three-CD-plus-DVD set Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions. Each volume was pressed on 2-LP, 180-gram vinyl at Pallas MFG in Diepholz, Germany.

    The New York Times said of the first volume, “[Tweedy and Bragg] are the perfect pair to conclude that Guthrie, far from a predictable Popular Front totem, was a prophetic rock-and-roller with a whole lot to say. All he needed was a band and a little freedom …"


     

    Inside Llewyn Davis: Original Soundtrack Recording

    Inside Llewyn Davis
    Original Soundtrack Recording

    Inside Llewyn Davis, the new film written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, stars Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund, and Justin Timberlake. The film's soundtrack, produced by T Bone Burnett, Joel Coen, and Ethan Coen, with Marcus Mumford as its associate producer, was released on Nonesuch Records on November 11 and features 12 new recordings created especially for the film and soundtrack. Also included is a never-before-released recording of Bob Dylan performing his song "Farewell," which was originally recorded during the sessions for his album The Times They Are A-Changin' and is available exclusively on this soundtrack.

    The film, which opened in New York and Los Angeles earlier this month and opens in additional theaters across the United States today, has received great critical acclaim, landing on a number of lists of the Best Movies of 2013, including those of The New Yorker, Associated Press, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Variety, Film Comment, Village Voice, American Film Institute, Toronto Film Critics Association, and the New York Times, whose A.O. Scott calls this "a year of superabundant quality" in film and places Inside Llewyn Davis at No. 1. "The musical performances—especially from Oscar Isaac, who plays the title character—are hauntingly lovely."

    Inside Llewyn Davis has been nominated for three Golden Globe Awards: Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy; Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy, for Oscar Isaac; and Best Original Song, Motion Picture, for "Please Mr. Kennedy." The film is nominated for the LA Film Critics Award for Best Music Score, and topped IndieWire's Critics' Poll of the Best Original Score or Soundtrack. The music editors at iTunes named the soundtrack among the year's best. CBS Sunday Morning contributor Bill Flanagan includes the soundtrack on his 2013 music picks for Christmas, calling it "one of my favorite records of the year."



     

    AND MORE ...

    There is, of course, more great music to come in 2014. Pre-orders are already available for the debut recording from the Pat Metheny Unity Group, Kin (←→), and the debut album from Brad Mehldau and Mark Guiliana's electric duo, Mehliana: Taming the Dragon. The new year will also bring a live album from the one-night-only concert at New York's Town Hall, Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating the Music of "Inside Llewyn Davis," and much more.

    All of the 2013 albums above can be purchased in the Nonesuch Store, where all currently released CDs, LPs, and DVDs (pre-orders excluded) are 34% off suggested retail price—that's about 20% off the price listed on the site—through New Year's Day in celebration of the store's sixth anniversary; final discount is shown at checkout.

    Happy Holidays from everyone at Nonesuch Records!

    Journal Articles:Artist News
on December 18, 2013 - 4:58pm
Excerpt: 

As 2013 draws to a close, and the Nonesuch Journal takes a bit of a hiatus till the start of 2014, it's time to take a look back and remember all of the great and diverse music made by Nonesuch artists over the past year. Many of these artists and their recent Nonesuch releases have made music critics' and fans' year-end best lists. Here, in words and music and in chronological order (more or less), is a look back at the year in Nonesuch music.

Copy: 

As 2013 draws to a close, and the Nonesuch Journal takes a bit of a hiatus till the start of 2014, it's time to take a look back and remember all of the great and diverse music made by Nonesuch artists over the past year. Many of these artists and their recent Nonesuch releases have made music critics' and fans' year-end best lists. Here, in words and music and in chronological order (more or less), is a look back at the year in Nonesuch music:


 

FEBRUARY

Nataly Dawn: How I Knew Her

Nataly Dawn
How I Knew Her

The new year in Nonesuch music began with the Nonesuch debut album from Nataly Dawn, an artist new to the label but familiar to fans of the duo Pomplamoose, of which she is one half. How I Knew Her, released February 12, comprises 12 autobiographical, introspective songs by Dawn, produced by her longtime partner Jack Conte (the other half of Pomplamoose) and recorded with a group of accomplished musicians—Ryan Lerman, David Piltch, Louis Cole, and Matt Chamberlain—at Prairie Sun Studios, where many of her favorite Tom Waits albums had been made. Mojo gave the album four stars, as did the Daily Telegraph, which called it "delightful." The BBC called it "the sound of a woman brimming with ideas as she seizes her moment."

Throughout the year, Dawn released a number of videos of songs from the album shot at the recording sessions, and in October came the official music video for the album track "Leslie."



 

Pat Metheny: The Orchestrion Project

Pat Metheny
The Orchestrion Project

The first of Pat Metheny's two albums to be released on Nonesuch this year was The Orchestrion Project, released on February 12. Recorded at a church in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, The Orchestrion Project showcases the full evolution of the Orchestrion as documented at the tail end of a sprawling 2010 world tour. The two-disc set features all five tunes from Metheny's Orchestrion—“a soaring five-movement suite featuring some of the most intricate music he's ever created" (Boston Globe)—plus eight additional Metheny compositions, which he plays on his phalanx of remarkable, custom-made instruments via solenoid switches and pneumatics. Q gave the album four stars, as did the Observer, which called it "fresh, elegant and surprising." The album, said the Financial Times, "captures the guitarist in inspired form." The Orchestrion Project recently landed on the Best of Echoes 2013 Listener Poll.



 

Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell: Old Yellow Moon

Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell
Old Yellow Moon

Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell began what would prove to be a banner year with the February 26 release of and subsequent months-long tour in support of Old Yellow Moon, their first official collaboration since Crowell joined Harris’s Hot Band in 1975. The 12-track duets album features songs written by Crowell as well as interpretations of songs by Hank DeVito, Roger Miller, Allen Reynolds, and others. Among the world-renowned musicians on the album are Stuart Duncan, Vince Gill, Bill Payne, and members of the original Hot Band. "It hearkens back to classic recordings like Harris's Elite Hotel and Crowell's Diamonds and Dirt," said NPR Music, "and brings the best out of the two veterans."

Old Yellow Moon went on to earn Harris and Crowell two Americana Music Awards, for Duo of the Year and Album of the Year, and has been nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Americana Album, with the winner to be announced in January. It has landed on the year-end-best lists of Uncut, Mojo, Daily Telegraph, and American Songwriter, was named the No. 1 Singer-Songwriter Album of 2013 by the CBC, and is among Amazon's Customer Favorite Albums of 2013. Harris and Crowell made their Austin City Limits duo debut on PBS in November and recently performed for the Opry and the Ryman.



 

MARCH

Devendra Banhart: Mala

Devendra Banhart
Mala

Devendra Banhart made his Nonesuch debut with the March 29 release of Mala, his eighth studio album. Mala took shape in Los Angeles, where Banhart and longtime cohort Noah Georgeson produced the album together, playing most of the instruments themselves, using borrowed equipment and a recorder they’d found in a pawn shop. The LP, pressed on 140-gram vinyl, includes the album on CD and an additional 7” with two bonus tracks. The Guardian said it's a "triumph," giving it four stars, as did Q, which called this "enthralling" album a "career best." The New Yorker called it a "thought-provoking joy."

Mala was recently included in Q magazine's list of the 50 Albums of the Year. The album track "Mi Negrita" was named among MTV Iggy's Best Latin Alternative Tracks of 2013. Mala landed at #24 on the CMJ radio chart of the Top 200 of 2013.

In October, the official music video for the Mala track "Für Hildegard von Bingen," directed by Isaiah Seret, premiered on MOCAtv.



 

APRIL

Bombino: Nomad

Bombino
Nomad

Tuareg guitarist, singer, and songwriter Omara "Bombino" Moctar made his Nonesuch debut with the April 2 release of Nomad. The album, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard World Music Chart, was produced by The Black KeysDan Auerbach, leading NPR to call the pairing "inspired," noting that Bombino's "sound and style are alluring on a global scale." NPR's All Things Considered said the album is "a landmark in African rock music." The Los Angeles Times said that "anyone who has ever appreciated a master player make magic on a Fender ... will find comfort in Bombino’s music." Rolling Stone said: "A perfect match of sound and soul, the set introduces a new guitar hero, and confirms Auerbach’s arrival as a roots-music producer to be reckoned with." The BBC called it "utterly, utterly fantastic."

On April 20, Nonesuch released a special 10" single of the album track "Azamane Tiliade" with an exclusive non-album B-side, "Si Chilan," for Record Store Day 2013.

Nomad has brought Bombino a bounty of year-end accolades, landing on the Best of 2013 lists of NPR, the CBC, iTunes, Rolling Stone, Uncut, Chicago Tribune, and Philadelphia Inquirer, and earning the highest ranking of any new world-music album on the CMJ Top 200 of 2013. 

Bombino and his band, who have spent much of 2013 touring Europe and North America, close out the year by launching a two-week tour of Australia on December 29. They then kick off the next leg of their European tour in Paris on January 15. 

 



 

Iron and Wine: Ghost on Ghost

Iron and Wine
Ghost on Ghost

Iron and Wine made its Nonesuch Records debut with the April 16 release of Ghost on Ghost, the fifth release from singer-songwriter Sam Beam under that pen name. The album was recorded in Brooklyn and produced by Beam’s longtime associate Brian Deck. "Every song feels lived in, and radiates palpable warmth," said American Songwriter; they "sound absolutely sublime." Uncut too called it "sublime ... a work of immense beauty and scale." The AP said: "Ghost on Ghost is a wonderfully produced and assembled record, propelled with joyous momentum even on tracks with darker lyrics ... With each successive album, Beam has been able to gradually expand and layer his sound with taste and dexterity."

For Record Store Day, on April 20, Nonesuch released a special 7" including two exclusive tracks unavailable anywhere else: "Next to Paradise" and "Dirty Dream."

Following the release of Ghost on Ghost, Iron and Wine toured across North America, including performances on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Conan, and Jimmy Kimmel Live, and recently made a special appearance on Fallon to perform with Calexico, Glenn Hansard, and Kathleen Edwards. The performers had just come from the Holiday Cheer for FUV benefit concert, highlights from which will be broadcast on NYC public radio station 90.7 FM WFUV on Monday, December 23, at noon and on Christmas Day at 7:30 PM.

Ghost on Ghost was included among the Best New Releases of 2013 by Uncut and on Public Radio's Heavy Rotation list from KUTX, WFUV, and World Café. The album landed at No. 19 on CMJ's Top 200 of 2013 and at No. 2 of CMJ's Top AAA chart for the year.



 

MAY

Joshua Redman: Walking Shadows

Joshua Redman
Walking Shadows

On May 7, Joshua Redman released Walking Shadows, his first recording to include an orchestral ensemble. The album was produced by Redman's friend and frequent collaborator Brad Mehldau; its core ensemble is a quartet featuring Mehldau, Larry Grenadier, and Brian Blade. Walking Shadows includes original tunes from both Redman and Mehldau along with works by a wide range of composers, like John Mayer and Pino Palladino, Kern and Hammerstein, and Lennon and McCartney. Buffalo News called it "an unmitigated triumph ... one of the jazz discs of the year." The New York Times said "there hasn’t been a more sublimely lyrical gesture in his 20-year recording career."

Walking Shadows made the 2013 NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll and landed on the CMJ radio chart for Top Jazz.

Earlier this month, Redman joined a group of jazz all-stars onstage at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, to pay tribute in performance to Herbie Hancock, who was receiving a Kennedy Center Honors. Tune in to celebration gala broadcast on CBS on Sunday, December 29, at 9 PM ET/PT.



 

Sam Amidon: Bright Sunny South

Sam Amidon
Bright Sunny South

Sam Amidon made his Nonesuch Records debut with the release of Bright Sunny South on May 14. The album was produced by Amidon with Thomas Bartlett (a.k.a. Doveman) and legendary English engineer Jerry Boys. The Guardian, Mojo, and Q all gave it four stars. Drowned in Sound called it Amidon's " most emotionally and tonally complex LP to date." The vinyl edition was released in September and includes the complete album program plus a bonus 7" disc featuring two previously unreleased recordings.

Shortly after the album's release, NPR premiered the official video for the album track "As I Roved Out," directed by John Hardwick. MusicOMH said the song "is arguably the most striking track on the album."

Bright Sunny South made the No. 1 spot on Magnet's list of the Best of 2013: Indie Roots and appears on Mojo's list of the year's Best Americana Albums. NPR includes Amidon's take on "My Old Friend" among its 100 Favorite Songs of 2013.



 

Pat Metheny: Tap: John Zorn's Book of Angels, Vol. 20

Pat Metheny
Tap: John Zorn's Book of Angels, Vol. 20

Pat Metheny’s second release of 2013 was his recording of John Zorn’s Tap: The Book of Angels, Vol. 20 from Zorn’s Masada Book Two. The album is the first collaboration between the two artists. Besides his frequent collaborator, drummer Antonio Sanchez, Metheny plays all other instruments—guitars, sitar, tiples, bass, keyboards, orchestrionics, electronics, bandoneón, percussion, flugelhorn, and more—himself. The New York Times called the album "an impressive feat of imagination, and a strikingly clear distillation of both artists’ distinctive languages." NPR said it's a "stunningly vivid sound world." The Independent concluded: "It's all dazzlingly virtuosic and evocative."

Tap has made the NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll of the year's best, Best Albums of 2013 lists from Downbeat and All About Jazz, and the Best of Echoes 2013 Listener Poll and landed on the CMJ radio chart for Top Jazz.


 

Audra McDonald: Go Back Home

Audra McDonald
Go Back Home

Audra McDonald released her first solo album in seven years, Go Back Home, on May 21. The album features songs by composers with whom she has long been associated (Guettel, LaChiusa, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Sondheim) and some, like the Kander & Ebb title track, relatively new to her repertoire; in addition, she continues to champion works by an emerging generation of composers. "As usual," said the Los Angeles Times, "she stuns upon entrance, exit and everything else." New York raved: "It’s entirely possible that Audra McDonald is the greatest singer alive." USA Today said: "McDonald has one of the warmest, most glorious singing voices on the planet."

To coincide with the album's release, Audra McDonald performed at Lincoln Center's spring gala in a concert featuring songs from the album that was then telecast on PBS as part of Live From Lincoln Center. "Absolutely thrilling," raved the New York Times' Stephen Holden of the concert. "The very sound of the word 'thrilling,' with its suggestion of an embedded trill, evokes qualities inherent in Ms. McDonald’s soprano, which seemed to unfurl in ever-richer textures as she imbued songs with a sense of bursting possibility ... A defining voice of our time."

McDonald went on to tour the US with songs from the album and made a number of television appearances, including Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Colbert Report, and, most recently, NBC's Christmas in Rockefeller Center and the live broadcast of The Sound of Music.

Audra McDonald was named Musician of the Year by Musical America, which presented her with the award in a ceremony at Lincoln Center earlier this week.



 

JUNE

Sing Me the Songs: Celebrating the Works of Kate McGarrigle

Sing Me the Songs:
Celebrating the Works of Kate McGarrigle

On June 25, Nonesuch Records released Sing Me the Songs: Celebrating the Works of Kate McGarrigle, featuring highlights from three concerts in honor of the late singer-songwriter Kate McGarrigle, held in London, Toronto, and New York. The two-CD set was produced by Joe Boyd, who curated the concerts, and features performances by Rufus and Martha Wainwright, Anna McGarrigle, Emmylou Harris, Antony, Norah Jones, Teddy Thompson, and others. The Guardian called it "glorious."

That same day, the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) screened the documentary Sing Me the Songs That Say I Love You: A Concert for Kate McGarrigle, directed by Lian Lunson, which showcases the New York concerts heard on the album. The following day, BAM presented a concert featuring Rufus and Martha, Norah Jones, Emmylou Harris, and others celebrating McGarrigle's rich career.

Proceeds from these events and from sales of the album benefit the Kate McGarrigle Foundation for sarcoma research.



 

JULY

Timo Andres: Home Stretch

Timo Andres
Home Stretch

Composer/pianist Timo Andres released his second Nonesuch album, Home Stretch, on July 30. The album pairs the newly composed title work with two reinventions of works by musical heroes in Mozart "Coronation" Concerto Re-Composition, described by The New Yorker's Alex Ross as "mesmerizing," and Paraphrase on Themes of Brian Eno. Metropolis Ensemble chamber orchestra performs with the composer on piano. The album, said NPR, offers "thought-provoking glimpses into how the past and the present merge in classical music today." The Chicago Reader said it "bursts with creativity." The Guardian and the Independent gave it four stars.

Gramophone included Home Stretch in its year-end Critics' Choice 2013 list. The album also made the San Jose Mercury News's Best of 2013 classical list, with music critic Richard Scheinin saying: "The music is lyric, humorous, at times surreal, and always gorgeously crafted." Paraphrase on Themes of Brian Eno was recently included among NPR's 100 Favorite Songs of 2013.



 

AUGUST

Chris Thile: Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1

Chris Thile
Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1

On August 6, mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile released Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1, on which he performs three Bach works written for solo violin: Sonata No. 1 in G minor, BWV 1001; Partita No. 1 in B minor, BWV 1002; and Sonata No. 2 in A minor, BWV 1003. The vinyl album, featuring the first two pieces, was released in September. "His timing is meticulous," said The New Yorker, "but his version also has the liveliness that improvising musicians sometimes can bring to written material." Gramophone exclaimed: "This is extraordinary playing from an extraordinary musician who is willing to stretch stylistic and technical boundaries to further his art while paying homage to one of the greatest composers of all time." The album was produced by Edgar Meyer.

Gramophone included released Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1 in its year-end Critics' Choice 2013 list. Thile's performance of the Partita No. 1 in B minor made the list of Heavy Rotation: Public Radio's Songs of 2013 from Classical New England.



 

SEPTEMBER

Ry Cooder & Corridos Famosos: Live in San Francisco

Ry Cooder & Corridos Famosos
Live in San Francisco

Ry Cooder’s first live record in more than 35 years, Live in San Francisco, was released on Nonesuch / Perro Verde Records on September 10. The album was recorded in 2011 during a special two-night engagement with the Corridos Famosos band and a ten-piece Mexican brass band at San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall. "One of those nights when you wish you'd been in Row A," said the Times of London. The album, produced by Cooder, includes original songs and interpretations of other material from throughout his career, as well as Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs' "Wooly Bully" and Lead Belly's "Goodnight Irene."

The Morton Report's Bill Bentley recently included Live in San Francisco among his Favorite Albums of 2013. The album finds "guitarist extraordinaire Ry Cooder," says Bentley, "playing lead and rhythm parts that defy gravity and logic. There is no one else doing these things on guitar anymore except Cooder, and with any luck he will continue for a very long time."



 

Rokia Traoré: Beautiful Africa

Rokia Traoré
Beautiful Africa

Rokia Traoré's new album, Beautiful Africa, received its North American release on September 24, following an international release earlier in the year. Produced by John Parish (PJ Harvey, Eels, Sparklehorse), Rokia the album earned perfect five-star reviews from the Observer, Guardian, and Songlines, which raved: "It really doesn’t get better than this in today’s African music ... Rokia’s work is exciting, surprising, and always perfectly executed." The New York Times said: "Traoré has a gentle voice with a steely core, one that’s revealed more clearly than ever on Beautiful Africa." NPR said the album "is just as smart and lovely as its creator."

Beautiful Africa has made a multitude of best-of-the-year lists, both in Europe and North America: from Songlines, Uncut, Mojo, the music editors at iTunes, NPR, the CBC, the Chicago Tribune, and Independent on Sunday. The album made the CMJ Top World radio chart. The track "Mélancolie" was recently included among NPR's 100 Favorite Songs of 2013.



 

Jeremy Denk: Bach: Goldberg Variations

Jeremy Denk
J.S. Bach: Goldberg Variations

Jeremy Denk's recording of J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations was released September 30, just days after he was named a 2013 MacArthur Fellow, also known as the "Genius" grant. The album includes a companion DVD with video "liner notes" of Denk demonstrating passages on the piano as he explains certain details of the iconic piece. The New York Times has remarked on Denk's "profound affinity with Bach," and the Philadelphia Inquirer has called his performance of the Goldberg Variations "mesmerizing." NPR said: "Once you've entered the Denkian dimension, you won't want to leave."

Denk's recording of the Goldberg Variations was named the No. 1 Classical Music Album of the Year by the CBC and has made the Best of 2013 list from the San Jose Mercury News and the list of the New York Times Critics’ Favorite Classical Recordings of 2013. "The result of years of study and exploration are admirably clear in this alluring reading, notable for its clarity, pulse and coloristic flair," says the Times' Vivien Schweitzer. The New Yorker's Alex Ross also includes the album among the Notable Classical Recordings of 2013, as do the music editors at iTunes. Jeremy Denk was named Instrumentalist of the Year by Musical America.



 

NOVEMBER

Billy Bragg & Wilco: Mermaid Avenue, Vol. III

Billy Bragg & Wilco
Mermaid Avenue, Vols. 1-3 (Vinyl)

On the acclaimed Mermaid Avenue albums, Billy Bragg and Wilco put music to lyrics by folk legend Woody Guthrie for which he had not written music or made recordings. On November 29, to coincide with Record Store Day Black Friday, Nonesuch Records reissued the first two volumes on vinyl and released, for the first time on vinyl, a third volume comprising 17 previously unreleased recordings made during the original sessions, which was first released in the 2012 three-CD-plus-DVD set Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions. Each volume was pressed on 2-LP, 180-gram vinyl at Pallas MFG in Diepholz, Germany.

The New York Times said of the first volume, “[Tweedy and Bragg] are the perfect pair to conclude that Guthrie, far from a predictable Popular Front totem, was a prophetic rock-and-roller with a whole lot to say. All he needed was a band and a little freedom …"


 

Inside Llewyn Davis: Original Soundtrack Recording

Inside Llewyn Davis
Original Soundtrack Recording

Inside Llewyn Davis, the new film written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, stars Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund, and Justin Timberlake. The film's soundtrack, produced by T Bone Burnett, Joel Coen, and Ethan Coen, with Marcus Mumford as its associate producer, was released on Nonesuch Records on November 11 and features 12 new recordings created especially for the film and soundtrack. Also included is a never-before-released recording of Bob Dylan performing his song "Farewell," which was originally recorded during the sessions for his album The Times They Are A-Changin' and is available exclusively on this soundtrack.

The film, which opened in New York and Los Angeles earlier this month and opens in additional theaters across the United States today, has received great critical acclaim, landing on a number of lists of the Best Movies of 2013, including those of The New Yorker, Associated Press, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Variety, Film Comment, Village Voice, American Film Institute, Toronto Film Critics Association, and the New York Times, whose A.O. Scott calls this "a year of superabundant quality" in film and places Inside Llewyn Davis at No. 1. "The musical performances—especially from Oscar Isaac, who plays the title character—are hauntingly lovely."

Inside Llewyn Davis has been nominated for three Golden Globe Awards: Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy; Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy, for Oscar Isaac; and Best Original Song, Motion Picture, for "Please Mr. Kennedy." The film is nominated for the LA Film Critics Award for Best Music Score, and topped IndieWire's Critics' Poll of the Best Original Score or Soundtrack. The music editors at iTunes named the soundtrack among the year's best. CBS Sunday Morning contributor Bill Flanagan includes the soundtrack on his 2013 music picks for Christmas, calling it "one of my favorite records of the year."



 

AND MORE ...

There is, of course, more great music to come in 2014. Pre-orders are already available for the debut recording from the Pat Metheny Unity Group, Kin (←→), and the debut album from Brad Mehldau and Mark Guiliana's electric duo, Mehliana: Taming the Dragon. The new year will also bring a live album from the one-night-only concert at New York's Town Hall, Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating the Music of "Inside Llewyn Davis," and much more.

All of the 2013 albums above can be purchased in the Nonesuch Store, where all currently released CDs, LPs, and DVDs (pre-orders excluded) are 34% off suggested retail price—that's about 20% off the price listed on the site—through New Year's Day in celebration of the store's sixth anniversary; final discount is shown at checkout.

Happy Holidays from everyone at Nonesuch Records!

Publish date: 
Friday, December 20, 2013 - 12:00
Article Type: 
featuredimage: 
2013: Celebrating the Year in Nonesuch Music

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