Eric Church, country music’s favorite rebel, unexpectedly dropped “Mr. Misunderstood” after the CMA awards on November 4. The album shocked many, and it takes a step away from Church’s previous release – hard-rocking album “The Outsiders” – and shows a different side of the artist. This is most shown in “Three Year Old,” a song about his son Boone. It’s a touching song that tugs at the heart strings. The title track kicks off the album, a true rebel-anthem that shows the progression of Church. The album is full of tracks that stand out, from “Knives of New Orleans,” to “Round Here Buzz,” to “Mixed Drinks About Feelings,” Church is not afraid to cover any topic. The album, produced by Jay Joyce, pushes the limits. It also opens Church up in a way that fans won’t be used to. Each song has meticulous detail, from the careful instrumentals to the powerful back-up vocals of Joanna Cotten. This album was a great surprise for fans of country music and of Eric Church.
Sam Smith – In the Lonely Hour (Drowning Shadows Edition) November 6
Sam Smith has released “In the Lonely Hour (Drowning Shadows Edition),” a 23-track album that features John Legend, Naughty Boy, and Mary J. Blige. Smith showcases his talent on each track and puts his heart and soul into this album. For those who have never listened to Smith, now is the time. The album shows why he is rising to superstardom. He mixes in up-beat tracks like “Money on My Mind,” “Like I Can,” and “Restart” with ballads like the hit “Stay With Me.” In many of the tracks, Smith brings out some serious soul. Included on the album are two collaborations with Mary J. Blige in a rendition of “Stay With Me” and John Legend in “Lay Me Down.” This is a great pickup for any pop fan.
Seal – 7 Nov 6
Seal is back with “7.” The incredibly talented singer has released the 11-track album that showcases who he is as an artist. The soul he puts into this album is unreal. His great vocals, paired with the accompaniment of the music, make this album stand out. There are a few tracks that will make you want to turn the volume up to 11. The club-sounding anthem of “Life On the Dancefloor” will make you dancing as intended. With the more up-beat tracks, he does bring a new flavor of soul with “The Big Love Has Died” and “Do You Ever.” These tracks really help balance the album. For this release, he reunited with the famous producer Trevor Horn – the mastermind behind hits like “Crazy” and “Kiss From A Rose.”
Billy Gibbons and the BFG’s – Perfectamundo November 6
Billy Gibbons, best known for his involvement in ZZ Top, has released his solo album “Perfecatmundo.” The 11-track rock album is a gritty, funky, rocking album that brings a new mix into the modern rock genre – including some heavy rock riffs there are unmistakable attributes from older classic rock. The piano in “Treat Her Right” brings a new element to the track. The funky feel to “You’re What’s Happenin’, Baby” brings balance to the album. Each track is expertly crafted. “Sal Y Pimiento” is a fun, hook-filled track with a Latin vibe to it that he continues to showcase throughout “Hombre Sin Nombre,” Quiero Mas Dinero,” “Piedras Negras,” and the title-track “Perfectamundo.” It may not be “La Grange” or “Tush” but ZZ Top fans will be impressed.