I'm seriously looking forward to hearing the new Ray Charles and Blue Nile albums released today. The Blue Nile's High retains the classic Blue Nile sound and style. Given this band's past proclivity for pot, the title may help explain the long layoff periods between Blue Nile albums. I've only heard the lead track "The Days of Our Lives" which not only sounds great, but sounds like it could just as easily have been from any of their previous records.
Ray Charles' duet album Genius Loves Company, could wind up being his biggest selling album ever, based on the two tracks I've heard so far, "Here We Go Again" with Norah Jones and "Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word" with Elton John. Other singing partners include James Taylor, Diana Krall, Natalie Cole, Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Michael McDonald, B.B. King, Gladys Knight, Johnny Mathis, and Van Morrison. Being that the album was co-produced by Phil Ramone, it's kind of surprising that long time Ray Charles fan Billy Joel does not appear.
Another of today's releases I'm interested in hearing is Weightlifting by the Trashcan Sinatras, who are led by Francis Reader, whose beautiful song "Wild Mountainside" was a highlight of his sister Eddi Reader's recent Sings the Songs of Robert Burns album. Finally, Mark Knopfler is sounding great on "Boom, Like That" from his forthcoming Shangri La album, due September 28th. WXPN is on the advance track.