My work schedule has just been impossible for the past couple of weeks, hence the Buzz’s unexpected fourteen day hiatus. But I’m back, fully rested, and thrilled to announce that this blog is back in bidness, effective immediately. Thankfully, the new release wall at your local record store hasn’t exactly been a hopping hotbed of activity during my unfortunate absence, so at least we can all take heart in the knowledge in the fact that we didn’t miss much. Herewith, a recap of what has slipped past the goalie:


Even though he owns one of the most popular, most played songs of the millenium — the ultra-ubiquitous classic “I’ll Be” — he has largely flown under the radar for the whole of his career, having put together one of the most unheralded, underappreciated discographies of the past fifteen years, and this week, Time Life Entertainment deigns to celebrate it properly with a strong new sixteen-track collection entitled, simply,
The Best of Edwin McCain. There are some obvious omissions here — most notably “Go Be Young,” McCain’s spectacular radio smash from 2000, or the brilliantly raucous cover of James Taylor’s “(I’ve Got to) Stop Thinkin’ ‘Bout That” which stood as the high point of his forceful 1997 commercial breakthrough Misguided Roses — but all things considered, Best is a solidly representative cross-section of McCain’s strongest material — I’m ecstatic that whomever in McCain’s camp compiled this set found room for his rollicking 2006 romp “Gramercy Park Hotel,” and Sherry Ann will no doubt be over the moon to find that her all-time favorite “Write Me a Song” (which features a smashing harmony vocal from my beloved Shawn Colvin) also made the cut — and a fine, concise way to introduce yourself to a body of work you very well may have let pass you by for far too long. (By the by, you can find also find a new tune from McCain on the digital-only soundtrack for The Last SongMiley Cyrus - The Last Song (Original Soundtrack) — a new cinematic tearjerker starring Miley Cyrus, who also contributes a pair of new tracks to the project.)

Truth be told, it ends up being a remarkably compelling collection of inspirational music from some of the best people currently in the game, but you can’t help but chuckle a bit when you pick up a copy of Now That’s What I Call Faith! and discover that track number one is The Fray’s breathtakingly brilliant smash “You Found Me,” considering that, even though it does indeed name-check God, the tune goes on — and in the first verse, at that! — to lambaste and charbroil the big G and His deeds and decisions in as vicious and unapologetic a manner as pop radio has ever seen this side of Dog’s Eye View. (I mean, seriously, did the folks at Now! even listen to these lyrics?!) Luckily, most of the other tunes included here — including Natasha Bedingfield’s “Pocketful of Sunshine,” Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take the Wheel” (for which even my devoutly non-religious boyfriend develops a genuine lump in his throat), Mat Kearney’s fabulous “Closer to Love,” and Switchfoot’s terrific “Always” (the emotional zenith of their brand new record Hello Hurricane) — fit in snugly with the record’s general theme. (Also, don’t fail to check out Now That’s What I Call Music 33!, the latest installment in the mothership’s mega-selling series, which features recent radio hits from the likes of Taylor Swift, Owl City, Train, and Ladies Antebellum and GaGa.)

Also noteworthy this week:


  • Country superstar Alan Jackson is back with his latest album,
    Freight Train.

  • Celebrated indie icons The Bird and the Bee pay homage to a pair of (suddenly hip anew!) musical heroes of their own with their latest, Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall & John Oates, which features fascinating covers of such modern pop classics as
    “Kiss On My List,” “Maneater” and “Private Eyes.”

  • Those rock-tinged wack jobs Flobots return with their sophomore outing, Survival Story.

  • Memo to Tiger Beat sensation du jour Justin Bieber, whose hot-selling debut has just been upgraded to the new My World 2.0: the onset of puberty can be a real bitch when it comes to male child stars, and for every Donny Osmond and Michael Jackson who manage to beat the odds, there’s a Billy Gilman who’s not so lucky. Take heed.

  • Rowdy southern rockers Drive-By Truckers are up with a Big To-Do.

  • Under Great White Northern Lights, a concert film and corresponding live recording from The White Stripes.

  • She pretty clearly has lost her ever-lovin’ mind, but God bless that woozy wackydoo Mindy McCready for proclaiming, for all the world to hear, I’m Still Here, dammit!

  • Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward take another turn as She & Him, releasing their second album — appropriately titled Volume Two — as a duo.

  • They’ve ditched their lead singer Steven Page, but the saga of Barenaked Ladies rolls on with their latest effort, All in Good Time.

  • Grammy-winning neo soul pioneer Erykah Badu is back with
    New Amerykah, Part Two: Return of the Ankh.

  • Dance legends Pet Shop Boys return with Pandemonium Live,
    a chronicle of their most recent tour.

  • Acclaimed singer-songwriter Sonya Kitchell is up with a new EP, Convict of Conviction.

  • A massive star in the ’90s, R&B diva-ette Monica proves this week that she’s Still Standing.

  • And finally, from the TV-on-DVD front: season three of AMC’s Emmy-winning instant classic Mad Men hits stores this week, as does a new four-disc set containing the magnificent debut season of Aaron Sorkin’s first foray into television, Sports Night.

7 responses to “rain falls angry on the tin roof as we lie awake
(or: march 16, 23, & 30 — a thumbnail sketch)”

  1. the buzz from A.:

    Happy to have you and The Buzz (and the RSR) back!

    This post provides an opportune moment to remind y’all to check out the fabulous The Big Bang Theory. In a recent episode Sheldon was telling his mother the following:

    Come on, mother, you know why I can’t accept the award. With all due respect, I don’t think praying will help. No, I have not heard the song “Jesus, Take the Wheel.” No, no, no, no, no. You don’t need to start singing it. Yes, I’ll buy it on the iTunes, mother.

    It’s hilarious. You really do have to see it.

  2. the buzz from Blake Boldt:

    Love that scene. Love that show.

    That hook gives me the heebie-jeebies, but “Jesus” is my vote for Carrie’s best vocal to date. I’m pretty love-it-or-hate-it with her.

  3. the buzz from brandon:

    Blake, honey, you know I love you more than my luggage, but Carrie’s best vocal performances can be found on “The Night Before (Life Goes On)” (an atypically sophisticated crunchy tune from Some Hearts) and “Wheel of the World” (Carnival Ride‘s triumphant closer, on which you’d swear you can hear just the slightest hint of Rosanne Cash slipping into the uniquely brusque timbre of her voice). Let’s not get it twisted, sir!

  4. the buzz from Blake Boldt:

    I honestly have no idea how you really feel about your luggage, so I’m not sure if I was just praised or punted.

    Both of the above examples are examples of good Carrie (though “Wheel of the World” loses points because I think it’s a dumbed-down version of the original Cash metaphor). There was just something so fresh and exciting and of-the-moment about “Jesus” that she hasn’t matched since (even though I think Carrie has become a better, more-nuanced singer as she’s gone along). I actually think each subsequent album of hers has been worse (relatively) than the debut. I also think her album cuts tend to better than her singles. I prefer her in different modes other than the sweet-as-pie shtick she likes to pull—“Before He Cheats,” “Just a Dream,” “Get Out of This Town” and the above-mentioned tracks.

    Maybe you can meet my luggage when I finally come down to Austin. Holla.

  5. the buzz from Sherry Ann:

    How many times is Aaron Sorkin going to sell me these Sports Night dvds? Is this not the third time that they are releasing it on dvd? Oh and by the way Blake, it is a quote from Steel Magnolias. RENT IT!!

  6. the buzz from brandon:

    They just took the complete series set from a couple of years ago and are splitting it into individual season sets, for those who don’t feel like dropping sixty bucks all in one plop. (Although that magnificent series set is WELL worth it.) So, be on the lookout for season two very soon!

    And she’s right about the quote, Blake, although I’ll admit that I have a Jeep rollerboard that A and I both covet mightily….

  7. the buzz from Blake Boldt:

    Re: the luggage quote. EPIC FAIL on my part. Not the first, and certainly won’t be the last.