September brings new albums from three major local music acts. Folk rocker Mason Jennings, alt-country darlings the Jayhawks and the electro-pop project Halloween, Alaska all have CDs out this month.
Mason Jennings' "Minnesota" is his ninth studio album. Jennings' sound hasn't changed that much over the years. He's still basically a drums, bass and guitar kind of guy. But on "Minnesota" he sets down the guitar and spends more time at the piano.
The stand out track on the record, "Clutch," starts out with like something you might hear on a Randy Newman album. But then it migrates into a cool, half-time reggae groove.
With each new record, Jennings has challenged himself to grow a little as a writer, arranger, singer and a player. This one is no exception.
"Mockingbird Time" is a reunion album for the Jayhawks, even though the band never really stopped playing.
It's the first Jayhawks album since 1995 to feature the original frontman Mark Olson. This is the lineup that put out the Jayhawks' hit albums like "Hollywood Town Hall" and "Tomorrow the Green Grass." The band continued to tour and record after Olson left, but it was never quite the same.
"Mockingbird Time" has that classic country rock Jayhawks sound. You can hear echoes of the The Byrds on such tracks as "She Walks in So Many Ways."
Halloween, Alaska's "All Night the Calls Came In" will hit the stores next Tuesday, as well.
The group is known for its slow, ambient, ethereal soundscapes, but the new record also includes the uptempo "Dance by Accident."