In With the New
Christmas is history. Even the all-Christmas radio stations have stopped with the holiday cheer--some of them before Christmas Day was completely over. After a short interholiday week that focuses on the year in review, we'll plunge into 2006--a year that will feature some of my favorite artists releasing new music.
Most exciting to me is news that Donald Fagen will release a new album, Morph the Cat, sometime early in the year. It's his first solo album since Kamarkiriad in 1993--a long time for most people, but only slightly longer than normal for Fagen, who went 11 years between The Nightfly and Kamakiriad. (All three of Fagen's solo albums will reportedly be released as a box set in 2006 as well.)
Fagen's opposite--a guy whose new releases come with astonishing speed--is Van Morrison, who will release Pay the Devil, an album of country covers, in March. It's not really a surprise that Morrison continues to be so prolific--he's a little like a shark that has to keep swimming to survive. He's aggressively uninterested in what he's done in the past, and only in what he's doing now. So any given album in his flurry of work is likely to be unpredictable, uneven, unclassifiable--or brilliant. That's the chance you take when you're a Morrison fan.
Rosanne Cash is set to release a new album in January: Black Cadillac, with songs inspired by the losses of her mother, stepmother, and especially her father over the last three years. One early review is glowing, so I wait eagerly.
Why CD Changers Were Invented: The new year will also see the release of a CD set that's a good idea executed in a less-than-entirely-useful way. To honor the 50th anniverary of Elvis Presley's first recording session on January 24, Sony BMG will release a limited-edition numbered collection of Presley's 21 American number-one hits, complete with B-sides, on individual CD singles. Let's hope they're full-size CDs and not those little three-inchers that were popular for a few minutes in the late 80s.