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For an artist whose bio reads that she was “born in 1784 in the backseat of a sea-foam green space pinto,” LA-based soul singer Kadjha Bonet’s debut LP The Visitor sounds a bit closer to home than that. Her sound is retro-fitted, but you only have to travel to, say, the experimental jazz-meets-soul-meets-singer-songwriter traditions of 1974 to find her home planet. Her voice twists Roberta Flack’s velvet tone around the archness of Shirley Bassey over creamery-rich strings, producing a sound as familiar as it is haunting.
Chely Wright, who has been largely out of the music spotlight for the past five years, will release her first new album since 2010. I Am the Rain, due September 9th on MRI/Sony, is the follow-up to Lifted Off the Ground, the LP she released in conjunction with her memoir Like Me, which detailed her struggles as a closeted lesbian in the country-music industry. The new album was recorded with Grammy-winning producer Joe Henry last fall at the iconic Sunset Sound studio in Los Angeles. It features guest appearances from Emmylou Harris, Milk Carton Kids, and the producer of Wright's previous album, Rodney Crowell, who co-wrote "At the Heart of Me" with Wright and Henry.