For many, Sinead O’Connor appeared out of nowhere in 1990 with the heart-melting ballad “Nothing Compares 2 U”. The song and video were everywhere during the first half of that year. You couldn’t escape Sinead and that song. And to be honest, why would you want to? It was a beautiful song – originally written by Prince – and an outstanding performance by an artist that is often misunderstood. However, O’Connor’s career goes back to the 1980s. She made her first high-profile recording debut on the song “Heroine” (with The Edge) from the 1986 soundtrack to CAPTIVE. While the release may have gone under the radar, she received critical acclaim for her powerful voice. But that was only the beginning…

In 1987, her commercial profile was raised quite a bit with the release of the singles “Troy”, “Mandinka”, and “I Want Your Hands On Me” plus her debut album THE LION AND THE COBRA. Early press focused on her beauty and her shaved head, but all of the went out the window when she opened her mouth and sang. At that moment, her talents were on full display. That voice and her songs brought her a decent amount of attention, but nobody expected the massive popularity of her second album, I DO NOT WANT WHAT I HAVEN’T GOT, and “Nothing Compares 2 U’. While she was never ever able to match the commercial success of the album and single, she did what a true artist does – she followed her own muse. With each subsequent album, she explored different musical avenues but never strayed too far from that unique Sinead O’Connor sound. Often surrounded by controversy, O’Connor continued to travel her own musical path. While she hasn’t quite scaled the commercial heights of 1990, she’s remained one of our generation’s most unique talents.

In 2020, Sinead O’Connor returns with the 7” single “Trouble of the World”. Still sounding as powerful and emotional as usual, she tackles this traditional song originally made famous by Gospel vocalist Mahalia Jackson. She manages to take the spirit of the original and create something modern and powerful. It remains relevant and inspirational, but she’s added a new emotional layer to the song. And to top it all off, she is allocating all of her profits to Black Lives Matter charities. It is a song for the times, then and now. It speaks to all of us on so many levels. At the same time, it is just a great single that adds to her recorded legacy. Hopefully, O’Connor has more releases just around the corner. Until that happens, this one will hold us over. Embrace it now with all your heart!



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In many cases, singers, songwriters, and musicians walk in the door and immediately make their presence known. They’ll dazzle you with their songs, they’ll hit your over the head with their charm, and they’ll demand you to pay attention to them. And in the process, they’ll tread the line between arrogance and confidence. Ultimately, many of them never live up to their own hype and they end up wheeling their amp and guitar out through the same door from whence they came. However, there are remarkably talented artists out there that slip in through the backdoor, lurk in the shadows, and don’t draw attention to themselves. Instead, they prove their talents through hard work – they are more interested in creating art than prancing in the spotlight. Eventually, over time, their talents become a part of our musical landscape even if we don’t know their name… at first.  M. Ward is one of those artists.

Since the release of his 1999 debut album, DUET FOR GUITARS #2, M. Ward has shown himself to be quite the talent as a musician, songwriter, and collaborator. He built an underground audience, album by album, until he could not be ignored by the industry that he had now become part of. By the time he released his fifth album, TRANSISTOR RADIO, in 2005, his commercial profile had risen considerably. His next album, POST-WAR, landed at #146 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart and exposed his unique and refreshing talents to a larger audience. In 2008, he joined forces with vocalist/actress Zooey Deschanel as She & Him and released their debut album, VOLUME ONE. The duo would eventually release a total of five albums to date. In 2009, he was involved with the Americana/Alternative supergroup Monsters of Folk alongside Jim James (My Morning Jacket) and Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes). The following year, he was a member of another supergroup, Tired Pony, a band led by Snow Patrol member Gary Lightbody and featuring members of R.E.M., Belle And Sebastian, and other beloved musicians. In the meantime, he continued to work on his solo material…

His 2020 album, THINK OF SPRING, is a refreshing change of pace for the now iconic M. Ward. Inspired many years ago by hearing Billie Holiday’s LADY IN SATIN album, this new release finds him reinterpreting 11 of the album’s 12 tracks recorded, each of them sounding warm and intimate. M. Ward says, “The conceit of THINK OF SPRING is to filter the songs and strings from LADY IN SATIN through a single acoustic guitar using various alternate tunings and a minimal amount of textures and studio manipulation. most of the songs were recorded on an analog Tascam four track.” With musical inspiration from Holiday, John Fahey, Robert Johnson, Ray Ellis, and J.J. Johnson, experiencing the album is like spending time with a longtime trusted friend.



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Like any genre, Hip-Hop evolves. In fact, it can evolve so quickly that by the time any given artist releases an album, it could already sound dated. However, the best albums have their own personality and charm and easily rise above the albums that were once considered ‘groundbreaking’. In Hip-Hop, there have been a lot of albums and songs that have signaled a new movement or direction: from The Sugarhill Gang, Grandmaster Flash, and De La Soul to NWA, Snoop Dogg, and Eminem. These are artists that successfully added their distinct musical vision and created albums that broke down barriers. These are the artists that have created timeless albums without compromise. Another artist to add to that list is Brand Nubian.

Formed in New Rochelle, New York in 1989, Brand Nubian featured three DJs – Grand Puba, Sadat X, and Lord Jamar – and two DJs: DJ Alamo and DJ Sincere. The group’s first single, “Brand Nubian”, was released in 1989. Their debut album, ONE FOR ALL, was released in 1990. The group’s socially conscious rhymes/lyrics floated on a bed of feel-good Hip-Hop flavored with samples and scratches. The juxtaposition of their message with the good-time vibes of the music was truly inspiring. This was a group that understood that the best way to get people to ‘hear’ you was to hit them with some verbal love, and ONE FOR ALL is filled to the brim with love. From the artists that inspired Brand Nubian to the artists that were inspired by Brand Nubian, this critically acclaimed album serves as the bridge between the past, present and future.

Now, 30 years after it’s original release, ONE FOR ALL has been remastered and expanded – with two bonus tracks – and is being reissued by the legendary Tommy Boy Records. Featuring the singles “Brand Nubian”, “Feel So Good”, “Wake Up”, “Slow Down”, and the title track, ONE FOR ALL is a wonderful mix of Hip-Hop, Rap, Soul, R&B, and Pop. The album charted at #24 on Billboard’s US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, and its influence continues to leak into modern music. Rolling Stone Magazine proclaimed it as one of the “Essential Recordings of the ‘90s” and who can argue that? Looking beyond the hit singles and the critical praise, ONE FOR ALL is still beloved for a reason: it is a strong album that has stood the test of time. This remaster serves as a reminder for long-time fans and a wonderful introduction to a new generation of listeners (brand nubians?). It is a mighty piece of work, indeed.


ONE FOR ALL (30th Anniversary)

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