by Josh Hurst

by Josh Hurst Music

Brad Mehldau | 10 Years Solo Live

December 1, 2015
Brad Mehldau (2015)

One of the brainiest guys in jazz, Brad Mehldau is likened to classical composers as often as he is boppin’ piano men; he is famous for his heady liner notes, and nearly everything he does comes with a conceptual thrust. So if Brad Mehldau is going to make a box set, it’s not going to be a straight-ahead greatest-hits or rarities roundup, something made perfectly plain by 10 Years Solo Live—an expansive four discs of on-stage keyboard meditations in which…

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#KickingtheCanon by Josh Hurst Music

Bob Dylan | John Wesley Harding

July 17, 2015
Bob_Dylan_2__Credit_Elliott_Landy

Perhaps sensing that he couldn’t push his electric mayhem any further, Bob Dylan retreated from his wild, boozy rock and roll with John Wesley Harding, returning to largely acoustic arrangements but — crucially — not to the sound of The Times They Are a-Changin’ or The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. For one thing, these are full-band recordings, albeit sparsely arranged ones, and for another, he’s traded open-hearted folk and blues for a twangier, more country-influenced sound.…

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#KickingtheCanon by Josh Hurst Music

The Roots | Things Fall Apart

July 15, 2015
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They could have called it Young, Gifted and Black, were the name not otherwise in use. Not until Robert Glasper convened his Black Radio sessions in 2012 would there be such a significant summit meeting of black American bohemians: Things Fall Apart finds The Roots’ roster swelling to include Erykah Badu, Common, J Dilla, Mos Def, Jazzy Jeff, Beanie Sigel, and, though you won’t know it unless you consult the liner notes, D’Angelo. Recorded during the same sessions that…

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#KickingtheCanon by Josh Hurst Music

Prince and the Revolution | Purple Rain

June 5, 2015
prince-purple-rain

Purple Rain begins with a funeral, but not with mourning: It’s a celebration — a gateway into new life and a new world, where “you can always see the sun.” It’s a repudiation of evil and of finality, in the form of wild abandon. It ends with a baptism; leading up it it are love songs so selfless and devoted that they take on a messianic resonance. The singer makes his Christological posture clearest in a song called “I Would Die 4 U,”…

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#KickingtheCanon by Josh Hurst Music

Bob Dylan | The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan

May 29, 2015
Dylan

Though the cumulative impact of The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan is considerable, and its achievement is towering, it remains a strangely difficult record to discuss by way of synopsis or generalization; there’s simply no way to avoid digging into specific virtues of its songs, because the songs represent the sum total of what this album is.…

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#KickingtheCanon by Josh Hurst Music

Bob Dylan | Blonde on Blonde

May 15, 2015
Bob Dylan
Various - 1966

The boozy, bloozy, cacophonous conclusion to Bob Dylan’s mid-60s “electric” trilogy, Blonde on Blonde feels every bit the culmination of…something. A wild fever dream of an album, owing as much to Fellini and T.S. Eliot as to Woody and Leadbelly, it’s the sound of Dylan’s imagination pushed to the edge, perhaps even to a breaking point. The record…

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#KickingtheCanon by Josh Hurst Music

Bob Dylan | Bob Dylan

March 20, 2015
dylan 1962

The debut album from America’s greatest songwriter contains a scant two originals alongside 11 covers, ensuring that it will always be somewhat overlooked or written off as a curiosity, in some circles perhaps regarded with the same vague condescension that one might regard Michael Jordan’s baseball career. The thing of it is, Bob Dylan …

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by Josh Hurst Music

Bettye LaVette | Worthy

February 3, 2015
Bettye LaVette (2015)

A lady of principle, Bettye LaVette boasts a rule of repertoire selection that neatly doubles as a life philosophy for the rest of us: She won’t give voice to any song or lay her hand to any labor that doesn’t strike her as real, or at the very least resonant with who she is as a singer, an artist, a woman, a human. And so she has developed a body of work in which every page and every chapter is rich in autobiography,…

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#KickingtheCanon by Josh Hurst Music

Bob Dylan | The Times They Are a-Changin’

January 13, 2015
Dylan 1964

If The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan proved that Bob Dylan could do anything and everything, The Times They Are a-Changin’ proved that he could hone in on doing one thing very well. It’s less about breadth than depth, in other words, with Dylan removing most of the humor, romance, absurdity, and goofy fun and doubling down on protest anthems,…

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#KickingtheCanon by Josh Hurst Music

Rod Stewart | Every Picture Tells a Story

January 9, 2015
Rod

Though it’s a truth that’s now largely forgotten, at least among the young and the terminally hip, Rod Stewart was once a pretty righteous cat — foremost among interpretive singers and endowed with gangbuster rock and roll bonafides primarily, perhaps, from his role as frontman for the Faces, as gloriously disheveled, shambolic, and spirited a rock and roll band as has ever existed. The Faces’ greatness never quite gelled into a straight-up killer LP — not unless you care to count their…

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