The most high-profile release of the past several weeks is John Mayer's Born and Raised, a mellow and introspective trip through all those California canyons Jackson Browne and Neil Young used to roam in the early 1970s. It's arguably the most consistent and enjoyable album of the singer-songwriter's career. Having said that, it's denied the No. 1 slot in our latest Top 15 by several even better titles, including a pair of live albums: a digital reissue of Otis Redding's smoldering In Person at the Whiskey A Go Go and Tedeschi Trucks Band's new foray into modern Southern rock and blues Everybody's Talkin'. If you've yet to check out Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi's new large-ensemble project, then wake up and get listening, especially if you dig The Allman Brothers Band, Delaney & Bonnie and Little Feat.
Speaking of the intersection of blues, folk and rock, this Rock Roundup features two more records you need to check out. The first is Joe Bonamassa's Driving Towards the Daylight, which further cements his reputation as the Pat Travers/Robin Trower/Edgar Winter of the 21st century -- a guitarist, in other words, whose rock and blues chops flaunt equal parts potency and flamboyance. The second is more alternative in flavor: I Predict a Graceful Expulsion from Cold Specks, the alias for one Al Spx. She's a folk-rock singer from Canada (by way of London) who sounds like Odetta meets Laura Marling meets PJ Harvey. Translation: defiance meets forlorn meets gothic.
As for your hard-rock fix, Slash's Apocalyptic Love is a solid offering. Like its predecessor, Made in Stoke 24/7/11, the album features vocals from Alter Bridge frontman Myles Kennedy, who definitely sounds like he grew up listening to Appetite for Destruction, though he doesn't have Axl's screechy range. But who does?
And now, time to get exploring...