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27 New Sounds to Check Out This Fall

From Aretha Franklin and Annie Lennox to Bob Seger and the Doobie Brothers, many old favorites are coming out with new tunes

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    Old Favorites' New Music

    The cornucopia — that traditional symbol of autumn — spills over this season with wonderful new music from some of our favorite 50-plus artists.

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    The Doobie Brothers

    Southbound (Arista), Nov. 4 The rock-and-soul veterans explore country music on this new album, featuring guest appearances by Brad Paisley, Sara Evans and Blake Shelton. Top tracks: “Jesus Is Just Alright,” “What a Fool Believes,” “Black Water”

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  • David Vance

    Dionne Warwick

    Feels So Good (Damon Elliott Music Group), Oct. 28 The iconic songstress invites a roster of special guests to sing along as she revisits some of her most enduring classics. Her duet partners here include Gladys Knight, Billy Ray Cyrus, Cyndi Lauper and CeeLo Green. Top tracks: “A House Is Not a Home,” “Let There Be Love,” “Every Once in a While”

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  • David Clinch

    Yusuf/Cat Stevens

    Tell ’Em I’m Gone (Legacy), Oct. 27 On his third disc since changing his name, the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens digs into his folk, blues and country roots with a batch of originals and covers that drive home his quintessential themes of universal freedom and peace. Top tracks: “Dying to Live,” “Gold Digger,” “Doors”

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  • Robert Sebree La Lennoxa Ltd

    Annie Lennox

    Nostalgia (Blue Note), Oct. 21 Now 59, the pop-soul diva delves into the American jazz canon with this bewitching new set. Thanks to her powerfully emotive voice, classics we thought we knew sound fresh again. Top tracks: “I Pull a Spell on You,” “September in the Rain,” “Strange Fruit”

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  • Matthew Jordan Smith

    Aretha Franklin

    Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics (RCA), Oct. 21
    The Queen of Soul bestows love on more than 10 of her female contemporaries and successors. From a rapturous rendition of Gladys Knight & the Pips’ “Midnight Train to Georgia” to a soulful take on Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” this disc is another shining jewel in Franklin’s crown. Top tracks: “Nothing Compares 2 U,” “At Last,” “No One”

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  • Clay Patrick McBride

    Bob Seger

    Ride Out (Capitol), Oct. 14 This is the rock veteran’s first album of new material in eight years — and in light of his hints that it might be his last, Ride Out arrives in high profile indeed. Swan song or not, Seger’s latest contains four stunning covers in addition to those rollicking new tunes. Top tracks: “Detroit Made,” “You Take Me In,” “The Devil’s Right Hand”  

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  • Redux

    Jackson Browne

    Standing in the Breach (Inside Recordings), Oct. 7 It’s been six years since the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Famer released an LP of new material — 2008’s Time the Conqueror. Top tracks: “The Birds of St. Marks,” “If I Could Be Anywhere,” “Walls and Doors”

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  • Jim McGuire

    Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn

    Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn (Rounder), Oct. 7 The banjo-picking husband-and-wife duo delivers a dozen duets that nicely exemplify the expressive range of their rustic string instrument. Included are Appalachian laments, Americana work songs and a heartfelt tribute to the couple’s 1-year-old son, Juno. Top tracks: “Shotgun Blues,” “Railroad,” “New South Africa”

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  • Lester Cohen

    Melissa Etheridge

    This Is M.E. (MLE/Universal), Sept. 30 The rocker belts out a heartfelt musical love letter to her new bride, Linda Wallem, whom she married in May 2014. Expect rollicking tunes that showcase Etheridge’s many talents, which start with singing, songwriting and guitar strumming and go on from there. Top tracks: “I Won’t Be Alone Tonight,” “Take My Number,” “Like a Preacher”

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    Prince

    Art Official Age and Plectrumelectrum (Warner Bros.), Sept. 30 After winning a long battle with Warner Bros., the mega-superstar returns to the label that released his best LPs throughout the ’80s. Prince celebrates this homecoming with two new discs that illustrate his enduring musical genius. Top tracks: “Clouds,” “Breakdown,” “Boytrouble.”

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  • Michael Wilson

    Lucinda Williams

    Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone (Highway 20), Sept. 30 This is the country singer’s first double-disc set, filled with 20 new songs and featuring a range of special guests, including American jazz guitarist Bill Frisell and British keyboardist Ian McLagan. Top tracks: “West Memphis,” “Cold Day in Hell”

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  • Chris Adjani

    Herb Alpert

    In the Mood (Shout Factory), Sept. 30 Fresh from being honored with the National Medal of Arts in 2013, the superstar trumpet player and music arranger turns to interpreting American jazz and pop-song classics. Think of it as a second taste of honey. Top tracks: “Let It Be Me,” “Spanish Harlem,” “America the Beautiful.”

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  • Scott Dorsey

    Engelbert Humperdinck

    Engelbert Calling (OK! Good), Sept. 30 The legendary British crooner celebrates his 79th year on the planet with a new disc brimming with special guests. His duet partners include Elton John, Willie Nelson, Olivia Newton-John and others. And saying his name out loud is just as fun as ever! Top tracks: “Since I Lost My Baby,” “Ain’t That Peculiar,” “Make You Feel My Love”

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  • Jan Thijs

    Charlie Haden and Jim Hall

    Charlie Haden and Jim Hall (Impulse!), Sept. 30 These two recently departed giants — guitarist Hall in December 2013, bassist Haden in July 2014 — performed a set of originals and standards at the Montreal International Jazz Festival in 1990. Though that bracing performance was recorded, it’s being made available now for the first time. This disc is a stirring testament to the enduring legacies of both men. Top tracks: “Bemsha Swing,” “Turnaround,” “Skylark”

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  • Greg Kadel

    Lenny Kravitz

    Strut (Roxie), Sept. 23 Released on a new boutique label whose name honors his late mother, actress Roxie Roker (who played Helen Willis on The Jeffersons), the retro rocker’s new disc offers a mix of sweaty funk and sensual soul. Top tracks: “The Chamber,” “The Pleasure and the Pain,” “I’m a Believer”

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  • Roy Gumpel

    Freddy Cole

    Singing the Blues (HighNote), Sept. 23 Nat King Cole’s younger brother continues to map out his own distinguished career as a captivating jazz singer and pianist. This time around he ventures into gutbucket blues. Top tracks: “This Time I’m Gone for Good,” “All We Need Is a Place,” “My Mother Told Me”

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  • Brad Barket

    John Mellencamp

    Plain Spoken (Republic), Sept. 23 On his 20th album of original material, heartland rocker Mellencamp does what he has always done best: He captures the essence of small-town Americana in eloquently rustic fashion. Top tracks: “Troubled Man,” “Tears in Vain,” “Freedom of Speech”

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  • Steven Klein

    Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga

    Cheek to Cheek (Sony), Sept. 23 The unlikely pair teamed up for a single song (“The Lady Is a Tramp”) on Bennett’s 2011 Grammy winner, Duets II. Here they reconvene for a full-length exploration of American songbook classics. Top tracks: “Lush Life,” “Anything Goes” and “Cheek to Cheek.”

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  • AB McNeely

    Spanish Harlem Orchestra

    Spanish Harlem Orchestra (ArtistShare), Sept. 16 The Latin-jazz big band is back with another masterstroke of invigorating, hip-shaking music. Special guests include titan tenor Joe Lovano and pianist Chick Corea. Top tracks: “You and the Night and the Music,” “Latinos Unidos,” “Caribe Soy”

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    Ann Hampton Callaway

    From Sassy to Divine: The Sarah Vaughan Project (Shanachie), Sept. 16 A jazz cabaret sensation, Callaway gives a loving tribute to one of her biggest idols — the legendary Sarah Vaughan — on a set of popular tunes recorded live at New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center. Top tracks: “Misty,” “Wave,” “Send in the Clowns”

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  • Ethan Hill

    Christopher Cross

    Secret Ladder (earMUSIC), Sept. 12 The soft-rock icon teams up again with songwriting partner Rob Meurer to deliver a batch of soul-stirring originals. Expect social commentary on everything from religious hypocrisy to the U.S. military to the cycle of life. Top tracks: “I Don’t See It Your Way,” “Reverend Blowhard,” “Got to Be a Better Way”

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  • Andrew Southam

    Sergio Mendes

    Magic (OKeh), Sept. 9 The legendary keyboardist-composer serves up a mélange of infectious Brazilian rhythms and melodies, juxtaposed with sophisticated American pop, soul and hip-hop. Listen for guest appearances by John Legend, Janelle Monae and Milton Nascimento. Top tracks: “Don’t Say Goodbye,” “Visions of You”

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  • Sakuri Toshi

    Chick Corea

    Trilogy (Concord), Sept. 9 The award-winning jazz pianist-composer (20 Grammys and counting) teams up with bassist Christian McBride and drummer Brian Blade for this three-disc set. It overflows with marvelous originals and exhilarating interpretations of standards. Top tracks: “Blue Monk,” “Recorda Me,” “Armando’s Rhumba”

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  • David Katzenstein

    Billy Childs

    Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro (Sony), Sept. 9 Grammy-winning pianist Billy Childs unspools an enthralling tribute to singer-songwriter Laura Nyro, who died of ovarian cancer at 49 in 1997. This disc showcases such top-shelf singers as Renée Fleming, Rickie Lee Jones, Alison Krauss and Dianne Reeves. Top tracks: “Stoned Soul Picnic,” “Save the Country”

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  • Ed Miles

    Robert Plant

    Lullaby and … the Ceaseless Roar (Nonesuch), Sept. 9 The former Led Zeppelin frontman returns with the astonishingly original new material on this oddly titled disc. Here he seamlessly integrates American pop and bluegrass with Irish folk, Gambian rhythms and British electronica, if you can imagine such a thing. Top tracks: “Little Maggie,” “Embrace Another Fall,” “A Stolen Kiss”

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    Johnny Winter

    Step Back (Mega Force), Sept. 2 The Texas blues legend died July 16 but comes to life again in this batch of old-school gems. Helping him out are old pals Eric Clapton and Dr. John, among others. Top tracks: “Mojo Hand,” “Blue Monday,” “Unchain My Heart”

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