Flesh + Blood
Label: Concord Records, Inc. (UMG Account)
As with many jam-centric artists (from Dave Matthews to Widespread Panic), John Butler's studio output tends to be significantly more crafted and mannered than his fiery live performances. Flesh + Blood, the Aussie's sixth album, is no exception to the rule. The record, possibly the most confident of Butler's career, opens with two of its best tunes: "Spring to Come" (dig the intricate fingerpicking) and the fuzzed out "Livin' in the City" (imagine G. Love fronting The Black Keys). Later on, Butler eases into "Wings Are Wide," a ballad striking for its soaring vocals and thumping percussion.