Peace Love Ukulele
“If everyone played the ukulele, the world would be a better place,” says Jake Shimabukuro. He gives a surprising dignity to “Bohemian Rhapsody.” And the world really needs this one last version of “Hallelujah.”
Monsters of Folk
Quartet of standout singer-songwriters Jim James, Conor Oberst, Mike Moggis, and M. Ward. This is a rich blend, and they all take turns at lead vocals. Oberst’s distinctive voice is the album’s North Star (“Ahead of the Curve”). He shines better here than with Bright Eyes.
Chimes of Freedom
Eighty(!) artists interpret Bob Dylan to benefit Amnesty International. Favorites: a bouncy “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” from Brett Dennen and Diana Krall’s elegant version of “Simple Twist of Fate” on piano.