Kevin Bryan delivers his verdict on some of this week’s CD releases. Loudon Wainwright III, “I’d Rather Lead A Band” (Thirty Tigers)-Loudon Wainwright has assembled a very impressive body of work during the five decades which have slipped by since he was one of the aspiring young contenders in the rock media’s ultimately fruitless task to discover “the new Bob Dylan.” “I’d Rather Lead A Band” signals a fairly radical shift in musical direction for the sardonic singer—songwriter however, as he puts down his trusty acoustic guitar for a while and joins forces with big band leader Vince Giordano to tackle a selection of classic tunes from the Great American Songbook .This loose, fresh and anti-nostalgic package finds Wainwright and his slick cohorts in sprightly form as they breathe new life into timeless gems such as “Ain’t Misbehavin’, “ My Blue Heaven” and “You Rascal You.”

M G Boulter,"Clifftown" (Hudson Records)- M G Boulter may operate firmly within the confines of the Americana genre but this gifted singer-songwriter’s perceptive creations are rooted much closer to home as he explores the dubious delights of a life spent by the British seaside . Boulter initially paid his dues as a musician on the Southend pub-rock circuit, and this seasoned performer’s latest offering boasts instrumental contributions from members of Bellowhead and Spiritualized as the poet laureate of the Thames estuary serves up his understated vignettes of contemporary suburban life with rare warmth, honesty and charm. Ben de la Cour, “Shadow Land” (Flour Sack Cape Records)- This darkly memorable offering was the brainchild of New York based troubadour Ben de la Cour, who continues to battle his own personal demons as he unleashes albums of rare emotional depth and intensity on an unsuspecting world . “Shadow Land” captures Ben at his most thought provoking and poignant as the balladeer who’s been variously compared to the likes of Nick Cave, Townes van Zandt and Steve Earle in the past unveils exquisitely crafted ditties such as “Swan Dive,” “From Now On” and “Amazing Grace (Slight Return) “ for your listening pleasure.