New Multitudes is Mermaid Avenue Volume 3, Woody Guthrie lyrics put to music by current artists. Instead of Wilco and Billy Bragg who did Volumes 1 and 2, this collection is put together by Jay Farrar (Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt) Will Johnson (Centro-matic, South San Gabriel) Yim Yames (My Morning Jacket, Monsters of Folk) and Anders Parker (Gob Iron.) The deluxe edition of New Multitudes features 11 extra tracks, all by Parker and Farrar. The standard disc has each singer taking on 3 songs for a total of 12 tracks.
Yim Yames is possibly the biggest name of the group but takes a backseat to the others on this album. Will Johnson contributes three very solid songs including the hardest rocking song “V.D. City” and the softest song in “Chorine My Sheba Queen.” Jay Farrar’s vocals are so much different than the other singers on New Multitudes that his tracks have a completely different sound, one of the highlights being “Hoping Machine.”
The only artist I wasn’t familiar with at first listen to this record was Anders Parker. Parker is undoubtely the star of New Multitudes. His track “Fly High” is the standout track of the collection. His songs on the deluxe edition’s second disc are near essential however as well. Among these are the brilliantly smooth “When I Get Home” and the bouncy swing of “Dopefiend Robber.” Also great tracks hidden on the second disc are “Whereabouts Can I Hide” and “I Was A Goner” also both Parker tunes.
If you pick up New Multitudes, seek out the deluxe edition so you can have access to Parker’s great contributions to it.
Key Tracks: “Hoping Machine”(Farrar) “Fly High”(Parker) “V.D. City”(Johnson) “When I Get Home”(Parker)