New releases blossom with spring

It's my favorite time of the year.


Baseball is here, a great season of local hockey is over, and The Masters Tournament (and most of the pollen) is gone with the wind.

Springtime in Augusta just couldn't be better, and there are several cool new music releases that will help you enjoy this lovely weather.

- Paul Simon's first album in five years, So Beautiful or So What, is being hailed by many to be his best in years. The critics are right, as Simon is obviously hungry to return to the greatness of past successes. It's Simon's 12th (whew!) solo release, and the music flows as sweetly as the Savannah. You can catch him in concert at Atlanta's Chastain Park on May 21.

- Alison Krauss and Union Station have been on hiatus for the past seven years. Of course, Ms. Krauss was just a wee bit busy during that time touring and recording 2007's Grammy-winning Raising Sand with Robert Plant. Paper Airplane , in stores now, is like a visit to Grandma's house: warm, cozy and familiar. Band member Dan Tyminski, who handled the lead vocals on the surprise hit Man of Constant Sorrow from 2001's O Brother, Where Art Thou, sings three of the songs on the disc.

- The final major release of the week is Foo Fighters' Wasting Light , available now on CD (and vinyl, as are the Simon and Krauss albums). Dave Grohl and the guys have returned to their rock roots. This album sizzles with energy, which the opening track, Bridge Burning, indicates. Their terrific appearance on David Letterman from last week is well worth seeking out online.

ALL IN THE 'PARANOID' FAMILY DEPT.: Maybe if the nation's air traffic controllers would be forced to watch old clips of The Osbournes they wouldn't get so dang sleepy on the job. 2011 marks the ninth anniversary of the groundbreaking show that featured Ozzy Osbourne (the true "Master of Reality" television) and his wacky family, who certainly put the "fun" in "dysfunctional." Look for reissues of Ozzy's solo discs Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman next month.

J. EDGAR HOOVER just knew something was fishy about Rocky Mountain High . I had to laugh over some recently declassified FBI documents, especially one that linked the late folk singer John Denver with the Mafia. Other juicy tidbits just unleashed to the public include 34 pages detailing Jimi Hendrix's drug use (gee, only 34?) and alerting federal officials to the possible "civil unrest" or "attacks" at Kiss concerts.

IT SAT FORGOTTEN in an attic for more than 40 years. In 1963, Bob Dylan performed a seven-song set two weeks before his epic The Freewheelin Bob Dylan LP was issued. The late Rolling Stone Magazine co-founder Ralph J. Gleason had placed the tape in his attic and after his death in 1975 it was presumed lost.

Discovered by Gleason's son last year, the tape has been issued as Bob Dylan in Concert at Brandeis University 1963 . Back in those days Dylan recorded and performed with just his guitar as accompaniment, making the show a folkie purist's delight.

LAST WEEK'S CONTEST winner is Julie Owings, who wins a free "ladies night party" for six of her friends at Leonard's Lounge on Dean's Bridge Road. Remember, Leonard's has Augusta's only "revolving" bar.

TURNER'S QUICK NOTES: Soundgarden hits the studio and the road this summer for their first U.S. tour since 1997 ... Pete Yorn visits Atlanta's Center Stage Auditorium on Friday ... Former leader of The Band Robbie Robertson's new How to Become Clairvoyant is in stores now.