Four years after his multiplatinum album Brand New Day, Sting returns with 10 new tracks and continues to work the musical magic that he started in the mid-1970s with the Police. The guest artists joining him on this eclectic set include Mary J. Blige with the soul-cage rattling “Whenever I Say Your Name,” and Anoushka Shankar, who lends her sitar expertise to “Book of My Life.” Expect a DVD on the making of Sacred Love to be released this month, and a world tour to begin in January.
Peter Frampton NOW (Framptone/33rd Street Records)
The former Humble Pie guitar slinger last came alive for an entirely new studio album in 1994 (Peter Frampton). Since then, he’s cut some live recordings, but this is the one in which he proves that he still has the songwriting and guitar-wielding touch. If you’re in the mood for some guitar-riff-heavy classic rock, then crank up the bluesy rocker “Flying Without Wings” or the Neil Young-sounding “Hour of Need,” and hear Frampton’s guitar literally cry on a cover of George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”
Various Artists Remembering Patsy Cline (MCA Nashville)
Tribute compilations are all the rage these days, and no single artist deserves the respect more than the late, great Patsy Cline. Stepping up to take on the challenging role of performing the Country Music Hall of Famer’s hits are female greats such as Diana Krall (“Crazy”), Natalie Cole (“I Fall to Pieces”), Norah Jones (“Why Can’t He Be You”), and Martina McBride with Take 6 on an a cappella version of “Sweet Dreams (Of You).” Patsy would’ve loved it.
— JAMES E. MAYFIELD