Archive for the ‘Audrey Auld’ Tag

Fervor Coulee’s Favourite Roots Albums of 2016   2 comments

At the end of each year, writers and broadcasters get to indulge themselves and—one hopes—their readers and listeners with their judgements on the year past.

I’ve spent substantial time reviewing the roots/Americana/whatever you want to call them, if they are on the No Depression list I might have considered them, and even if they aren’t I still may have albums I heard during the past year, and have come up with my definitive (at least for today) list of Favourite Roots Albums of 2016. Of course, your kilometreage will vary: I once received a cranky email from the father of a fairly prominent bluegrasser whose album I didn’t include on such a list several years ago. For those such inclined, I repeat—these are my favorite roots albums of the year. Not the best, ’cause that is silly. And all I can base it on is those albums I’ve heard, and maybe I somehow missed your son’s album…talk to his publicist.

I’ve already posted my Favourite Bluegrass Albums of 2016, and while bluegrass is an essential part of roots music, I’ve chosen not to intermingle the ‘grass into this list. Reason? This way I get to praise more albums. If you care about such stuff, my favourite bluegrass album of the year, Laurie Lewis & the Right Hands’ The Hazel and Alice Sessions would also top this list if I were to include bluegrass amongst the roots. Likely the top six bluegrass albums would have made my top 20 roots albums, and I likely would have found space for Sam Bush, too…

The number rankings, once past four or five, don’t mean much more than a way for me to stay organized: feel free to move your favourite up a spot or three. Full reviews are linked as artist/title.

My Favourite Roots Albums of 2016 are…

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1.Mark Erelli- For a Song Likely the album I listened to second most all year. Erelli has been at the top of his game over the past number of years, both with his bluegrass band Barnstar!, as an interpreter of others’ music (his Bill Morrissey album of a couple years back, Milltowns,) as a pissed off (alternately, disappointed) topical folkie of the Woody Guthrie vein (“By Degrees,”) and on his latest full length release, For A Song. For a Song is a quiet album, yearnsome and blue in turn, reflective, observant, and above all honest; the album wove its way into my soul, making me appreciate what I understand and consider that which I don’t. I just wish he would show up in Alberta some time.

2.Maria Dunn- Gathering One of Alberta’s foremost folk musicians returns with her sixth collection of lyrically-rich gems. An artist who places her convictions and heart on display in complementary proportions, Dunn has found balance between sharing the inspirational and compelling within songs that are insightful, artfully constructed, and just plain enjoyable. There will always be more than a bit of the Celtic lands in Dunn’s music, and throughout Gathering African, Asian, and Canadian First Nations influences can also be heard. Like the finest troubadours, Dunn communicates: she is the vessel through which others exist. She reveals the innermost, personal, and captivatingly universal perspectives and insights of devoted parents, the down-trodden challenged by circumstance, those connected to the land by more than choice, and the youthful who rise above.

Certainly one of the finest recordings to be released this year. Those who compare Maria Dunn to Woody Guthrie, Hazel Dickens, Jean Ritchie, and Buffy Sainte-Marie aren’t taking the easy way out: with the release of Gathering she demonstrates that she is an international folk artist of significance.

3.Jenny Whiteley- The Original Jenny Whiteley On this recording, Whiteley satisfies a desire to more fully explore the music that provided the foundation for her development—old-time folk sounds that have existed and thrived for generations. A recognition of her rich and diverse Americana/Canadiana upbringing within the venerable Whiteley clan, this fifth recording is a rootsy masterpiece. In a lesser artist’s hands such a multi-dimensional homage might sound disjointed; The Original Jenny Whiteley is united in its eccentric melding of the rich traditional and roots tapestry—folk, jugband, bluegrass, early jazz and ragtime, Francophone, Dylan, and the blues.

4.The Honeycutters- On The Ropes Fronted by Amanda Anne Platt, the Honeycutters offer up country sounds that have a bit of rock ‘n’ roll push, a combination that enhances rather than detracts from their honky-tonk foundation. Their instrumental interplay is excellent, and Platt has an incredible voice, as powerful as needed and as tender as desired. There exists an intimacy within these songs, all but one written by Platt, and that intensity allows the songs (and their performance) to make personal connections with listeners.

The Dixie Chicks seem a reasonable comparison. Playfully rambunctious and justly pointed, a song like “Let’s Get Drunk” resonates: “…and if the ship is really sinking what’s the use in waiting til it’s sunk? Baby, we’re already drinking, so we might as well get drunk.” Where was she 35 years ago?!

5.Western Centuries- Weight of the World I am sure it is no coincidence that the debut album from Western Centuries vaguely resembles the self-titled release from a late 60s band of considerable Americana-roots influence. Fronted by a trio of songwriters, each singing their own songs with distinctiveness, Western Centuries is a modern country band that encourages cerebral shifts as readily as it does two-stepping shuffles. Drawing inspiration from generations of country honky tonk singers and their bands, Western Centuries is something many of us are continually pursuing—a genuine country band that doesn’t take the easy way reinterpreting familiar songs, but rather pushes their talents toward creating modern classics. Weight of the World is pert darn special.

6.Robbie Fulks- Upland Stories Stone classic this one is. Nominated for a Grammy for “Alabama at Night”—wait a second, Robbie Fulks is nominated for a Grammy! Let that percolate for a minute. Maybe 2016 wasn’t an entirely awful year! There are a dozen memorable songs on Upland Stories, none indistinguishable from those surrounding it. Maybe not Fulks’ most exciting or dynamic album (tough to beat those early albums,) but maybe his best.

7.William Bell- This Is Where I Live I have to admit, when I saw a tweet from Rosanne Cash about a new William Bell album, my first thought was “Is that like the Pop Staples album of last year?” Because I truly thought William Bell was dead. Idiot, me. I first heard William Bell after Billy Idol covered “To Be A Lover,” playing the crap out of that pink Soul of a Bell album in the mid-to late-80s. I’ve now played This Is Where I Live as many times. A beautiful sounding, complete album. Another Grammy nominee. Tied with #8 for Comeback of the Year.

8.The Monkees- Good Times! Hands down, my most played album of the year. No Depression has it on their year-end list, so that makes it roots enough for me. “She Makes Me Laugh,” “You Bring the Summer,” and “Love to Love” are just great songs. Pure pop for old people.

9.Caleb Klauder and Reeb Willms- Innocent Road Featuring the Caleb Klauder Country Band, Innocent Road is comprised of a half-dozen Kluader songs, a few obscure covers, and a healthy dollop of familiar country classics from the likes of Buck Owens and George Jones. The kicker is a track from Paul Burch’s stunning Fool For Love album, “C’est le Moment (If You’re Gonna Love Me,)” artfully sung by Willms.

As much as I enjoy Prine and DeMent and Robison and Willis, I think I might just prefer what this duo accomplishes. There is no artifice within these recordings, no hint of sly aside.

10.Northern Cree- It’s A Cree Thing North America’s original roots music perhaps? Northern Cree are a drum group from Alberta, and It’s A Cree Thing has also been nominated for a Grammy, the seventh time this group from Saddle Lake has been recognized in this manner. It’s A Cree Thing is a powerful collection of round dance songs full of energy, personality, and history. “Oh, That Smile” should be a hit single! Gorgeous.

11.Darrell Scott- Couchville Sessions With consistency his strong suit, and similar in most ways to his breakthrough album Family Tree, Couchville Sessions is a welcoming listening experience highlighted by Scott’s warmly distinctive voice and diverse presentation choices. Recorded around the same time Scott was starting to ‘break’ 15 years ago—working with Tim O’Brien and Guy Clark then—this is a set of well-aged performances captured in Scott’s living room, the gestation of which are disguised within the sultry “Come Into This Room.” It provides continuing evidence that Scott is one of Americana’s most vibrant visionaries.

12.Matt Patershuk- I Was So Fond of You Back in January or so of this year, I was listening to the radio and a four-song set was played-some combination of Corb Lund, Guy Clark, John Fulbright, and Patershuk, and I recall realizing that I couldn’t tell which of those guys was from La Glace, Alberta and making his living in construction. Put his songs on WDVX, and Patershuk would sound as comfortable alongside Darrell Scott, Fred Eaglesmith, and Chris Stapleton. Heck, add Sturgill Simpson, Hayes Carll, and the rest to the list. Patershuk is the real deal, folks. If you are missing the country, the kind of country music recorded in the days when there was more grease and a little less gloss, check out I Was So Fond of You.

13.Eric Brace & Peter Cooper- C & O Canal I suspect that I would enjoy passing time about a round table with a cool beverage in my hand in the company of either Eric Brace or Peter Cooper. Two of my favourite musicians, songwriters, and wordsmiths, Cooper and Brace have released a strong slate of albums over the past decade. C & O Canal, their latest, pays homage to the folk and bluegrass music the two encountered in Washington, DC in the 70s and 80s.

14.Rory Block- Keepin’ Outta Trouble A tribute to Bukka White, this set is so strong that it deserves a place in my Top 20 rather than as part of my tributes/collections list that is still being assembled. Block goes beyond White’s music, creating original music inspired by his life and his approach to the blues. With attention to detail, but an even greater sense of purpose, Block enlivens these performances with a balance of passion and precision that breathes life into oft-encountered numbers. Her voice is magic, and her approach to blues guitar is clean, restrained, and just damn fine beautiful.

15.Dori Freeman- Dori Freeman Freeman isn’t interested in presenting herself as some social archeology project, the mountain singer untouched by modern sway. She is a contemporary vocalist, one touched by the influences of her rural mountain upbringing as well as less-rustic contributions. She is a folk singer, a country singer, and a pop singer, all rolled into one appealing vocal package. Having written these ten songs, Freeman most obviously has her own viewpoint and voice, one that has been honed by producer Teddy Thompson; the focus of the arrangements, musicians, and production choices remain on Freeman and her songs.

16.Red Tail Ring- Far Away Blues How did this relatively unheralded set have such a significant impact on me that it took about two months to (barely) uncover the words to attempt a review? It is danged freakin’ good. This Michigan duo of Laurel Premo and Michael Beauchamp is incredible. They have the rare ability to inhabit songs, removing the barrier of time, place, and reality between their performance of ancient tunes “Yarrow” and “Come All Ye Fair & Tender Ladies,” their own timely compositions, the recorded medium, and the audience. You are transported into the recording, watching the pair lean into their songs as they maintain eye contact to communicate chords and progressions.

17.Chicago Farmer- Midwest Side Stories Cody Diekhoff—okay, Chicago Farmer—doesn’t set out to do anything fancy on Midwest Side Stories. He has insight into the experiences and internal dialogues of contemporary working class folks, and has the artistic ability to convert these into songs of substance and interest. “Skateboard Song” touches on a whole lot of stuff—youthful disenchantment, small-mindedness, finger-pointing, and police harassment, just to start—over a hard-beaten melody that would do both Weezer and Dan Bern proud. Chicago Farmer’s mid-western insights do not limit these songs: they appeal whether you are rural or urban, upstate or down, blue- or white- collar, Canadian or American. “Rocco N’ Susie” are our neighbours, the ones we don’t really know, but are more like us than we care to admit—a couple pay cheques away from foreclosure, a few months from desolation, several bad decisions from remand. The gradual journey from independence to dependence is identified in “Farms & Factories,” suspicion thrives in “Revolving Door,” and the night shift margins are explored on “9 pm to 5.”

18.Margo Price- Midwest Farmer’s Daughter I had several albums circling around these final spots, and I went with the ones I did because of their genuineness, their apparent authenticity. There is little to suggest Price considered market configurations or sales ramifications when compiling the songs for this release. Like Hazel Dickens did and Brandy Clark does, Price sings and writes of true life situations, and like Dickens (but not so much Clark) she doesn’t add a lot of spit and polish to the music. When I hear “Four Years of Chances,” “Hurtin’ On the Bottle,” “Desperate and Depressed,” and “This Town Gets Around,” I imagine I’m experiencing something similar to what folks felt listening to Loretta Lynn for the first time more than fifty years ago; still, I don’t think Loretta ever sang of blow jobs.

19.Corey Isenor- A Painted Portrait (Of the Classic Ruse) This is country music. Just not country music. There are times, as in “From Towers to Windmills,” that I am reminded of New Order (“Love Vigilantes.”) At other points Isenor’s approach reminds me of Matthew Lovegrove’s Woodland Telegraph: sparse, minimalist and achingly poignant (“Queen of Calgary” and “Diamonds on the Moon.”) “The Navy Blues” is catchy and complex, with Andrew Sneddon’s pedal steel providing additional melancholy. Rebecca Zolkower and Desiree Gordon’s vocals lend depth to several songs, as do Liam Frier’s guitar contributions. Alt-country continues with Corey Isenor.

20. Grant-Lee Phillips- The Narrows Sometimes you locate an album never realizing you were looking for it. The Narrows is one of those albums. I have a couple Grant-Lee Phillips albums, ones I listened to a few times upon purchase and then filed away in the drawers. I was looking around the internet one night a few months back and clicked on a video link for “Tennessee Rain.” Before the song was finished playing, I had gone into iTunes and hit Buy. Raucous in places (“Rolling Pin”) and atmospheric elsewhere, the deluxe edition of the album provides additional takes that extend the pleasure of the listen. While the Drive By Truckers delivered a more timely and angry disc, GLP produced the more enduring one.

I’m out of words, but also enjoyed these discs:

Brandy Clark- Big Day in a Small Town; Mary Chapin Carpenter- The Things That We Are Made Of; Parker Millsap- The Very Last Day; Lori McKenna- The Bird & the Rifle; Paul Gauthen- My Gospel; Loretta Lynn- Full Circle; Mandolin Orange- Blindfaller; Blackie & the Rodeo Kings- Kings & Kings; Chely Wright- I Am the Rain; Steve Forbert- Flying at Night; and Drive-By Truckers- American Band;

As an aside or addition, my favourite Roots Compilations/Tributes/Reissues of the year are, in no particular order:

VA- 40 Years of Stony Plain

J D Crowe & the New South- S/T vinyl 

Gillian Welch- Boots No. 1- The Official Revival Bootleg

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band- Circlin’ Back: Celebrating 50 Years

VA- Wayfaring Strangers: Cosmic American Music

VA- God Don’t Never Change: The Songs of Blind Willie Johnson

VA- Just Love: A Tribute to Audrey Auld Mezera

VA- The Life and Songs of Emmylou Harris

VA- Fast Folk: A Tribute to Jack Hardy

Merl Saunders and Jerry Garcia- Keystone Companions: The Complete 1973 Fantasy Recordings vinyl box

(Not included in the above list are excellent tribute [or tribute-ish] albums from Del McCoury Band, Laurie Lewis & the Right Hands, The Earls of Leicester, Rory Block, Jenny Whiteley [tribute to her family’s musical roots,] and Eric Brace/Peter Cooper, all of which made my top Bluegrass or Roots album lists.)

Finally, some 2015 albums didn’t get as much attention from me last year as they did in 2016, for a variety of reasons. But, man- did I play the heck out of them this year: Linda McRae- Shadow Trails; Chris Stapleton- Traveller; Josh Ritter- Sermon on the Rocks; Sam Baker- Say Grace; and Steve Forbert- Compromised.

BUY SOME MUSIC, DAMMIT! Roots musicians deserve our support.

Best for the New Year, Donald

 

 

 

 

 

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Just Love- Audrey Auld Mezera tribute review   Leave a comment

 

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Over at Lonesome Road Review, Aaron has posted my review of Just Love: A Tribute to Audrey Auld Mezera. It is nothing short of fantastic, and features none of the usual tribute suspects. In fact, you may not have heard of any of the participants before: I believe the only ones I had more of a passing acquaintance  (before listening) with were The Chamberses and Andrew Hardin. Don’t let that stop you!

Never heard of Audrey Auld (Mezera)? Again, don’t let that stop you. This is as fine a collection of Americana and roots music you’ll hear this year, familiar or not.

In the review, I state that I might have first heard Audrey on an area radio show, specifically Wide Cut Country on the CKUA network. I’m no longer sure of that. I believe, in hindsight, I more likely discovered her while searching for Fred Eaglesmith music on eMusic, and a duet with Audrey came up. I am thinking that based on my recent uncovering of a self-made compilation disc featuring a single Eaglesmith-Auld collaboration.

No matter. Listen to the album. And enjoy.

 

Walkin’ Talkin’ Dancin’ Singin’- August 9, 2010   Leave a comment

It has been an exceptional week for disc listening this week; late nights of reading and thinking along with a few days of work-motivation challenges has allowed me to have the music machines spinning more than usual. What has marked the week has been I haven’t listened to anything that I didn’t end up enjoying, and a few- like Angel Band- really surprised me. Almost got to Carstairs for the Mountain View fest on Saturday afternoon, but didn’t make it; Fred was in province for the best part of a month and I didn’t catch him. Shame on me! Here’s what I listened to this past week- some real gems; I hope you’re inspired to seek out some of these sounds. Best, Donald

The album I most enjoyed this past week

The Mountains & The Trees- I Made This For You An incredible new release out of Newfoundland. I’m not familiar with Jon Janes but I keep listening to this album. Pop and folk working together, lyrics that dig in under the skin to explore the usual subject matter but in ways that maintain interest. A powerful voice that isn’t over-extended. Lovely fiddle touches. Quite moody, but warm. A wonderful find.

The Grateful Dead- In the Dark I saw a used copy of this album for $14 the other day; not sure why it was so expensive. My iTunes version sufficed, giving me the fix I was craving.

Dala- Angels & Thieves Pulled out as a result of hearing them in Canmore last weekend. I enjoyed the live presentation a bit more than this collection of original and cover material, but this album is still impressive. The original material isn’t as strong as they would deliver on later albums, but their covers of songs from Donovan, Blur, Neil Young and The Cure are spot on in their creativity. Lovely blending of voices.

Jesse Malin- Glitter in the Gutter Picked up for the Springsteen track. A fine semi-modern rock album but I don’t think I’ll listen to it again any time soon.

Evie Ladin- Float Downstream Produced by Mike Marshall, from the Stairwell Sisters. An album that has been sitting, ignored, in the pile for awhile. Lots of harmony and banjo, neo-old tyme. I need to listen more, but it is quite appealing.

Brian Dunn- Examining the Fallout Created with Nathan Lawr, whom I’ve been hearing a lot about recently. Interesting noises. Again, a pleasant surprise but not sure if it is really my kind of thing.

Amos Garrett, Doug Sahm, and Gene Taylor Band- The Return of the Formerly Brothers A nice set of tunes, some of which are pretty familiar. More roots than blues, which is the way I most enjoy Amos Garrett. Doug Sahm does much of the singing and is in good voice. It is folk festival season and that is why this one came up for a listen.

The Duhks- Fast Paced World I stopped listening to The Duhks when Jessica Havey left, and for no good reason, apparently. I guess I figured the ‘new’ singer wouldn’t be as impressive. I started exploring them again this week and am finding much that is appealing. A fine album.

Darrell Scott- A Crooked Road Bought this from Amazon when it was released a few months ago but was saving it for a night when it seemed right. That finally came up on Friday. I’ll need to listen more; first impressions are positive.

Various Artists- Private Radio Soundtrack Borrowed from the library.

Woodbend- Hank’s Old Mandolin My father-in-law saw them at Blueberry and spoke quite positively about them so I thought I’d give it another listen. I’ll need to give it another go. They make some interesting cover choices- Corb Lund, for one.

Will White- Rise Above An excellent acoustiblue album from a Calgary songwriter. Great original material with southern roots.

Zachary Richard- Last Kiss Outstanding in every way although I could do without the contributions from She Whose Name Will Not Be Typed Within Fervor Coulee on “Acadian Driftwood;” that being said, the voice on the album doesn’t sound anything like her to my ears- without the liner notes, I would never have known who was singing with Richard and it sounds very good. Still, his version sans accompaniment at Canmore was even more intense. One can feel his pain when he sings, “Somebody call out a warning, Somebody come to my rescue” in “The Levee Broke.” This is more than just another Cajun album- this is folk songwriting at its highest level. A deep fellow- read his postings at www.zacharyrichard.com

Zachary Richard- Snake Bite Love I could listen to him all day, I do believe. More directly ‘Cajun’ in sound than Last Kiss, the songs still draw you in.

John Boutté- Jambalaya A nice album, not essential like Good Neighbor but covers much of the Boutté repertoire. Live at Jazz Fest 2007 A brilliant set featuring a version of “Louisiana 1927.”

The Drive-By Truckers- The Big To-Do Another one that has sat in the pile for too long; I bought this one back in May. The only two DBT albums (not including The Fine Print) that hit me hard on first listen were Southern Rock Opera and Brighter Than Creation’s Dark so I’ll need to spend more time with this one. If nothing else, they have great song titles.

Shearwater- Shearwater Acoustiblue from the left coast. Gentle. Nice background music, but still holds the attention.

Jerry Castle- Don’t Even Ask Country rock from Nashville. Review is up at Lonesome Standard Time.

Delhi 2 Dublin- Planet Electric Not my normal thing as it is both quite noisy and very young. But appealing, meant to be played loud. I love the blending of East Indian music with elements of electronica and Celtic sounds.

James Alan Shelton- Where I’m Bound One of my favourite bluegrass guitarists. I’m reviewing it for the Lonesome Road Review.

Tom Russell- Cowboy’d All to Hell The more time I spend with this one, the more I appreciate it. There is only one new song on the collection, but several new recordings of classic songs. He has such a command of language and can generate vivid portraits in just a line or two of astutely chosen words.

My home office is a mess, with piles of magazines going back a few years and discs that haven’t made it to the alphabetical stacks. This week I decided to start working my way through the piles that have been alphabetized but aren’t yet ready to be permanently filed- these are things I’ve acquired over the last year and a half but haven’t had a chance to give them my full attention, so they’ve been sitting in the Shelves of Purgatory. I started with the ‘A’ discs, and actually worked my way through them in three extended sessions.

The Action- Action Packed Mid-60s mod rock. Nothing essential and nothing The Small Faces didn’t do better, despite the Paul Weller endorsement. Still, “Something Has Hit Me” and “Shadows and Reflections” are cracking songs.

Africa- Music from ’Lil Brown Since I found this recording, I’ve listened to it four or five times. You can find more expansive discussions of this band and album on the ‘net- look around a bit. Quite magical, if only for the medley of “Louie, Louie” and “Ode to Billy Joe.” One of those albums I wish I had found years ago.

Akido- Akido A beautiful album with engaging percussion.

Dave Alvin- Blue Blvd. I found this CD for $3 so decided to replace my cassette copy. One of my favourite Alvin releases.

Kasey Anderson- Nowhere Nights and Dead Roses Reminds me of James McMurtry. I think one has to take the time to listen to his words in order to really appreciate what Anderson has to offer. “Out on this road all the miles feel the same,” he sings in “The Borderline.” There is desperation here, shades of talent all over the place, Crowell, Russell, etc but  also lesser known folks like LeeRoy Stagger, Steve Pineo,  and Dave McCann- sill original, still dynamic and personal. Good stuff.

Doug Andrews & The Circus in Flames- A Little Bit of Gasoline I downloaded this from eMusic a couple years back but found a used copy for a couple bucks several months ago. If you like The Sadies, this one might appeal, capped by the epic “When Christ was a Cowboy.”

Angel Band- With Roots & Wings I apologize to the three ladies that make up this vocal combo. I apologize to Appleseed Records. I apologize to Lloyd Maines who produced the album. They sent it, I think I listened to it. I did nothing with it because, quite obviously, I’m an idiot. The entire time it was playing this past week I kept shaking my head and exclaiming, “Dang, that’s good.” Sometimes it was after a particularly beautiful lead vocal segment, more often when an instrument came in with a fill to support the harmonies. Like a Tex-Mex Wailin’ Jennys, these gals have it- terrific songs, a killer studio outfit, wonderful harmonies and arrangements- and I’m a sucker for Emmylou references. Some of it is lonesome- “The saddest bird I ever saw lives on a branch in Arkansas, Perched alone with nothing to do waits all his life for a rendezvous”- from “Cold Lonesome Down in Blackbird Creek”- but more often the pain and reflection is disguised in breathless liveliness. A beautiful recording project. I am so glad I rediscovered it with fresh ears.

Any Trouble- Where Are All the Nice Girls? and Wheels in Motion Elvis Costello meets The Jags. Folk meets power-pop.  The first album has some of the finest songs to come out of new wave- “Second Choice,” “Playing Bogart,” and “Girls Are Always Right.” Thirty years ago, covers of Springsteen songs were not a penny a pair as they are today, so when I heard their version of “Growing Up” on late night radio, I bought Where Are All the Nice Girls?  and an official live bootleg containing a version of “Growing Up” at the next opportunity.

Joseph Arthur- Daytrotter Session Okay, so this was the only thing I listened to in the last week that didn’t work for me. On one track, “Dead Savior” he sounds engaged and vital- sort of sounding like Jim Carroll. The rest though appear to be outtakes from a Foreigner reunion album.

Audrey Auld- Losing Faith, Texas, and The Billabong Song e.p. with “Poverty Line” and “Bread & Roses” singles “I got California debt on a Tennessee income…” “He’s more generous than handsome…” “Once I thought I would be a big star…looking at myself on T.V.” More than great lines, Audrey Auld- not sure what happened to the Mezera- has great songs, a great sense of the world and how she can reflect it in songs, and not just her own. Slim Dusty songs, an Eric Bogle classic, and lots of Tazmania’s great vocal export. I spent an afternoon with Audrey this week- well, with her music- and remembered again why I went on a bit of a download jag last winter. She is something special. Comes with the Fred Eaglesmith endorsement. Listening to Audrey sing “Harmony” with Kieran Kane is just magic. Classic country sounds with a contemporary bent.

Hoyt Axton- And His Guitar Recordings from the 60s that have been packaged and repacked any number of ways. “Greenback Dollar.” “500 Miles.” “John Henry.” He had such a terrific voice and easy-going approach to songs. While listening to this, I made a little list of singers I never got to see live but wished I had. John Stewart. Johnny Cash. Bill Monroe. Kirsty MacColl. Hoyt Axton is another one.

Okay, now I can move all those ‘A’ listers to the archive shelf and move a wee pile onto the bottom shelves until I get through the ‘B’s this week. Or not…

I also listened to James McMurtry’s first Sugar Hill album It Had to Happen. Another one of those performers I love whenever I listen, but I don’t listen to enough to call them a favourite.

Broken Social Scene- Forgiveness Rock Record and Broken Social Scene How have a missed falling for his band? Reenergized me with an unavoidably catchy blend of sounds- a real mess that works.