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Lark ClarkMokoomba, “Kumukanda”

This band is now the strongest voice out of Zimbabwe. They do so many things, and do them well. Great lead singer, terrific harmonies, and the guitarists translate traditional mbira music into their rockin’ styles.

BabaCornershop, “What Did The Hippie Have In His Bag?”

Maybe I am that person with the bag, maybe you are. So, what do you have in your bag? Time to take inventory! Cornershop bring (occasionally), Punjabi folk music into the contemporary idiom, and they are good!

Allison BrockGarland Jeffreys, “Help”

A timeless song that has been given a great new treatment by Garland Jeffreys. In my books he’s a timeless artist and he puts more emotion into the song, almost pleading for help. He essentially gives the song a whole new meaning more than five decades after it was written.

Tony KingLido Pimienta, “Quiero Jardines”

“I’ve been in Canada for 10 years, and when I think about Canada then and now, it’s the same. I’m still the one brown girl among all these white men.” – Lido Pimienta.
Clearly not one to pull her punches, Lido Pimienta’s latest album La Papessa is shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize this year. Despite her stark, if not realistic approach to talking about her life and music, when you listen to the songs from this South American ex-pat, they sparkle with ebullience. The thrill of tucking into a cut like “Quiero Jardines” is savouring the fearlessness of youth locked into deep grooves.

Lionel RaultSean Rowe, “Desiree”

Great performance, catchy hook and the perfect bouncy beat for a summer’s day!

Dianne DonovanCurtis Mayfield, “Freddie’s Dead”

The words are socially relevant and the groove is ever-present, along with Mayfield’s amazing, cool vocals. Written for the Film “Superfly” in the film version it presented as an instrumental.

Lisa WiltonBruce Cockburn, “Call It Democracy”

This song has popped up in my mind a few times in recent months and I recently saw Barney Bentall and his son Dustin Bentall do a great version of it at The Calgary Folk Music Festival. The lyrics are still as relevant today as when he first wrote them back in the ’80s. Perhaps even more so, considering what’s going on in world politics. It’s not exactly a carefree summer song, but it’s worth giving another listen to this Cockburn classic.

Mark AntonelliDan Dean, “Bach: Sheep may Safely Graze”

My ears were surprised this week by vocalist Dan Dean. His multi-track vocalizations of classical music are amazing. He’s the son of vocalists and began improvising with his parents as a very young child. He even tackles Mussorgsky’s Night On Bald Mountain on the disc! These sheep are grazing in a slightly jazzy way. I’ll be playing the Mussorgsky on air soon!

Terry David MulliganLittle Richard, “Lucille”

Yes you could look closer to today’s music but none of them can do what this record does.
It’s secret is Richard of course. Great singer. Stellar piano artist.
The label says Little Richard and his band. But it wasn’t his, it was mostly Fats Domino’s New Orleans band.
Richard said he got this and other songs and Rythym’s from trains passing his home.
All Aboard!!!

Grant StovelAlbert King, “Born Under a Bad Sign”

This 1967 classic was kind of like Albert King’s signature song, but it was penned by two employees over at Stax Records in Memphis.
They were Booker T. Jones (whose Booker T. & the MG’s back up Albert King on this record) and legendary songwriter, William Bell.
And hey — William Bell plays at the Edmonton Folk Festival this weekend!
His songs have been recorded by everybody from Otis Redding to Cream to Billy Idol (!)… but but he’s a wonderful singer and performer in his own right. I can’t wait to check him out.

Monica MillerMelody Gardot, “The King of 52 Street”

Just as we all immerse ourselves in the world of folk – I choose jazz. Go figure! I had been thinking about Melody Gardot and then she popped up on this new Larry Klein project “The Passion of Charlie Parker”. The tune is Bird’s “Scrapple From The Apple”. The lyrics are by David Baerwald written from the p-o-v of Parker’s wife Chan. Donny McCaslin plays tenor sax – Ben Monder on guitar (both alumnus of Bowie’s Blackstar band).