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Amy Van KeekenWillie Nelson, “He Won’t Ever Be Gone

Eighty Four year old Willie Nelson has a new album out, “God’s Problem Child” and this track is on it. The tears will flow as you listen to this heartfelt tune about Willie’s buddy Merle Haggard, who passed away a year ago.

David WardDiana Krall, “Moonglow

Laid-back, subtle, sophisticated, intimate, masterful. All of these adjectives came to mind while listening to Diana’s performance of this song that dates back to 1933. Diana’s career has been built on songs like this but something new is evident. Maybe the recent deaths of important people close to her (James Krall, her father, and Tommy LiPuma, her long-time producer) has inspired her to dig even deeper into the music. Whatever, this is a beautiful rendition!

Oskar ZybartRadiohead, “Let Down

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Radiohead’s masterful ‘OK Computer’. There are several special versions of the album planned for release this summer to commemorate the occasion. But why wait? We can celebrate right now with one of the album’s most uplifting tracks. Glorious tones.

Lisa WiltonPete Yorn, “The Man

This song appeared first on Pete Yorn’s third studio album, Nightcrawler, but I prefer the version that appeared on his 2006 EP, Westerns. A beautiful, mid-tempo roots ballad, The Man also features tasteful backing vocals from Natalie Maines of The Dixie Chicks. Absolutely lovely.

Monica MillerFeist, “Any Party

I just listened to an incredibly snarky New York Times podcast about Feist’s new album “Pleasure”. Jon Pareles took part and was kind and respectful but the other 2 dudes?! My 2 bits: Feist is a unique voice who, so far, has not made the same album twice. That is something to respect and applaud. Always.

Mark AntonelliLyon Opera Orchestra / Kent Nagano, “Leo Delibes: Coppelia (Ballet): Act I: Prelude & Mazurka

I’ve loved this music for many years. There’s something about the opening of the Prelude that gets me every time. The noble brass joined by the sweeping strings…always fosters an emotional response in me. Then we come to the Mazurka! A real toe-tapper. I’m simply not able to sit still! The Mazurka’s melody has been known to haunt me for hours after a hearing!

Lark ClarkAlex Cuba, “Chekere

Irresistible beat about a beautiful rhythm instrument! The chekere – that big gourd with the beads on the outside. Used everywhere throughout Africa and an integral part of Cuban Santeria rituals. Que no parĂ© el chekere! May the chekere never stop!

BabaYusuf aka Cat Stevens, “Tell ‘Em I’m Gone

Old Lead Belly anthem gets a remake (Take This Hammer).

Terry David MulliganCharlie Mingus, “Better get it in your Soul

1959 was one of the great years in Jazz. Miles Kind of Blue/Brubecks Time Out. Coltrane. Dolphy. Bill Evans. And Charlie Mingus Ah Um.

Better get it in your soul was Charlie’s way of taking us to church. His Church. At the 3:30 mark is one of the most soulful breaks I’ve EVER heard. The track is at once tightly constructed and free as a bird.

Try keeping up to the hand claps.

As Charlie says “Anyone can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple.”

Also like the Tommy Banks version.

Grant StovelEamon McGrath, “Cold Alberta Nights

This has long been a favourite of mine, and I feel like the lyrics really come to the fore on this live solo acoustic version.

The Edmonton expat tour practically non-stop, but his lyrics often harken back to his old Albertan stomping grounds.

He recorded this version of “Cold Alberta Nights” in CKUA’s LP library the other day, when he was touring the province on a book tour — in support of his just-released first book, “Berlin-Warszawa Express”.

He said he chose to play this one “in honour of CKUA’s broadcast radius.”

Dianne DonovanTraffic, “The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys

This extensive song begins and ends with an ellipsis…has a cool groove, Steve Winwood’s winsome vocals, some great solos and a glorious dissonant chord right near the end. Who new that the title came from actor, Michael J. Pollard? We do, now.

Kodi HutchinsonAudrey Ochoa, “De-Mi

A unique mix of contemporary and classic jazz fused together on the new release ‘Afterthought’ from Canada’s answer to Trombone Shorty! Quirky and fun music!