Tom Coxworth— The Fifth Dimension, “Aquarius”
It was of a time almost 50 Year ago – Hair was very important in documenting and identify in a time – Canadian Galt McDermot pass away this past week and will forever be tied to these major songs of that era.
Lisa Wilton— XTC, “The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead”
I recently saw the XTC documentary This Is Pop, which originally aired a few months ago, so I’m on a bit of an XTC kick (again.)
It’s impossible to choose the best XTC song as there are so many great ones, but there is something undeniably cool about this track. It’s a got a memorable riff and powerful build up that perfectly complement the song’s intriguing storyline.
Bob Chelmick— Mark Knopfler, “Secondary Waltz”
A gem of a story song: high school dance lessons leading to that nervous first twirl with the opposite gender. A fine ‘holiday’ song.
Bob Chelmick— John Gorka, “Mr. Chambers”
A poignant story of a lonely man’s lack of social graces. Beautifully realized with subtlety and a fine melodic ‘hook’.
Mark Antonelli— Markus Pawlik, piano (“Pavlick”), “Pastorale (Hungarian Christmas Song)”
This is one of my favourite pieces of Christmas music. It’s an improvisation on a Hungarian Christmas carol known as ‘Mennybol az angyal’ (The Angel from Heaven) and begins with a captivating bell-like motive that Dohnanyi actually wrote (note by note) into his homemade Christmas cards for family and friends. I try to play it on the air each and every year and it never fails to catch my ear!
Orest Soltykevych— Chor Leoni Men’s Choir / Diane Loomer, “Conrad Susa: Carols & Lullabies – Christmas in the Southwest”
Conrad Susa was an American composer who was composer in residence at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego, and was professor of composition at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music until his death in 2013.
A friend showed Susa a collection of traditional Spanish carols that the friend had sung as a boy in Arizona, and Susa arranged ten of these carols into the form of a Christmas story.
Baba— My Brightest Diamond, “Rising Star”
My Brightest Diamond/Shara Worden/Shara Nova, like her ‘many names’ is an artist of many styles.
‘Rising Star’ has some very interesting musical twists and turns, like choral compositions and elements of baroque chamber opera.
The song is about togetherness beyond the self, love it!
Darcy Whiteside— Emory Lester (with Jill Jones), “The Huron Carol”
The Huron Carol dates to the mid 17th Century and is Canada’s oldest Christmas song. In lieu of shepherds and the Magi, baby Jesus is surrounded by hunters and “chiefs from afar” who bring fox and beaver pelts. And God is referred to by the Algonquian Gitchi Manitou.
Kodi Hutchinson— Vince Guaraldi, “Linus & Lucy”
It’s the holiday season….need I say anymore about this timeless song.
Hayley Muir— Zoe Boekbinder, “Possibilities”
I am endlessly fascinated by this new release. Born in Ontario, now based in New Orleans, Zoe Boekbinder plays with her voice more than any “synthstrument” throughout the album. ‘Possibilities’ is so groovy, and Boekbinder’s multi-layered, thoughtfully panned vocals and pitch-perfect harmonies with herself make for a song that knocked me off my feet. Lyrically, the tune is uplifting and inspiring. Headphones are recommended for this one, but it’s a must hear regardless!
Terry David Mulligan— Serena Ryder, “Christmas Song”
She sings this standard as if she’s been singing it most of her life. Which she has. Sometimes like Ella. Or Nina Simone. Or Chet Baker
Best of all it’s a demo she sent to producer Bob Ezrin that she recorded on her iPhone. He liked it so much he finished her album Christmas Kisses with it
Cathy Ennis— Joni Mitchell, “River”
Not exactly ‘holly-jolly’ this one, but such a perfect creation; Joni remembering Christmases far removed from Los Angeles where she was living at the time. River is from her 1971 Blue album and remains a timeless, classic beauty about loss and memories.
Grant Stovel— The Beatles, “I’ve Got a Feeling”
It’s ironic, I guess, that a song that’s just brimming with fervour and hope comes from The Beatles’ final-ever live show — an impromptu concert which they performed 50 years ago this January, on the rooftop of their Apple Corps headquarters in London.
It’s poignant to hear Lennon & McCartney make equally distinctive, equally important contributions to this work — joining their respective parts at the end in a way that feel as complementary and cohesive as anything they ever created together.
It certainly makes a sweet, wistful kick-off to the final side of the final album of The Beatles’ discography, Let It Be.
And — it’s an amazing soundtrack to the end of one year, and the beginning of another. Happy New Year, everybody!
Amy van Keeken— Durand Jones & The Indications, “Don’t You Know”
Their new album comes out March 1. Until then the band has given us this first single Don’t You Know featuring drummer Aaron Frazer sharing vocal duties with Durand Jones. The track is smooooooth, soulful, romantic, swoon worthy. Thanks for the great Xmas present, lads.