Growing up, my dad listened to a lot of Country music. We had a VW bus and on the rear window was a sticker from his favorite Country music radio station, KEEN. He played country radio out in the garage while he was working, and invariably, the cars' radios were always tuned to KEEN. As a tween and teenager, my dad's interest in Country music made little sense to me. Why listen to Country when one could listen to the likes of Depeche Mode, R.E.M., The Smiths, and Metallica? I just didn't get it. Despite that, I humored my dad and his Country music fandom. He took me to see Juice Newton with him when I was about 10, and when I was 15, we went together to see Emmylou Harris (one of his all time favorites) perform. Still, I preferred Pet Shop Boys and The English Beat to anything with a steel guitar. It wasn't until I was in my early 30s that I began to appreciate the music I had grown up listening to, and from then I have been proud to consider myself a fan of Country music and its sub-genres. Thus, I would like to offer the following selections by two of my all-time favorite Country/Alt-Country/Bluegrass/Folk artists, Emmylou Harris and Gillian Welch.
Albums by Emmylou Harris:
Wrecking Ball - Standout track: Wrecking Ball
Songs of the West - Standout track: Amarillo
Trio - Not just Emmylou Harris, but also Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt. This is probably my favorite Country album of all time. It's an absolute masterclass of harmony and musicianship. Hard to choose a standout track on this one. Probably a three-way tie between To Know Him is to Love Him, My Dear Companion, and Wildflowers.
Albums by Gillian Welch:
The Harrow and the Harvest - Standout track: Dark Turn of Mind
Revival - Standout tracks: Orphan Girl and Acony Bell
Time (The Revelator) - Standout track: I Dream a Highway
As a world music radio DJ, I am always interested in cross-cultural musical explorations. Here are some notable examples:
Yoyo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble - Bringing together musicians from over 20 countries, this ongoing project has released several CDs, The Music of Strangers DVD and a Tanglewood Music Festival performance streaming on Medici TV.
Malian kora player Ballake Sissoko and French Cellist Vincent Segal have recorded a few CDs together including Musique de Nuit, At Peace, and Djourou. This is an outstanding collaboration of two artists creating beautiful flowing music.
American banjo master Bela Fleck is constantly exploring different genres of music and collaborating with musicians from around the globe. Check out his collaborations with African musicians on Throw Down Your Heart, available as a DVD and as a music CD.
The Nile Project CD, Aswan, gathers musicians from the African countries through which the Nile River flows. They find harmonic common ground and also revel in their musical differences.
Looking for music for your kiddos that won't make you go bonkers with repeated listening, knowing that children love to listen to things again and again and again and again and again? Lots of established artists and groups that have produced music for adults also created albums with families in mind. If you enjoyed their previous work, you might find some of these enjoyable, too!
Family Time by Ziggy Marley
Ozokidz by Ozomatli
From Baby Loves Hip Hop come The Dino 5 featuring Prince Paul, Chali 2na, Scratch, Wordsworth, and Labybug Mecca
The Johnny Cash Children's Album by Johnny Cash
Snacktime! by the Barenaked Ladies
My Green Kite by Peter Himmelman
We're All Young Together by Walter Martin
And, multiple albums by Lisa Loeb and They Might Be Giants
Celebrate nearly 90 years of invisible men, and one woman, in film with:
The Invisible Man Complete Legacy Collection
The Invisible Man - 1933
The Invisible Man Returns - 1940
The Invisible Woman - 1940
Invisible Agent - 1942
Invisible Man's Revenge - 1944
Abbott and Costello Meet The Invisible Man - 1951
Memoirs of An Invisible Man 1992
Hollow Man 2000
The Invisible Man 2020
My picks for this week consist of the five tracks nominated for a Grammy this year for Best R&B Song. All stellar songs that are in my regular R&B rotation, I would be hard-pressed to pick a winner in such a strong category.
• “Damage” - H.E.R.
• “Good Days” - SZA
• “Heartbreak Anniversary” - Giveon
• “Leave the Door Open” - Silk Sonic
• “Pick Up Your Feelings” - Jazmine Sullivan
Also, it’s been a while since we’ve had a new Alicia Keys album, and this one is a double! Stream/download KEYS on Freegal.
And if you love ‘90s R&B, SCCLD recently added some albums from the late, great Aaliyah that were not previously available.
I have a mishmash of genres downloaded on Spotify, from the Beatles to Vivaldi, from Bach to The XX.
I like folk/pop/rock (Rufus Wainwright, , Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Simon & Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt, My Brightest Diamond)
I like pure folk and blues (Pete Seeger, The Weavers, Leadbelly, Reverend Gary Davis, Joan Baez, Judy Collins)
Classical: (Philip Glass, especially solo piano works Metamorphosis I-V; Beethoven symphonies and piano sonatas; Handel operas, Max Richter, Milhaud)
I'm not a country music fan, but I like one album by Lee Ann Womack and I've downloaded Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Doc Watson and Earl Scruggs.
Also not a fan of most jazz, but I like the iconic albums like Kind of Blue (Miles Davis), Giant Steps (Coltrane)and vocal music, especially Ella Fitzgerald's American Songbook albums and her duets with Louis Armstrong.
Nino Rota is my favorite movie composer and Kurt Weill is my favorite musicals and popular music composer.
I listen to a lot of traditional world music, especially Indonesian, Bulgarian, Japanese, flamenco and klezmer.
Movies & Music - Question of the Week
Fans of Jimmy Buffett are known as this.
Last Week's Trivia Answer: 34