Music

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Césaria Évora RIP

The 'Barefoot Diva' died Saturday at 70 but her smokey, soulful voice lives on in her recordings. A native of Cape Verde, Évora sang the traditional music of her country, which combines West African percussion with Portuguese fados, Brazilian modhinas, and British sea shanties. Her music is uniquely beautiful and not to be missed.

I Learned the Hard Way by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings

Retro-soul that will take you back to the 60s, featuring Sharon Jones' gritty, passionate vocals and The Dap-Kings' driving deep funk sound. This CD bears listening and re-listening and they also put on a floor-shaking high-energy live performance if you're lucky enough to catch them on tour (which I did just last night in Portsmouth). Check Our Catalog

I and Love and You by the Avett Brothers

All of the Avett Brothers albums are great.  Their harmonies are beautiful.  Their talent with the various instruments they play (banjo, guitar, piano and more) is phenomenal and their lyrics are clever and true.  In I and Love and You the songs are sadder and filled with pain and mental anguish.  Even a seemingly festive song like "Tin Man" has dark lyrics.  But don't let that scare you.  This is a fine album without a dud on it.

7 Worlds Collide: Neil Finn & Friends Live at the St. James

Neil Finn has been making beautifully crafted music for over 30 years with Split Enz, Crowded House, his brother Tim and as a solo artist.  On this live disc he gathers several musician friends, including Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder and Johnny Marr of the Smiths, to perform their songs and his.  Great perfomances abound on this CD, especially Vedder singing "Stuff & Nonsense" and Finn doing his own "She Will Have Her Way".

Say It by Evan Goodrow Band

This Boston-based trio opened for B.B.King at his recent concert in Beverly and impressed me with its full, rocking blues sound. Evan Goodrow leads the band on guitar and vocals, with Phil Antoniades on drums and John Cooke just smokin' on a Hammond organ. Check Our Catalog

B.B. King

"King of the Blues" B.B. King is legendary for a good reason--he's still awesome after 50+ years in the blues business. Try a "best of" CD to get a flavor for his electric guitar work, gritty voice, and passionate interpretations of traditional blues songs.

No Time For Dreaming by Charles Bradley and the Menahan Street Band

This album features soulful vocals and an r&b sound so classic you'll think you're time traveling to the 1960s. Although Charles Bradley has been singing for decades, this appears to be his first recording project and it's a fine one, with great arrangements (horns, percussion, vibraphone and more), passionate singing, and a mix of personal love ballads and social comment songs. Bradley's hard-livin' vocal style may be an acquired taste for some, but I acquired it instantly.

Afrocubism

If you liked the Buena Vista Social Club, you'll like this new CD. It's an Afro-Cuban mashup--great fun to listen to! Check Our Catalog

Phoebe Snow

Snow's recent death at age 60 sent me back to the songs that introduced her to the world--and to me--back in the 70s. Well worth a listen to Phoebe's unique voice singing favorites like "Poetry Man", "Shakey Ground" and "Love Makes a Woman". Check Our Catalog

Easy Wonderful by Guster

If you haven't discovered Guster yet, you have to listen to this album.  This pop rock quartet started at Tufts Univ. some 20 years ago and their music is still really fun to listen to. Check Our Catalog

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