After having the privilege of watching the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater perform choreographer Matthew Rushing’s new piece “Odetta” during the troupe’s recent visit to Boston, I’ve rediscovered the power and majesty of this one-of-a-kind American artist. If you are not familiar with Odetta’s music, try The Essential Odetta (available on CD at the library) or one of the Odetta albums available streaming on hoopla digital with your Quincy library card. Her renditions of familiar folk songs like Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child, Another Man Done Gone, and He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands will move the coldest heart. Check Our Catalog  or Stream From hoopla 
If Billie Holliday were still alive she would have turned 100 on April 7. Sadly underappreciated in her lifetime, she died at age 44, chained to a hospital bed facing drug charges, with only $1,000 to her name. She worked with legends, was named "Lady Day" by tenor saxophonist Lester Young, had a brief stint with Count Basie, and competed with Elle Fitzgerald for popular attention (and they later became friends). She is without a doubt one of the very top vocalists to have ever lived and changed the way music was performed and appreciated. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000 and posthumously received over two dozen Grammy Awards.We have many albums you can listen to right now . Right now I'm enjoying The Complete Billie Holiday On Verve 1945-1959  - an amazing collection of nearly 12 hours of music / 256 songs. It includes arguably her most famous, Strange Fruit, the quintessential God Bless the Child, and so, so much more. Check Our Catalog 
As children my sister and I were subjected to thousands of hours of folk music at the hands of our mother. The phonograph was always on and she wasn't playing the Kingston Trio or Peter, Paul and Mary. She played real folk music. Lots of it Irish. At the time we didn't think too much about it because it had always been the background music of our lives but as we got older it was obvious how much that music influenced our grown up tastes. Which brings me to Hozier. I wouldn't exactly call him a folk singer but, really, he is. So many of the songs on his self-titled release remind me of the songs we grew up with, none more than the duet In a Week, the story of a couple who lay down to die in a field and what they imagine nature will do to their corpses in the week they think it will take for their bodies to be discovered. Check Our Catalog 
If you haven’t been listening to She & Him, a collaboration between indie darling Zooey Deschanel and singer-songwriter M. Ward, you’ve been missing out. This is their 5th album together and consists of, unsurprisingly, covers of 13 classic songs, recorded live and accompanied by an orchestra. While I would have liked to hear a little more of M. Ward’s vocals, the covers were fun and refreshing and still managed to retain their original charm. My favorite tracks were versions of Dusty Springfield’s “Stay Awhile” and Frank Sinatra’s “Time After Time.” If covers aren’t your cup of tea, check out their other albums (Volumes one , two  and three ) to experience some of their original songwriting, and see them live if you ever get the chance! Check Our Catalog 
If you enjoy listening to choral music and have never heard this recording, please borrow it right away. This music is drenched in emotion but never maudlin; it’s modern (composed in the 1990s) but sounds like renaissance and classical music; it’s lush and sonorous but also precise and carefully crafted. Lauridsen is one of the most performed contemporary choral composers in America but for some reason I had never heard of him. This recording brought me to tears again and again. Check Our Catalog 
There are many things that just feel so right about The Weeknd. Maybe it’s the forlorn echoing, resounding bass and the falsetto register of Abel Tesfaye. Simply put, The Weeknd’s songs are dark, moody and lustful. Sometimes reminiscent of Michael Jackson, Prince, or Massive Attack with contemporary equals such as Frank Ocean or Drake, the Weeknd‘s Trilogy is a remastered release of his first mixtapes that contain some of his very best work. From “The Morning” to “Montréal”, or “The Professional” you’ll find that there are many songs to discover and thoroughly enjoy here if you’re in the mood for something tastefully dark and stormy. Check our Catalog  or Listen Now .
If you've ever appreciated George Clinton's desire to make your funk un-cut, this is 5+ hours of bliss "bound to take the average overthinking funk freak to new levels of nerd-dom" (allmusic.com ). This is 91 tracks from ten years of classic funk from the archives of Warner Bros., Atlantic, Reprise, Atco, and smaller labels like Cotillion, Curtom, Alston, and Jonie. You may want to follow the allmusic.com  link to the review just so you can follow along track by track and know who is playing on each track (one downside to our streaming service is there's not enough track-by-track detail for music nerds). There is not much here many people will immediately recognize - even the known entities have deep cuts (does Curtis Mayfield's (Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below We're All Going to Go ring a bell? It's apparently one of the better known tracks here.) Don't let this deter you though. Many a great hip-hop track has sampled from herein, and there is a lot more remixing and shuffling to be imagined. Well - what are you waiting for?! Get on the good foot and go get your funk on!
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This album is everything danceable rock should be, full of lanky riffs, fantastic lyrics and lead singer Alex Turner’s crooning. Tracks “R U Mine?”, “Snap Out of It” and “One for the Road” have catchy beats and that will stay in your head for hours. The drum build up of “Do I Wanna Know?” is so simple and momentous, that when the main riff creeps in, you just can’t help but jam along with the slow, wonderful drag of it. If you’re feeling like a good pick me up, and a little late night rock (for anytime of the day), this is for you. Check our catalog  or listen now on hoopla !
One of my favorite concert experiences in the past couple years was getting to see John McLaughlin play with his new band. He has returned to the electric jazz fusion that I first came to love him for. While the library hasn't acquired the recording of the the show I saw yet (but I'm so excited it was recorded and released already - look for it on Spotify - McLaughlin live in Boston), I did just find this amazing gem that was released in August of 2014. I haven't been able to figure out exactly when this was originally recorded but I believe it dates to around 1978, when his studio album Electric Dreams was released with the One Truth Band. This band included L. Shankar on violin, Tony Smith on drums, Stu Goldberg on keyboards, Fernando Saunders on bass, and Alyrio Lima handling various percussion duties. I think this album is great for any fans of John McLaughlin, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Shakti, Bitches Brew-era Miles Davis, of simply mind-melting guitar and rhythm. Listen now  (with hoopla).
If you've been hankering for old school metal look no further than this fine new offering from Judas Priest. Putting this cd on is like stepping into a time machine in the very best way. Awesome song titles like Metalizer and Halls of Valhalla, and my personal favorite Dragonaught signal exactly what you're in for. Songs about fires in the sky, black hell, ghosts, revenge and "on that two wheeler from hell on the wind" the Redeemer of Souls. The band rocks hard and Rob Halford can still scream with the conviction of a tween at a One Direction concert. If you loved them then you will love them now. Enjoy the sample below and then check our catalog .
Get in the holiday spirit with one of my favorite holiday-themed albums of all time. The perfect balance of melancholic nostalgia, tight jazz improvisation, and plenty of space to think about falling snow. I get tired pretty quickly listening to the songs that sprout like weeds this time of year, but I've never grown tired of this album. I picked up the sheet music a few years ago and try and bang out some of the parts on my piano at home. I like both the original numbers (Christmas time is here, Skating) as well as the arrangements of familiar tunes (esp. Greensleeves and What Child is This). Not sure if I'll watch the special this year, but I sure will enjoy listening and remember poor Charlie Brown and his sad little tree. Check our catalog  and listen now .
Listening to a blues radio show this last weekend I heard an amazing guitarist I hadn't heard before. The DJ said it was recorded live in Belfast in the early 1970's - at a time when Belfast was a very unsafe place. I went to the library catalog and didn't find any CDs I could borrow, but I was delighted to discover a significant number of titles  from our streaming service (hoopla). I was further thrilled to find what I have learned is considered one of his pinacle concerts in a deluxe package prepared last summer for the 40th anniversary. 56 songs, over six and a half hours of music await! I'm listening right now and loving it. I know I'll come back for repeated listenings. Now I just need to find a copy of the film documenting this concert - any tips? Wait, it's on youtube, I'll share it below. Check our catalog 
For no good reason, Sleater-Kinney has been one of those groups that I’ve had on the backburner for quite a while. After hearing that they were reuniting after a decade hiatus, I thought I should finally educate myself with this pivotal band in the riot grrrl and indie rock scene. The Woods is the last album they released in 2005, and it’s an anthem for butt-kicking women everywhere. The opening track “The Fox” is a powerful jam that sets the precedent for hard guitar riffs and catchy vocals. “What’s Mine is Yours” is reminiscent of more classic rock elements with the Sleater-Kinney brand of sharp lyrics. And if it’s possible to be in love with a song upon first hearing, then it’s the 11 minute track “Let’s Call It Love” for me. It’s on repeat. LOUD. (Sorry, neighbors!) I was so mistaken to not have listened to Sleater-Kinney in the naivete of my youth, but as they say, better late than never! I’m looking forward to diving deep into the rest of Sleater-Kinney’s discography available at the library, and needless to say, I can’t wait for the release of their new album, No Cities To Love, in January. Listen to Sleater-Kinney NOW  (with hoopla) and check our catalog  to borrow a physical copy.
Oh the sweet, comforting songs of a strong voice and a soulful electric guitar. Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone is her first album on her own label, Highway 20 Records. She's had some famous fights with labels and it sure is great to hear her stretch out her complete control. This is a long album - two cds, just shy of two hours of music, and it feels great the entire time. As the nights get long this will be a good friend. Check our catalog 
As a librarian, with access to all manner of free entertainment, I rarely purchase a CD. I get EVERYTHING from the library. But when I heard the song Avant Gardener and found that it was not available at any of the libraries to which I have access, I had to buy it. I do not regret it. I really love this CD. It's full of great songs that are witty and festive, delivered in a raspy deadpan. The rockers rock and the slow songs are melodic and thoughtful. The Thomas Crane now owns a copy of this CD so you too can experience this excellent work. I can't wait to hear what she does next. Enjoy the live performance of Avant Gardener below and check our catalog  to borrow this great CD.
Sweet psychedelic rock from Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl. Catchy melodies, plenty of noise, and a good beat. It is pretty wild to hear the musical and clear vocal resonance of Sean's famous father (John), but this music also really stands on its own. Lots of stelar tracks. I particularly enjoy Animals (the video is also fun - see below). Check Our Catalog 
Rich is fifteen and plays a mean guitar. One night he is magically transported back in time to the Woodstock Music Festival where he meets many of his idols, including Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. More life shaking, he meets the young man who years later would become his father - and his father’s brother, who died before Rich was even conceived. This is a great book for fans of classic rock music, but its also good for anyone who’s trying to get some perspective on the complex lives that make our parents act the way they do. Rich’s parents never let him do any of the crazy things they enjoyed doing as teenagers. This book isn’t preachy either - there are plenty of things his parents used to do that are acknowledged and not judged overly harshly (revolving specifically around matters of sex and drugs). Check Our Catalog 
Eric Clapton channels J.J. Cale in this newly released tribute to Cale's rootsy, bluesy music. You might know the Clapton hits "Cocaine" and "After Midnight" but not that they were written by Cale. This album showcases Cale's relaxed, laid-back style, perfect listening while sitting on your back deck sipping your favorite summer beverage. Listen now to The Breeze  or go right to the source and check out some of J.J. Cale's own recordings in our catalog .
Fans of Norah Jones (Ravi Shankar's daughter) should not be surprised that her new band (well, technically not new, they've been playing in clubs for several years but this is their first album together) continues her adventures into country music. Unlike her covers of Every Brothers tunes (her last album, with Green Day's Bille Joe Armstrong), this is a mix of covers and originals, performed by Jones, Sasha Dobson, and Catherine Popper. They clearly have a great time playing together (to which I can personally attest, having seen them perform just last Saturday at the Green River Music and Baloon Festival). I particularly like their cover of Neil Young's Down by the River. This is available to listen to right now with our streaming music partnership with hoopla. Listen Now 
I’ll admit that I was drawn to this CD mainly for the vintage photograph on the cover, but it turned out to be exactly what I’ve been searching for: a children’s album that my baby likes, with songs that I’m actually happy to get stuck in my head. Formerly of the indie band “Ida,” Elizabeth Mitchell transitioned into solo children’s music in the late 1990s and has been perfecting it ever since. Mitchell does some beautiful covers of Woody Guthrie and Elizabeth Cotten, and manages to make folk songs soothing, but fun and upbeat at the same time. Throw in a rendition of “Jingle Bells” (hey, who doesn’t love a little Christmas music in July?) and you’ve got a hit. If you like this album, check out Mitchell’s website  for her other work. Check Our Catalog