Friday, August 07, 2009

music for a summer road trip

It may be August, but one of the albums that’s catching my ear a good bit these days is one whose songs are framed in ideas of winter.

Gretchen Peters’ Northern Lights offers a mix of traditional traditional holiday carols and newer songs. It's a set which includes In the Bleak Mid Winter alongside John Jacob Niles’ Appalachian based song I Wonder As I Wander and Peters’ own looking across the centuries and thinking about faith and connections song Waitin’ on Mary. Whatever the season, it’s a good listen. You might also want to know that Peters is doing live concert in Nashville which will be streamed on the web, tomorrow, Saturday 8 August. There’s more about that at her website. Peters is also talking about song writing in a tele class later this month -- click on the banner on the right hand sidebar calle Art of Song for more on that.

There is a lot of excellent new music on my desk, including CDs from Claire Lynch, Rhonda Vincent, a middle eastern family band from Indiana, new Native American recordings, The Pride of New York [a n Irish American super group which includes Joanie Madden and Brendan Dolan], Sara Milonovich, and others. You’ll get to hear about all of that in the coming days. Right now, though, in addition to Peters, I’m drawn to the work of these artists whom you 've met before along the music road:

Eddi Reader and Emily Smith are both Scotswomen with excellent and very different sorts of song writing styles. The link will take you to a video of them singing together at Celtic Connections last winter.

Carrie Newcomer is working on recording a new album just now, and preparing for a trip to India. The Geography of Light is the one of her albums I am listening to most often this summer, especially the songs There is a Tree, about, roughly speaking, what it is and is not like to be an artist and a person of faith, and The Clean Edge of Change and Map of Shadows, both about change. If you’ve ever thought you’ve ad a little too much of e mail you’ll also appreciate her funny take on that in Don’t Push Send.

There’s a gently funny song on Fine Winter's Night, too, called Julius the Christmas Cat. Ever wondered why there are no cats in famous paintings of the Nativity? Matt and Shannon Heaton give you the clue in this song, and yes, it’s another winter album. You can play them any time of year, you know. Try it, if you’ve not. The Heatons’ recording Lovers’ Well is also claiming my attention this summer. You’ll hear more about that coming up along the music road, but meanwhile, here’s a taste of what it’s about in a guest post I did for Irish Fireside, along with bits about two other excellent Irish albums you’ll like to know too.

you may also want to see

a preview of the Milwaukee Irish Fest, coming up next weekend, at Wandering Educators

Music Road: ten songs

Music Road: music for a spring road trip: six albums

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


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