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This is a new section I’m thinking about doing.

Every month I get 90 downloads from emusic. Sometimes I just don’t know what to pick, so I fish around till I find something I might like.

This month I downloaded some pretty cool stuff and I’d like to share…

L’autre Bout Du Monde by Emily Loizeau, 2006ish. >> Amazon Link

I found the album L’autre Bout Du Monde by Emily Loizeau, a French artist, when I was searching for more music I may have missed from my beloved Andrew Bird. I do love that man! Bird was listed as a co-author of the album, so even though the album was labelled as “new age” on e-music, I took a chance and downloaded it anyway.

It would not be considered in my book to be a “new age” album, though it is quiet and steeped in reflection. There are only a few noticeable instruments aside from Ms. Loizeau’s wonderfully unique voice.

Andrew Bird duets with her on the final track, “London Town.” Both of their voices are so beautifully individual that when they sing together there’s a certain voodoo magic that happens; the kind of magic that can only occur when artists are allowed to just be artists. They could be singing about dogpoo and I’d still be enamored.

There are a couple of songs in English, but the album is primarily in French, which is nice actually; I often enjoy foreign language music because it allows me to just experience the whole instead of focusing on the part I understand.

One of the English speaking tracks is called “I’m Alive,” which is not quite a lament, but does feel a little sad. I like it very much. A line says “It’s so strange to be alive. Could we stay around like the big blue sea? That has been around for some billion centuries.”

Really, it’s a wonderful little ditty of an album. Clocking in at around 45m of music it’s not the longest album in the world, but totally sweet for background party music or a pick-me-up (and maybe a bring-me-down) on a lazy afternoon.

I also picked up Elizabeth Cotton, Shake Sugaree because I was in a early 20th century folk and revival mood.

Shake Sugaree is real nice, close to bluegrass style fingerpicking guitar. I read a little bit about Elizabeth Cotton on Wikipedia:

Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten tunings (eg. standard ‘EADGBE’ tuning or any standard, established (January 5, 1895 – June 29, 1987) was an Americanmusician. Her style was of the traditional blues and folk genre. However, Libba was quite original since she was self-taught and had no knowledge of conventional guitaropen tunings). Her unique approach to left-handed guitar playing was to hold the guitar upside down strung as standard tuning. This position required her to play the bass lines with her fingers, and the melody with her thumb. Her signature, alternating bass style is known as “Cotten Picking”.

I also learned that she didn’t start recording music until she was in her 60s. There are so many reasons to love that factoid, I don’t know where to start.
Check it out here >> Link to Album on Amazon

Continuing in the mood of Blues /Bluegrass I found this guy: Stefan Grossman, who picks 30s style guitar. I grabbed the album, Black Melodies on a Clear Afternoon, in which all songs on the compilation were either composed by or influenced by African-American musicians of the Ragtime Era

Check it out here >> Link to Album on Amazon

I also picked up Songs of the Soviet Underground by Nougzar Sharia for kicks. It’s fun. It’s short. It’s completely in Russian except for introductory /setup monologue which is in English.
I don’t know if it’s the same guy or not, but a man with the same name is also in a movie called Johanna d’Arc of Mongolia which looks like it might just be a visual feast of image and color…

Check it out here >> Link to Album on Amazon

Last, but not at all least, I grabbed a compilation of Dust Bowl folk music called Classic Folk Music from Smithsonian Folkways. This was a great find. It has all the original work of songs that have been covered and recovered in rock and pop over the last fifty years. Maybe even sixty years. Artists like Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Doc Watson, Brownie McGhee and Burl Ives.

This train (is bound for glory) by Big Bill Broonzy made me dream about learning three chords so I could go to NYC and perform on a streetcorner. Seriously. The whole collection is a lot of fun!

Check it out here >> Link to Album on Amazon