Rickie Lee Jones
Singer-songwriter and two-time Grammy winner Rickie Lee Jones was born in Chicago, one of four children. Jones has described her family as "lower-middle-class-hillbilly-hipster." She is reported to have been a solitary child with a deep imagination, whose father taught her to sing. When you listen to her, you have to turn off your cell phone, your BlackBerry, your iPhone, the TV, and listen, just listen. "The Last Chance Texaco" is a gift. Her 1979 debut album, Rickie Lee Jones, produced by Lenny Waronker and Russ Titelman, is astounding. Download "The Last Chance Texaco."
Artist: Rickie Lee Jones
Song: The Last Chance Texaco
Album: Rickie Lee Jones
Bon Iver (from bon hiver, French for "good winter") is Justin Vernon. His music is gentle and pleasing, with silky harmonies. The production leaves space to hear what you're hearing. Uncluttered and yet completely full. "The Wolves (Act 1 & 2)," from Bon Iver's 2008 release For Emma, Forever Ago, is only one of many tracks to indulge in. Download "The Wolves (Act 1 & 2)."
Groove Armada is the U.K. duo Tom Findlay and Andy Cato. Founded in the mid-'90s, Groove Armada is a showcase of the electronic big-beat style. The whispery vocals and groove-infused melody on the track "Remember," from the band's 2003 album Lovebox, has a hypnotic/romantic thing going on. Download "Remember."
It's always good to discover the unexpected. The title "I Don't Know," from Hello Nasty, the 1998 release by Beastie Boys, is just that. "I Don't Know" is the softer side of Sears, fifteen tracks deep with guest vocals by Cibo Matto's Miho Hatori. It's got a sweet melody that you can listen to over and over again. The Boys are best known for tastefully transfusing rap with a good sense of humor, irony, and intelligence; Hello Nasty was rewarded with two Grammys: Best Alternative Music Performance and Best Rap Performance. Go rediscover this beautiful track.
Artist: Beastie Boys
Song: I Don't Know
Album: Hello Nasty
Singer-songwriter/arranger Stina Nordenstam is a Swedish import. She is said to be a bit of an enigma. Her charming, delicate vocals have memorable melodies that are frosted in a mysterious ambience. She falls amid the realms of jazz, pop, and folk. "Winter Killing," from the 2004 album The World Is Saved, is a lovely listen.
Artist: Stina Nordenstam
Song: Winter Killing
Album: The World Is Saved
"I really wasn't no slave, but I wasn't free," said Muddy Waters in a 1977 interview. "My blues are based on hard times I had. I came up as a poor kid, my family was poor. I had a lot of trouble with woman. I always did like woman. When I was 14 or 15 years old, I liked the woman whether she was my woman or not, so I had a lot of problems with them. That's where my blues lived, between money problems and women problems." Muddy Waters was a six-time Grammy winner and the recipient of the 1992 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998. Southern cooking was one of Muddy's great pleasures. His Website offers his personal recipes. At the age of 68, Muddy Waters was diagnosed with lung cancer, and a year later, on April 30, 1983, he died in his sleep of a heart attack. "I Feel Like Going Home" (1948 single version) is classic Waters. Rollin' Stone: The Golden Anniversary Collection is worth owning in its entirety.