Jill Ryan here, production assistant at Here & Now- I wanted to mention some holiday music that you won't hear playing on the loud speakers at the mall. It's from indie, folk singer-songerwriter Sujan Stevens, who in 2006 released a unique 5-disc set of Christmas Carols, that he had toiled over for years.
Stevens initially started making the Christmas albums each year "to give as gifts for my family and friends," and later decided to release the discs as a set.
The result is songs like "Silent Night" and "The First Noel" that are infused with banjos, sleigh bells, glocknspeil, tamborine, recorders and trombones and sound nothing like the originals... But they're still heart-warming in a way that makes you want to sing along.
Stevens' carols also have a longer life than traditional Christmas music, and sound nice for months after December.
(Posted December 21, 2009)
Producer Alex Ashlock here with some of my favorite music of 2009.
The Low Anthem. I can't recommend these guys highly enough. They hail from Providence and they recorded an amazing album called "Oh My God, Charlie Darwin." I can't get their song "Ohio" out my head. You can see a video of the title song and hear a conversation I recorded with the band in June.
The Heartless Bastards feature singer-guitarist Erika Wennerstrom. If you saw her on the street, you'd never guess that she cranked out some of the year's most ferocious rock on the CD "The Mountain. Erika visited our studio before a show in Boston earlier this year.
Nashville's Will Hoge plays the sort of roots rock that's my bread and butter when it comes to tunes. His latest CD is called "The Wreckage." That makes sense because Will is on the comeback trail after a traffic accident that almost killed him last year.
When I was a lot younger I used to go see this band called Uncle Tupelo play at a place called the Blind Pig in Champaign, Illinois. A couple of guys from that band have done OK for themselves. Maybe you've heard of them. Jeff Tweedy fronts Wilco and Jay Farrar leads Son Volt. Those bands released some excellent records this year but Jay Farrar was also involved in a project that put Jack Kerouac's music to words Meghna Chakrabarti spoke to him about it for the show.
And finally a plug for my son, Tristan Ashlock.
(Posted December 14, 2009)