As the New Year continues to roll out the welcome mat, this month I’ve found myself listening to a lot of music by Brule’.

Based in South Dakota, their music is a welcome change from the usual (but wonderful) rock, pop, folk, blues and Indie bands I often cover.

Currently I’m working up a story for Portland Radio Project about Brule’s newest “Greatest Hits” release, but thought some of my blog readers also might appreciate knowing about them. The music of Brule’ frequently offers tasteful guitar, snippets of the beautiful spoken Lakota language, interesting percussion, including rain sticks, evocative flute, and great keyboards.

To give you a taste of their style, here’s “Star People.”

My ancestry is Native American, among others. For years I’ve been drawn to powwows, sweats and Native American practices. It’s “home” to me.

Luckily, it so happens I have a close working relationship with PRP’s music programmer Inessa Anderson, so we’ve added several of their tracks – including “Buffalo Moon” – to the station’s playlist this month.

Both grounding as well as uplifting, many of their songs – including “Ghost Dance” “Stomp Dance” and “Dakota Rainstorm” – have found a place in my heart. I hope you’ll watch for my lengthier write-up later this month, and seek them out.

Last year…gone, but not forgotten

BestofYear2017I had the pleasure of writing for the website of Portland Radio Project (PRP-FM) all of last year, searching each month for the best-of-the-best, and posting my music recommendations there. My process is a combination of watching my Twitter feed, reading music magazines like “Mojo,” “Uncut” or “Rolling Stone,” listening to various radio stations, regularly checking out iTunes, and lots of internet sleuthing.

A few of my favorite albums last year?

Fleet Foxes’ “Crack-up,” Beck’s “Colors,” Niall Horan’s “Flicker” and The War on Drugs’ “A Deeper Understanding.”

Here’s a link to my “Best of 2017” story!

Steve Winwood: New takes on old classics

For more than five decades and over 50 million records sold since he burst into prominence at the age of 15 with the Spencer Davis Group, Steve Winwood has remained a primary figure in Rock ‘n’ Roll, a respected innovator who has helped to create some of the genre’s most celebrated achievements.

Steve Winwood and band performing at The Edgefield in Troutdale, 2015.

So states a news release sent out last summer that succinctly captures just a few reasons Steve Winwood remains so well-loved by music lovers everywhere.

I happened to read about his new “Greatest Hits Live” release last year, and made note of it as a possible holiday gift for my boyfriend. He’s told me several times it’s turned out to be one of his favorite holiday gifts.

The new 2-CD set features tracks from Winwood’s 50-plus year recording career. Not only can we enjoy new live recordings of his solo work – songs like “Roll With It” and “Higher Love – we can also immerse ourselves in the many classics he made famous while a member of Spencer Davis Group, Blind Faith and Traffic.

Happy New Year…also, here come the Grammys.

It’s hard to believe the 2018 Grammys will be here in less than two weeks. Are you rooting for anyone special?

I’m pulling for The War on Drugs, LORDE, Ed Sheeran, Imagine Dragons, Coldplay, Aimee Mann, Portugal. The Man, Kaleo, Alison Krauss and Arcade Fire, among others.

Before I sign off, here’s one more track from Brule’!

Dakota Rainstorm

Here’s wishing you a year filled with love, good health, fun and meaningful times, and great music.