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Sunday, May 7, 2017

Strains of folk, soul, jazz & more added to our mix

A recent spot on NPR brought our attention to Lizzie No, a singer-songwriter, guitarist and harpist based in New York, and we were intrigued. Then a couple of our correspondents caught her in a live show at a coffeehouse in New Jersey, and were thoroughly charmed. We're happy to introduce you to her well-crafted and highly personal songs. We'll start this week by featuring "Hard Won," the title track of her debut album, in our New Music bin. More selections will follow soon!

As we keep our ears out for new artists, sometimes one discovery leads to another. A few months back we caught on to Lonely Avenue, a California band with a country-rock flavor. Guitarist Ryon Fergon is a member both of that band and of Soulajar, a seven-piece soul/funk outfit that just released its second album, Between Here And There. We're picking up on the first track, "Dip," an R&B-flavored number featuring lead vocalist Jim Ranger. (Photo credit: Jean-Luc Slagle)

Swinging down to New Orleans, we dip into the new album by Trombone Shorty. Parking Lot Symphony marks a sort of graduation for trombonist and band leader Troy Andrews, as it's his first album for the venerated jazz label Blue Note. The album release coincided with the start of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (and he's performing there on the day we're writing this post). Our pick for the New Music bin is "It Ain't No Use," a great combination of brass, percussion, swinging rhythm and soulful singing.

Now as usual, we stir up the mix with a completely different sound: a new single from Portugal. The Man. The Alaska-native, Portland-dwelling band is about to bring out its eighth album, titled Woodstock. The backstory is that the group worked for a few years on an album to be called Gloomin' + Doomin' - but ended up trashing it and starting over with a less heavily-produced approach. The single, "Feel It Still," is being talked about as a "resistance" song, partly because of a music video that's peppered with hidden links to progressive organizations. But really the song itself is an infectious dance-pop tune, with the refrain "I'm a rebel just for kicks."

We top off this week's New Music bin with another track from Sheryl Crow's latest, Be Myself. It's a song that fits right into the album's figuring-out-who-you-really-are theme, called "Long Way Back."

We hope you enjoy the variety of music on Birch Street Radio - new, classic and in-between. And if you have comments or suggestions, please send them our way. Use the comment box on this page, connect on Facebook or Twitter, or send us an email. Thanks for listening!

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