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Saturday, December 22, 2018

New Tunes from Carsie Blanton, Chuck Morris, Caoilfhionn Rose, Jane's Party, Just a Jester

Regular Birch Street Radio listeners are familiar with Carsie Blanton, a New Orleans-based singer-songwriter whose puts a very personal and idiosyncratic spin on her folky-jazzy-pop music. Her lyrics range from sassy and sexy to deep and philosophical. She's just released the first single from an album called Buck Up, due in February. It's the title track, which Blanton describes as "a song of hope and tenacity in trying times" - done in a folky style that evokes the likes of John Prine.

Bouncing around musical styles as we usually do, we check out a piece of bluesy R&B from Chuck Morris. He was the drummer on The Arsenio Hall Show for six years, toured and recorded with his own funky-reggae band, and after taking a hiatus, is now working on a new album. The first single, "Good Life," is an upbeat, feel-good song with a drums-horns-guitar opening that sounds like it could be introducing a new late-night talk show.

From Manchester, UK comes the debut album Awaken from singer/songwriter/producer Caoilfhionn Rose. She cites such influences as The Mummers, Rachel Sermanni, Melody’s Echo Chamber and Broadcast - which, to be honest, we're not familiar with, so to us, her sound is quite fresh. The title track "moved me out of my comfort zone," Rose says. “Having played solo as a pianist for a couple of years, it inspired me to work with new sounds, musicians with a different approach to making music.” Drum loops and mellotron flute are among those sounds. (By the way, Rose's first name is pronounced Keelin.)

Next we head to Toronto for the newest release from pop-rock quartet Jane's Party. They've been popping out singles from a forthcoming LP, Casual Island, due in February. We're featuring the latest, "Wait For You," featuring the band's hallmark breezy riffs and vocal harmonies. We'll also give some spins to what they call the B-side: a dreamy reimagining of The Cars' "Drive."

And hopping back to the UK, we pick up new music from another act previously featured on Birch Street Radio -- Just a Jester, the current project of singer-songwriter-guitarist Timothy Daniel Whitaker. He played and recorded all the instruments on his self-produced EP Clear Blue, released a couple of months ago, from which we've been spinning "Make It Easier." He's quickly returned with a new single, "Another World."

This being the season of holiday music and best-of lists, we probably won't have another batch of featured new music next weekend, but plan to resume our weekly picks the first weekend in January. Meantime we plan to feature a bit of holiday music on Sunday's episode of The Birch Street Bistro (noon Eastern Time, 9 a.m. Pacific, 5pm GMT) and on Christmas day itself. And we're planning a New Year's special with all-2018 music, including a lot of tracks we haven't played before. We hope you enjoy it all, and continue listening to our Marvelous Mix in the coming year! 

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