Every week, CKUA’s hosts submit their songs for our weekly House Blend playlist: an exciting new release, a beloved classic or just an old personal favourite. We mix it all together to create a sonic concoction that’ll help kick off your week. Check out what’s on this week’s playlist.
Amy Van Keeken: Willie Nelson, “He Won’t Ever Be Gone”
Eighty-four-year-old Willie Nelson has a new album out, God’s Problem Child. The tears will flow as you listen to this heartfelt tune, “He Won’t Ever Be Gone”, about Willie’s buddy Merle Haggard, who passed away a year ago.
David Ward: Diana Krall, “Moonglow”
Laid-back, subtle, sophisticated, intimate, masterful. All of these adjectives came to mind while listening to Diana’s performance of this song that dates back to 1933. Diana’s career has been built on songs like this, but something new is evident. Maybe the recent deaths of important people close to her: James Krall, her father, and Tommy LiPuma, her long-time producer, has inspired her to dig even deeper into the music. Whatever, this is a beautiful rendition!
Oskar Zybart: Radiohead, “Let Down”
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Radiohead’s masterful OK Computer. There are several special versions of the album planned for release this summer to commemorate the occasion. But why wait? We can celebrate right now with one of the album’s most uplifting tracks. Glorious tones.
Lisa Wilton: Pete Yorn, “The Man”
This song first appeared on Pete Yorn’s third studio album, Nightcrawler, but I prefer the version that appeared on his 2006 EP, Westerns. A beautiful, mid-tempo roots ballad, “The Man” also features tasteful backing vocals from Natalie Maines of The Dixie Chicks. Absolutely lovely.
Monica Miller: Feist, “Any Party
I just listened to an incredibly snarky, New York Times podcast about Feist’s new album, Pleasure. Jon Pareles took part and was kind and respectful but the other two dudes?! My two bits: Feist is a unique voice who, so far, has not made the same album twice. That is something to respect and applaud. Always.
Mark Antonelli: Lyon Opera Orchestra; Kent Nagano; “Act I: No.1: Prelude & Mazurka” from Leo Delibes: Coppelia (Ballet)
I’ve loved this music for many years. There’s something about the opening of the Prelude that gets me every time. The noble brass joined by the sweeping strings always fosters an emotional response in me. Then we come to the Mazurka! A real toe-tapper. I’m simply not able to sit still! The Mazurka’s melody has been known to haunt me for hours after a hearing!
Lark Clark: Alex Cuba, “Chekere
Irresistible beat about a beautiful rhythm instrument! The chekere is that big gourd with the beads on the outside. It is used everywhere throughout Africa and is an integral part of Cuban Santeria rituals. Que no par el chekere! May the chekere never stop!
Baba: Yusuf aka Cat Stevens, “Tell ‘Em I’m Gone
An old Leadbelly anthem gets a remake: “Take This Hammer” is a prison, logging, and railroad work song.
Terry David Mulligan: Charlie Mingus, “Better get it in your Soul
1959 was one of the great years in jazz. Miles’ Kind of Blue, Brubeck’s Time Out, Coltrane-Dolphy, Bill Evans, and Charles Mingus’ album: Mingus Ah Um. “Better get it in your soul” was Charlie’s way of taking us to church. His Church. At the 3:30 mark is one of the most soulful breaks I’ve EVER heard. The track is at once tightly constructed and free as a bird. Try keeping up to the hand claps. As Charlie says, “Anyone can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple.” I also like the Tommy Banks’ version.
Grant Stovel: Eamon McGrath, “Cold Alberta Nights
This has long been a favourite of mine. I feel like the lyrics really come to the fore on this live, solo, acoustic version. The Edmonton expat tours practically non-stop, but his lyrics often harken back to his old Albertan stomping grounds. He recorded this version of “Cold Alberta Nights” in CKUA’s LP library the other day. He was touring the province on a book tour in support of his just-released first book, “Berlin-Warszawa Express”. He said he chose to play this one “in honour of CKUA’s broadcast radius.”
Dianne Donovan: Traffic, “The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys
This extensive song begins and ends with an ellipsis, has a cool groove, Steve Winwood’s winsome vocals, some great solos and a glorious, dissonant chord right near the end. Who new that the title came from actor, Michael J. Pollard? We do, now.
Kodi Hutchinson: Audrey Ochoa, “De-Mi
A unique mix of contemporary and classic jazz fused together on the new release, Afterthought, from Canada’s answer to Trombone Shorty! Quirky and fun music!