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: Fake Palms, “Heaven Scent”
Hooray! Fake Palms have released their latest album, Pure Mind. Vocalist, guitarist Michael le Riche has said that he had been listening to a lot of ’60s psych music, and that played out a bit in the recording and production of these songs. You can hear it in the harmonies and the dynamic bass line for sure. As usual, my favourite drummer, Simone TB, heard on The Highest Order, The Seams, and Darlene Shrugg, keeps the beat tight and driving. Really digging this new album from these Ontario pals.
Monica Miller: Gabrielle Papillon, “Keep the Fire”
According to Gabrielle, the working title for her new record was What to Keep. The songs reflect on the question of what she needed and what she had to let go of. The question, “What to keep”?, became a song on this album, and the answer became the title of this album: Keep The Fire.
Terry David Mulligan: Bruce Cockburn, “3 Al Purdys”
This is like Bruce’s Canadian Railroad Trilogy. It’s also six minutes long. Bruce’s voice takes on the character of a street person standing on a street corner, hair and long coat blowing in the wind. People think he’s deranged but what he’s yelling is: “I’ll give you 3 Al Purdys for a 20 dollar bill”. Al Purdy is the Canadian poet. Bruce weaves his own lyrics and Purdy’s poetry into a single stream. Meanwhile, in behind all this, Colin Linden, John Dymond and Gary Craig just groove flat out. Brilliant.
Lark Clark: Andino Suns, “La Otra Mujer”
Andino Suns is a winner at the Western Canadian Music Awards (WCMA) this week. Sons of Chilean immigrants bring their beautiful harmonies and Latin rhythms to Regina.
Cathy Ennis: Fairport Convention, “Who Knows Where the Time Goes”
I love this song with its tinge of melancholy and nostalgia. It’s timely as we head into another autumn and it’s sung so beautifully by the late Sandy Denny. There are lots of great covers of this tune, too, including Nina Simone, Judy Collins, Nanci Griffith and Ron Kavana, but my favourite remains Sandy Denny. It reminds me of when I first started at CKUA: the luxury of being surrounded by all this music and by all these smart, funny people. The generosity of the announcer/producers who taught me to stretch my ears and to get acquainted with more genres and styles than I even knew existed. So, thank you Sev Sabourin, Chris Allen, Tony Dillon Davis, Bill Coull, John Worthington and, of course, any one else I may have inadvertently forgotten.
Tony King: Gregory Porter, “L-O-V-E”
It is hard to fathom that this guy once upon a time qualified for a football scholarship. Following a flirtation with the gridiron life that resulted in an injury, Gregory Porter pulled back from professional sports to undertake a singing career. Unlike Doug Flutie, who was a little less successful in seeing his musical ambition come to light, Porter embraces the challenge of singing jazz and doesn’t flinch at the thought of covering work made famous by Nat ‘King’ Cole. And so he shouldn’t: this version of L-O-V-E might even give Nat a run for his money!
Grant Stovel: John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman, “Autumn Serenade”
Two of the most gorgeous sounds I can think of: John Coltrane’s tenor saxophone and Johnny Hartman’s rich baritone voice sublimely expressing the melancholic beauty of autumn on this all-time classic studio recording. “The sweetest music ever played,” indeed.
Lionel Rault: Jason Isbell & Unit 400, “Molotov”
Thoughtful lyric, driving beat, great vocals — a new, old-school southern classic!
Lisa Wilton: Figure Walking, “Victorious”
An incredibly-powerful, political protest song about racial inequality from veteran Winnipeg musician, Greg MacPherson, and his long-time drummer, Rob Gardiner. I think the band’s statement about the song explains it the best: “It’s ridiculous to believe that we’re all born equal and that hard work alone can break cycles of poverty, violence, racism, and inequality. Written in 2013, Figure Walking started playing “Victorious” live in late 2014, shortly after a young Indigenous girl was found in a Winnipeg river, a victim of systemic racism, colonialism and ultimately, murder. Her tragic, preventable death pushed many of us over the edge. As privileged, white men living in this part of the world, Figure Walking’s members want desperately to be allies in bringing about a genuine, lasting change. We look to Indigenous people and people of colour for guidance and leadership. It’s been encouraging to read the Truth and Reconciliation Report and its recommendations, to see the election of Manitoba’s first Indigenous female Member of the Legislative Assembly, to witness the Idle No More movement, to have a federal inquiry finally called into Canada’s unthinkable legacy of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, to see peoples and nations unified around protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline. Since 2014, we have seen many historically-calloused and complacent people begin to acknowledge the need for change. “Victorious” is part of our own acknowledgement.”
Baba: Thee Holy Brothers, “My Name is Sparkle”
Marvin Etzioni was at the 2017 Calgary Folk Festival with his band, Thee Holy Brothers. I might not have heard of them otherwise. He is a ‘Holy Head’. Met him, liked him and this song is so good in its simplicity.