Music of Week

M,W,F 5:50 PM T, Thur 8:21 AM

Country music has always done a stellar job of celebrating strong women, and Nicki Bluhm is the latest example. Her new solo album To Rise You Gotta Fall makes songwriting sound easy. After six years fronting the Gramblers, Bluhm split from her husband and took the subsequent songs into the Sam Phillips Studio in Memphis. The resulting album is a masterful display of a strong voice with feminine vulnerability, a breakup album that doesn’t drag you down with it, but stands tall. Nicki Bluhm's album is called To Rise You Gotta Fall, the track we’re hearing is How Do I Love You?

Kamasi Washington has been called the jazz voice of Black Lives Matter. He was raised in notoriously violent South Central Los Angeles during the gang wars of the 1980s and 90s, but mentorship from his musical parents and LA's black artist community steered him away from gang life and towards the music of Coltrane, Stravinsky, and Snoop Dogg, with whom he toured out of college.  Washington’s musical relationships and style blend funk hip-hop jazz and classical. He is a rare communicator who's poise and charisma account for his broad appeal.

In the late 1960s Dewey Redman played saxaphone in a band called Old And New Dreaming with Ornette Coleman, charlie Hayden, and Don Cherry. His son Joshua Redman has just released an album which pays homage to his father's work with that band. Joshua Redman is one of the most creative talents in jazz today, his group plays with a deep musical sensitivity and connection to each other. The songs are beautiful, sometimes playful, and display a great range of expression.

In late April, to celebrate his 85th Birthday Willie Nelson released an album of eleven original songs. There aren’t many artists you can say that about. The album is called Last Man Standing and is full of Willie’s signature humor and wisdom. The songs navigate themes of aging, loss, and mortality, but the album isn’t dark. It suggests sunniness in the face of loneliness and grief. Willie Nelson’s 73rd album is called Last Man Standing, the track we’re hearing is Me And You.

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