New Music for Old People: It's a Woman's World

By , Columnist

Paloma Faith

And I had faith in Paloma for winning this week's photo contest in the category of "best microphone as phallic symbol."

This column is like the title says — its intention is to fill the gap for those of us who were satiated musically in the '60s and then searched desperately as we aged for music we could relate to and get the same buzz from nowadaze. iTunes was the answer for me in 2003 and I have been following the new releases every Tuesday ever since I realized there was an endless stream of music I could enjoy there.

I also include older items that I felt were obscure originally and might not have been heard back then. The reason I am writing this column is to make sure others don't miss this wonderful music. These are not top ten items; but they SHOULD'VE been!

Below is a jukebox containing all the songs I picked this week. After you read about them below, go back and listen to whatever you like by just clicking on that title in the jukebox, or stream the whole playlist by clicking on the "play" icon at the top. It's free and it's the entire song. We're not selling anything. We're just in the business of hopefully making your days better by listening to great music.

We apologize to our readers/listeners who are trying to enjoy the playlists via mobile devices like iPhones/iPads and are finding that they can't; these are, unfortunately, circumstances beyond our control. At present, Grooveshark is not compatible with those operating systems, and in order to stream the playlist, you will need to use a PC or Mac.

Nov072014 by Willow on Grooveshark

Intro: "It's a Woman's World" — The Four Aces (0:49)

For really older people, here’s a smidgen of music and mentality from the mid-'50s just to get the theme started. The idea here is basically to roam around today's women singers and introduce you to some you may not know and play the latest from those you do and of course deviate from all of that completely ... just to keep it like every other week.

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1. "Walk On" — Lucinda Williams (2:53)

It’s hard to believe that Tom Petty could influence Lucinda, but here is aural proof. There’s actually a little Neil Young and John Hiatt thrown in there as well. This is from her recent double album, Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone, that just moved her up a notch or two. Improving with age, she is a special southern woman.

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2. "All the Way" — Kat Edmonson (2:28)

She's new to me, but this is the second track of hers that has made the column. She’s in Lucinda’s world (she’d be a great opener for LW) and this is a case where object simplicity works well.

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Kat, may I suggest a pair of SONY 7506 headphones? Your smile would be more pronounced and I don't even have an endorsement deal with them. Kudos to you for NOT showing the brand name of whatever that is you're wearing.

3. "Two-Tone Melody" — The Preatures (2:45)

You wouldn’t know it from listening, but this band is from Sydney, Australia and lead singer Izzi Manfredi sounds a bit like Dusty Springfield in the opening lines of this track from their debut album, Blue Planet Eyes, which is just out. That is not an easy thing to do. Makes me wanna come out of retirement and produce their next album. This band is gonna be gigantic eventually. You heard it here first!

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Izzi, may I suggest a Dusty Springfield tee?

4. "Trouble With My Baby" — Paloma Faith (2:51)

She’s been here before with a track from her last album. This is from her latest album, A Perfect Contradiction, and her voice just keeps getting better. She obviously listened to soul and blues singers growing up and she can stand up to any of those gals today. I like this because it is in the spirit of classic soul. It sounds like a Motown song from the mid-'60s, but they updated the arrangement to "today." Would have loved it more if they had stayed more traditional, but nowadaze I’ll take this.

5. "When You Sleep" — Mary Lambert (3:11)

From a sexually abused childhood, through coming out at age 17, Mary seems to have taken the bad and turned it into good gold. In addition to her first album, Heart on My Sleeve, which just came out, there is a book called 500 Tips For Fat Girls! that is also just out. This is all bold stuff for an artist, but you can see from this included track that there is originality pulsing in the veins of this self-accompanied composition. Adele better get her new album out soon — that's what I know.

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6. "Some Die Young" — Laleh (2:35)

Wow! What a biography this woman has! If you like this track, you should probably read the above. This is from her latest album Colors released in 2013. From everything I have read and listened to, this woman is on the verge of something spectacular. Born in Iran into a political family that had to move around a great deal to stay alive, she moved to Sweden at an early age and taught herself to play various instruments and write songs. She won many awards in Sweden and hovered around the top ten over the course of five albums. This is from the latest one. The fact that I found this on U.S. iTunes means she is getting closer to touring here.

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7. "No One Else" — Amel Larrieux (3:26)

Born Eliza Stowell in 1973 and raised by a single mom in Greenwich Village, she went to the Philadelphia High School of The Performing Arts with classmates Christian McBride, Joey DeFrancesco, and Questlove(!). She was a member of the duo Groove Theory in the mid-'90s and soon married musician-arranger Laru Larrieux. Her solo career is five albums long now. This track is from 2007 and has stayed with me. It’s a great composition and is simply stated with just piano and bass behind her vocal. She wrote it with her husband and I think it will be around for quite awhile.

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8. "Ghosts" — Laura Welsh (2:24)

Laura is a British bird from Staffordshire and her career began in 2009. At press time there is still not a complete album on the streets but about four EPs with singles, dance mixes, etc. This is a fave of mine currently.

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Lookin' good, Laura — but what in hell is going on behind you??

9. "How Deep Is Your Love" — The Bird and The Bee (3:12)

It’s probably no mean feat to be Lowell George’s daughter, but Inara has carved out a varied, tasteful career now at the age of 40. This is from an EP by a duo she records and performs with off and on. It was released in 2007 and this is a lovely version of the Bee Gees' hit song. If you’re looking for son-of-Little Feat, you will NOT find it here — she is her own woman with a wonderful, expressive voice and not hesitant to attack ANY piece of material. Greg Kurstin is her partner in this duo.

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10. "Burden of Our Courage" — Brooke Waggoner (2:15)

Brooke is only 30 years old but is quite an advanced musician/arranger/producer for her age. It comes from 17 years of musical studies, primarily classical. There are rarely men or woman who grab for the merry-go-round golden ring who are this well-prepared and, well, this talented. She graduated with a music composition and orchestration degree from Louisiana State University in 2006. She relocated to Nashville and began her career there. She has three albums out plus her original EP from 2007. Her latest is from last year and is called Originator. This is one of my favorite tracks and is from her second album, Go Easy Little Doves. You can easily hear, especially in this week’s column, how wonderfully original she is.

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Is this what they call "necking" nowadaze in Gnashville?

11. "Desperadoes Under the Eaves" — Madeleine Peyroux (3:47)

Somebody was thinking when they hooked up this Warren Zevon tune with Maddy. This is good stuff and totally tastefully done. MP has had a checkered career, trying to integrate her original material into her carefully chosen repertoire of jazz, folk and country covers with that amazing voice of hers. She also has dropped out for long periods of time, causing her numbers to drop, but that's not why we’re here right now. This is a collection of tracks that everyone should enjoy for obvious reasons and this fits the column to a T.

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Madeleine, lookin' good in a brick lit house...

12. "Lonely Woman" — Chris Connor (3:37)

This is an older, stranger foray into the jazz world of the '60s. A lyricist named Margo Guryan put lyrics to avant-garde jazz sax pioneer Ornette Coleman’s signature tune from his third album all those years ago in 1960. Personally I love this song so much, I still play it live occasionally with Jimmy Vivino as an opening instrumental. This was the definitive vocal version of this IMPOSSIBLE-to-sing selection — probably because no one else could do it justice. A tip of the hat to Al Cohn’s snazzy arrangement; it takes inordinate items and gathers them together quite well. However, it is still a very strange animal and not for everyone. If you enjoy it, leave a comment — there aren’t many of us left!

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Chris Connor, RIP 1927-2009

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