A Dozen Wonderful Women’s Voices To Fill Your 2018 Musical Calendar
Pop Culture Detours – By George McGowan
Do you need an idea for a New Year’s Resolution? How about this – listen to more music! Specifically, more music from women artists who make soulful, interesting, reflective, yet wonderfully toe-tapping music! I have suggestions for each month of the New Year! Of course all of this music is available right now, so binge away or measure it out as follows.
In January, February and March, listen to Tift Merritt’s “Stitch of the World,” her sixth album full of songs about real living and tough loving. As Slant magazine’s Josh Hurst puts it “… these are songs about being caught in love’s rough and tumble, about getting beat up and batted around but living to tell about it.” Then, listen to Nora Jane Struthers’ “Champion.” Struthers’ band The Party Line is a tight ensemble featuring a ringing slide guitar and a plucked banjo trading down-home melodies with Nora Jane’s voice rising above it all. And then, listen to Dori Freeman’s “Letters Never Read” and watch her video for her song “If I Could Make You My Own” which is a manifesto for living in itself.
April and May are the time for Tristen (full name: Tristen Gaspadarek) and the album “Sneaker Waves” as well as the stand alone single of her version of the Eagle’s classic “Peaceful Easy Feeling” and Lilly Hiatt (daughter of the great John Hiatt) and her album “Trinity Lane.” Hiatt has a knack for interesting song titles, as in “The Night David Bowie Died.”
The summer months of June, July, and August call for some indie-rock (for lack of a better term) from Portland’s Sallie Ford with “Soul Sick,” Nashville’s Jessica Lea Mayfield with “Sorry Is Gone,” and Neptune, New Jersey’s Nicole Atkins with “Goodnight Rhonda Lee.” Each of these albums is interesting in its own right, but they all explore the unique and challenging experiences of a woman in this day and age.
In September and October, fill your time with two Canadians, one from the east – Catherine MacLellan and one from the west – Sarah Jane Scouten. If your mood is suited to rockabilly and dancing, get moving to Scouten’s “When the Bloom Falls from the Rose.” If your mood is mindful and reflective, listen to MacLellan’s “If it’s Alright with You – The Songs of Gene MacLellan.” While Gene MacLellan is not a well-known songwriter in the states, you may recognize his songs “Put Your Hand in the Hand” (a modest hit for Ocean) and “Snowbird” (a smash hit for Anne Murray). The latter was recognized as the first song by a Canadian songwriter to have been broadcast over one million times in the United States.
To round out the year, in November and December, I suggest one woman who plans to release new music in 2018 – Lucy Dacus with the album “Historian” which features the heart-melting break up song “Night Shift” and Kim Richey who continues to tour regularly and has recently released a single entitled “The Get Together.”
Fill the New Year with these voices of strong, talented women!