Somehow, Canadian singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith makes a case of the deep blues sound sweet. The new album Forever Endeavour is his 13th, and the songs show him, at midlife, reflecting a lot on the passage of time.
"I think there's always something comforting about sad songs," Sexsmith says. "It's a shared thing that everyone can relate to."
The dB's secured a place in rock history as one of the pioneering jangle-pop bands of the early '80s. Deftly combining new wave and power-pop, it created a melodic niche for itself among its Southern peers — bands like The Feelies and R.E.M.
The New York Times writer Jon Pareles called Lionel Loueke "the gentle virtuoso" for the engaging way Loueke melds African guitar traditions with jazz harmony. Loueke gets African-style rhythms going, tapping on his guitar and using his effects pedals. He sings and harmonizes with his own voice.
OHIO PLAYERS: (Singing) Rollercoaster of love. Say what? Rollercoaster, ooh-ooh, ooh, ooh.
MARTIN: Leroy Bonner died last weekend at the age of 69. Best known as the front man for the Ohio Players, Sugarfoot, as he was called, joined the band in 1964 as guitarist, songwriter and, eventually, lead singer. He was the eldest of 14 kids, and he was a self-taught musician who never went to high school.
On a new box set collecting the first four albums of Jack DeJohnette and his band Special Edition, two discs are gems and the other two have their moments. DeJohnette's quartet-slash-quintet was fronted by smoking saxophonists on the way up, set loose on catchy riffs and melodies. The springy rhythm section could tweak the tempos like no one this side of '60s goddess Laura Nyro.