Well, the world’s gone crazy. Not entirely unexpected. We’ve lost some artists that mean something to us. Things don’t look great going forward in a lot of ways. There are few ways to feel connected to our community right now. What are you listening to? What helps you feel connected?
We’ve lost some artists in the last couple weeks that really hit me. Adam Schlesinger passed away on April 1st from COVID-19 at 52 years old. Schlesinger was something of a genius for pop hooks. His most well-known project is Fountains of Wayne, but he also was known for groups like Ivy, and Tinted Windows. He wrote music for film and TV as well, most popularly the title song for the movie “That Thing You Do”.
Bill Withers passed on March 30th from heart complications at age 81. Withers wrote timeless classics like “Ain’t No Sunshine”, “Lean On Me”, “Use Me” and “Lovely Day”. Songs. Stevie Wonder disucusses Withers’ songwriting and singing in this speech, and I think he really says it perfectly. You could feel every word that Withers wrote and sang, and the truth is that his works remain relevant regardless of time and place. Beautifully universal. I highly recommend watching this video of Withers’ Rock and Roll Hall of Fame acceptance speech in 2015, and also this one of one of the performances from that night.
When the new came that John Prine was suffering from COVID-19, there was sort of a bracing for the worst. Of Course, John having been a longtime smoker, and having battled cancer twice was not in the best position to fight a virus that attacks the lungs. It seemed his battle was up the steepest of hills, but we all held our breath said a prayer for John Prine. He passed away on April 7th. John was one of the best storytellers we’ve ever known. His storytelling continues to give us gifts through the many storytelling songwriters that name him as an inspiration. Numerous beautiful tributes are emerging now as these writers record from their homes. NPR collected a few here, and Brandi Carlile performed a cover for The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.
So I’ve placed these artists among the new music I’m featuring on this list. Hopefully, you find some encouragement from what I have collected here. In this list are new albums from Pearl Jam and from Childish Gambino, there are Tears for Fears covers from Making Movies and Lemolo, and new singles from Smokey Brights, Damien Jurado, Mark Lanegan and Robyn Hitchcock. This is a lot of what I’ve been listening to lately. Stay safe, stay healthy, stay home as much as you can, and let’s enjoy the music together from a distance.
Malmo – Farewell Roaring Ocean: The Inevitable End, Pt. III
Damien Jurado – Alice Hyatt
Grimes – Delete Forever
Robyn Hitchcock – Sunday Never Comes
Fountains of Wayne – I’ll Do The Driving
Fountains of Wayne – Hey Julie
Fountains of Wayne – Bright Future in Sales
Pearl Jam – Quick Escape
Kikagaku Moyo – Mushi No Uta
Mark Lanegan – Skeleton Key
Bombay Bicycle Club – Eat, Sleep, Wake (Nothing But You)
Anna Burch – Party’s Over
Iji – Something to Say
Polica – Steady
Childish Gambino – 19.10
Hollis – All My Weight
Smokey Brights – I Love You, But Damn
Lemolo – Mad World
Making Movies – Everybody Wants to Rule the World
Mavis Staples – All In Together
John Prine – Hello In There
John Prine – People Puttin’ People Down
John Prine – In a Town This Size
John Prine – Boundless Love
John Prine – God Only Knows
Nathaniel Rateliff – Time Stands
Andrew Bird – Capital Crimes
Pearl Jam – 7 o’clock
Bill Withers – Ain’t No Sunshine
Bill Withers – Use Me
Bill Withers – Lovely Day
Bill Withers – Lean On Me