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Quick Picks


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The Sound Cafe Rating

5 star = essential, 4 star = excellent, 3 star = good, 2 = fans/collectors, 1 = for completionists only

Hussy Hicks: Gather Up The People

Hussy Hicks follow up their 2017 Album of the Year winning release with their new 6th studio album, Gather Up The People out on 24 July, which looks at many of the issues at the forefront of the global consciousness this year, calling for a future without sexism, racism, homophobia and xenophobia, but most importantly, without fear.


One of Australia’s best live blues ‘n’ roots bands, Hussy Hicks are a tour de force featuring powerhouse vocalist, Leesa Gentz and award-winning guitarist, Julz Parker. Prolific and accomplished musicians, Hussy Hicks have honed their sonic dexterity over the past 13 years with six studio albums, multiple industry awards and more than 1,000 live shows under their belts, from Australia’s biggest blues, roots and folk festivals to 15 international tours, which now sell out across Europe.

Midnight Shine: James Bay

Adrian Sutherland is from Attawapiskat First Nation on the remote James Bay coast. He’s a musician, singer, songwriter, recording artist, entrepreneur, speaker, author, advocate, and the fascinating frontman and founder of Northern roots-rockers Midnight Shine. He’s also a father of four, a grandfather to four, a hard-working and handy husband, and a respected cultural leader, proud of who he is and where he comes from.


In addition to making meaningful music that resonates widely, Adrian is fluent in his Cree language, practices traditional ways of the land, and is a genuine example of someone who lives authentically. An innovative and insightful thinker who has chosen to raise his family in Attawapiskat.

Joe Troop: Borrowed Time

With a new president, vaccines rolling out, and massive cultural changes underway, most of us are looking for a moment just to breathe. But not Joe Troop. As the GRAMMY-nominated bandleader for Che Apalache, Troop didn’t stop even for a second as COVID ravaged a whole year’s worth of performance dates.


Instead he took to the rural roads of North Carolina and the American South, pushing to get out the vote among rural progressives and interviewing those most affected by Trump’s horrific policies. After a year learning direct action from stalwart progressive organizers, he’s channeling that energy into his first proper solo album. Borrowed Time, out August 20 on Free Dirt Records, may feature big names like Béla Fleck (who produced Che Apalache’s GRAMMY-nominated album), Abigail Washburn, Tim O’Brien, and Charlie Hunter, but the powerful songwriting speaks for itself and is designed to push listeners out of their comfort zones.

Elisha Marin: Shining Out

Elisha Marin is a self-taught singer-songwriter, visual artist, and teacher. Elisha directs an arts nonprofit in rural Southern Minnesota. He began performing on stage when he was 8 years old.


Elisha lives in a former opera house and is passionate about historic building restoration and art history.


The title track for Shining Out was written in response to the Charleston Church Shooting. Shining Out is a song of hope for the future, featuring the voices of over 100 students and friends. This album was recorded and produced by Matt Patrick at the Library Recording Studio in Minneapolis. Performing on the album are Aaron Fabbrini on pedal steel and bass guitar, Zach Miller on percussion, Matt Patrick on various instruments, and from Nashville, Tennessee, Alissa Klein on vocals. This is his debut album release.

Fresh Breath: World Gone Crazy

Known for their raw, insightful lyrics teeming with truthful observations about the state of society, Canadian indie-blues rock duo Fresh Breath are back with a new story to tell by way of single, “World Gone Crazy”


From their forthcoming album, How Did I Get Here, and joining the ranks of previous singles “Likes & Shares,” “Time For a Change,” and more, “World Gone Crazy” lands as an anthem for each of us in the midst of a global pandemic; an ode to what we are presented each day.


And through it’s bootstompin', electric-guitar riff strummin’, truth-packed grit, the song delivers on telling it exactly how it is.

KC Jones: Queen of The In Between

KC Jones has always been curious. It’s what compelled her to achieve excellence in old-time fiddle, singing, guitar, and percussive dance as a teenager. It’s what brought her to Southwest Louisiana, where she soon learned Cajun French and began writing and performing original songs in dual languages with progressive Cajun bands like Feufollet and T’Monde.


Now, it’s what has laid the groundwork to knit her myriad musical and cultural interests—what she casually refers to as “obsessions”—into an impressively cohesive collection of original songs on her debut solo record, Queen of the In Between. The record draws upon a remarkable range of styles—from classic country to psychedelic rock to contemporary indie roots singer-songwriters. Yet it’s not simply a meld of seemingly disparate influences; Queen of the in Between dazzles in its ability to speak to the universality of human emotion.

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