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Quick Picks


Album  |  EP  |  Single

The Sound Cafe Rating

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

Ross Ainslie: Vana

Multi-instrumentalist Ross Ainslie releases his fourth solo album next week. Entitled Vana – after a wellness retreat in India that the Perthshire-born piper visited last year – the album is on sale from Friday, October 30.

Vana follows Ainslie’s 2017 critically acclaimed album, Sanctuary, and draws influences from World Music. Renowned saxophonist, Paul Towndrow is featured on some tracks, giving a jazz feel to the recoridng. The album also features Runrig guitar maestro, Malcolm Jones and Graeme Stephenon.

Logan Ledger: Logan Ledger

Bay Area-bred singer/songwriter Logan Ledger sets most of his songs in lightless or shadowy spaces: the bottom of the ocean, the abandoned cells of Alcatraz, dreamless bedrooms, desolate streets in the dead of night. Produced by 13-time Grammy winner T Bone Burnett, the Nashville-based artist’s self-titled debut matches his moody noir lyricism with a darkly toned take on country music, a sound that’s stylistically wayward yet deeply grounded in classic  songmanship. 


With Burnett playing guitar on more than half the tracks, the album finds Ledger backed by guitarist/pedal steel player Russ Pahl, guitarist Marc Ribot (Tom Waits, Elvis Costello), drummer Jay Bellerose (Willie Nelson, Jackson Browne), and bassist Dennis Crouch (Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton), threading in elements of acid rock and surf music and baroque ’60s pop to forge a decidedly Californian sound. But as the sonic antithesis of the sunshiney folk that Jimi Hendrix called “Western sky music,” the album is nearly subterranean in its mystique, indelibly informed by what Ledger refers to as “that gloomy, nocturnal, San Francisco/Ocean Beach vibe.”

John Doyle: The Path Of Stones

Fans of Irish music need no introduction to John Doyle, one of the most influential and important musicians in the genre today. The Path Of Stones finds Doyle establishing himself as a masterful composer as well as an inspired player.


All 11 tracks were written by Doyle and include an engaging and mesmerizing assortment of songs and tunes. Special guests include Rick Epping, Cathy Jordan, John McCusker, Mike McGoldrick, and Duncan Wickel. Through it all, Doyle’s tenor vocals and driving guitar playing are front and center, establishing him as a multi-faceted talent in Irish music with an album that is destined to become a classic in the genre.

Gangstagrass: No Time For Enemies

Gangstagrass is a group of musicians in New York City, most known for the theme song of the FX television show Justified. The group is founded and led by Brooklyn producer Rench, and combine authentic bluegrass and rap into a new genre.

A band that crosses genres like bluegrass and hip-hop with true authenticity, Gangstagrass has always been about breaking through the social and racial divisions between us.

Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters: Rise Up

Following the immensely successful Beyond The Blue Door album released in 2019, Ronnie continues to perform with his outstanding band The Broadcasters on his latest release, Rise Up, which contains songs written and recorded just as the COVID 19 quarantine was winding up.


The majority of the album, recorded in The Living Room Sessions in Ronnie’s home, are filled with songs that remind us of the comfort brought by family and community. Ronnie Earl has always believed in the power of music to heal the mind and spirit, and the 15 tracks on this new disc demonstrate that implicitly.

Josiah Johnson: Every Feeling On A Loop

On the cusp of releasing his first-ever solo album, Every Feeling On A Loop, songwriter Josiah Johnson was aware he wasn’t supposed to be here. Just five years ago when he took a leave of absence from the acclaimed indie-folk band, The Head And The Heart, the question was less where Johnson’s star would take him and more whether his struggles with addiction would end his music career. But then, he wasn’t supposed to be there, either.

The War and Treaty: Hearts Town

As The War And Treaty, Michael & Tanya Trotter have been compared to the likes of Ike & Tina Turner. With funky bass lines, keys, lap steel, acoustic strings, and stripped-down percussion, they create a swampy Southern soul bed for the couple's transcendent vocals, it is no wonder they are Americana Music Association's 2019 Emerging Act of the Year.


Michael is a wounded warrior who found his voice while serving in Iraq, when he was pulled from the frontlines to write songs for the fallen. Tanya is a lifelong artist, drawn to singing's power to take another's pain away. This tour-de-force swaggers with confidence only gained by artists who are wholly, proudly, themselves.

Ida Benna: Ida Benna

Ida Benna is a charming Toronto four-piece band playing original songs featuring a throwback blend of old-time blues sensibilities, deep grooving rhythms and virtuosic guitar chops.

Led by the sweetly-nostalgic vocals of Barrie, Ontario singer Melissa Courvoisier, the rest of the band is made up of Regina, Saskatchewan-native Kirkland Hu on guitar, Peter Dunwoody from Eli, Manitoba on bass, and drummer Leslie Armstrong hailing from Toronto, Ontario.

Bound by a humble curiosity for collaboration, this quartet finds joy in richly-layered vocal harmonies, meaningful emotional lyrics, and a shared gravity towards introverted kinships.

wholly, proudly, themselves.  

This is their debut release.

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