Today’s contributors to Readers’ Choice are taking a folky/bluesy/rootsy/country angle:
- Writer and retired teacher Martina Freitag explores two albums from Toronto-based country singer Jeremie Albino. One is solo and the other a collaboration with partner Cat Clyde
- Author and labour historian Ron Verzuh presents three favourite songs from folk singing legend, Pete Seeger
The 4th Annual Readers’ Choice
This weekend’s columns wrap up the Readers’ Choice series for another year. Thanks so very much to the two dozen contributors who shared a few hundred songs and thousands of words about our shared passion – great music.
Thanks to those of you who introduced new or little known deserving artists. Yes! Thanks to those of you who reminded us about some of the greats – living or dead – from the recent and longer ago past.
Thanks to the writers who wrote – and wrote so well – the wonderfully succinct or in depth personal meditations and reviews. Thanks to those who shared your own compositions. Thanks to those who shared extensive playlists. And thanks to you who kept it to the point with a song or two or five. Bravo to all.
Stay tuned and enjoy,
29 January 2022
Voices Delighted to Work Together
I was alone and looking out over a still gray lake in early spring. It was the perfect setting to consider the song lyrics of Jeremie Albino’s Hard Time album (Sleepless Records, 2019). His voice is clear, with a nasal twang, and he belts out even his ballads with conviction, joy, and a rocking roots accompaniment. He’d been working on southern Ontario farms for the previous ten years — it qualifies him as persuasively authentic for even a Toronto-grown boy. I kept playing this CD obsessively for months.
I discovered another album, Blue, Blue, Blue, that he released in 2021 with Cat Clyde. The addition of her full bluesy voice gives great dimensional harmonies, especially in “Hello Stranger”, an admirable version of the A.P. Carter song made famous in the nineties by Emmylou Harris and Nicolette Larson. There’s only one original composition here, called “Been Worryin’” but it’s a great showcase for their voices, which are clearly delighted to work together.
About Martina: Martina Freitag is particularly fond of trees and dancing, but words and music have also always been sturdy companions. She is a retired teacher who is mostly living in Ontario.
Pete Seeger, Pete Seeger and Pete Seeger
I could have included Adele’s 30 in my pick of three musical experiences of the past year. I could have named the new Robert Plant/Alison Krauss album (how did he survive the Sixties?). Or I might have tossed in Peter Jackson’s new film about the Beatles or Paul McCartney’s streamed series about himself.
Instead I chose Pete Seeger, a hero of my Revolution and a mighty fine songster in the tradition of Wobbly Joe Hill and wandering minstrel Woody Guthrie. In fact, Pete took the torch from both of those troubadours and then more or less handed it to Bob Dylan. Before he did, he left us with three of my favourite tunes:
Little Boxes Pete singing Malvina Reynolds’s tune with the lyric “And they’re all made out of ticky tacky, and they all look just the same.”
What Did You Learn in School Today? Pete’s version of a Tom Paxton song that included the memorable line “I learned that policemen are my friends.”
and, of course,
Guantanamera The unforgettable rendering of this Joe Dassin number, which I was privileged to hear Pete sing at the old Massey Hall in downtown Toronto. The rafters were shaking with the voices of thousands. If Pete said sing along, you did.
Rocker Bruce Springsteen deserves a nod for his tribute documentary We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions.
About Ron: Ron Verzuh is a writer, historian and good friend of the Kurated founder