Contributor picks include Levon Helm (pictured), Tom Waits, Courtney Marie Andrews, Beth Hart, Gillian Welch, Maggie Bell and more
Readers’ Choice
Part 4
  • Writer and retired teacher Martina Freitag found solace and inspiration in a couple of songs by Tom Waits and Levon Helm

  • Blues aficianado Ted Lane enjoyed some good listens in several genres – Folk and Americana included – as well as a few nostalgia trips

The 4th Annual Readers’ Choice

Kurated readers share their favourite music of the last year in the annual Readers’ Choice series. Anything musical is welcomed whether its new, an old favourite, something self-composed and more. Thanks to all the contributors!

Kris Sig Plastic V3

07 January 2022

Martina Freitag
Costa Rica / Ontario

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Levon Helm held the beat for The Band and lent it his fine voice too. His 2009 song, When I Go Away, was recorded 3 years before he died at age 71.

2-Song Playlist

Listening To and Humming These Lines

I thought a lot about loss, grief, and love and death in the last months of 2021, and found myself frequently listening to, and humming lines from the following songs:

  • Tom Waits’ All the World Is Green (2002) and
  • Levon Helm’s When I Go Away (2009)

My grandmother liked sad songs best, which was incomprehensible to me in my younger years. At this point in life, I think remembering my dear dead ones is a way to continue loving them. And strangely, the songs are less sad because they make me more aware that no matter how close death might be for me, I’m not going away there just yet!

About Martina: Martina Freitag retired after teaching small children for many years. She is often astounded at how deeply she responds to music, words, and the natural world. She is mostly living in Ontario.

Ted Lane
Victoria, BC

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2018’s May Your Kindness Remain by American singer-songwriter Courtney Marie Andrews is one of Ted Lane’s top albums of the year

7-Song Playlist

A Bluesy, Folky, Americana (and More) Mix of Favourite Songs and Albums

A lot of my listening is on Spotify lists – a good source of new (to me) music – and Kurated. 


  • I’d Rather Go Blind by Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa (great cover of the Etta James signature song with wonderful guitar playing)
  • Guadeloupe by Gretchen Peters (lovely version of the Tom Russell tune) 
  • Looking for the Northern Lights by Belfast Cowboys  
  • Sweet Lucy by Cass McCombs and Steve Gunn (can’t get the refrain out my mind) 
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Cass McCombs and Steve Gunn


(I’m more album-oriented)

  • May Your Kindness Remain by Courtney Marie Andrews
  • American Band by Drive By Truckers (songs from Jason Isebell’s former band)
  • The Upside of the Downside by Belfast Cowboys  (this is either a tribute to Van Morrison or very derivative. Being a Van fan I like it)
  • Lamentations by American Aquarium
  • Downey to Lubbock by Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore
  • All the Good Times by Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings (winner of 2021 Grammy for Best Folk Album)
  • Blackbird Gretchen Peters 
  • Reflections by Jerry Garcia (a nostalgia trip)
  • Push the Blues Away by Josh Teskey and Ash Grunwald 
  • Queen of the Night Maggie Bell (My all time favourite  female blues album. Sorry Janis)
  • Okey Dokey by Natural Child


  • Oscar Peterson: Black and White  (HBO doc)

About Ted: Ted Lane is a retired horticulturist living in beautiful Victoria B.C. He has loved popular music since he first heard “Rock around the Clock” by Bill Haley. His musical tastes run from Blues, Folk, Jazz, Rock and Pop to Americana, AltCountry and some World music. He leans heavily towards Blues-based tunes and feels the 60’s was the Golden Age of popular music.