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The Monkees, Lyle Lovett, Bruce Springsteen,
Angelique Kidjo, Fun, Now, Now, Bon Iver

Oh, do I have a treat for you. Please welcome (with raucous rounds of applause) my brother. He is a talented musician, media hound, and all around super smart guy who’s got the lowdown on just about everything. I was delighted when he agreed to a full-time column here. Enjoy! xoxo, Shannon

Greetings, readers, I’m GM’s music guru, JD, and this is this week’s playlist is brought to you via Spotify. I’m hear to teach, educate, inform, and appreciate the music of yesterday and today. You can find this playlist here and again after the article.

Coming in at #1 is The Monkee’s “You Told Me,” our tribute to the dearly departed vocalist for The Monkees, Davy Jones. I’ve always loved the “Taxman” intro. The song comes from The Monkees’ Headquarters album, which featured early songwriting and creative control by the members of the group, as opposed to using session musicians and professional songwriters.

#2 is a lovely, slowed down cover of Chuck Berry’s “Brown-Eyed Handsome Mand” by Lyle Lovett off of his newest release, Release Me. This is the most recent of Lovett’s covers of 50s rock musicians, as last year he covered Buddy Holly’s “Well… Alright” for the Listen to Me collection, which I enjoyed.

#3 is, in celebration of his newest album, which dropped yesterday, “The Promised Land” by Bruce Springsteen. Always one of my favorites off of Darkness on the Edge of Town. Originally released in 1978, this album saw a remaster in 2010, as well as an HBO documentary called “The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town.”

#4 is a cut off Angelique Kidjo’s newest relase Spirit Rising, a collection of live songs, including this cover of Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song.” The amazingly talented, Grammy winning Kidjo was on Forbes “Top 40 Most Powerful Celebrities in Africa” and is both fluent and sings in four languages.

#5 is an acoustic bonus track to Fun.’s newest album Some Nights. Now, “We Are Young (feat. Jonelle Monae)” is making its rounds on the charts right now, but this version is a little more intimate, a little more personal, and, thanks to Nate Ruess’ very theatrical and Freddie Mercury-ish delivery, not a bit less bombastic than the single version.

#6 is the second song on this week’s playlist from a young trio’s sophomore debut, this one from Minnesotans Now, Now’s “Separate Rooms” from their newest album called Threads. I dig the Arcade Fire meets U2 sound of this song.

#7 is a track from a wonderful compilation of collaborations between Irish folk heroes The Chieftans, and various modern artists. This traditional Appalachian murder balld, titled “Down in the Willow Garden,” is a collaboration between The Chieftans and Bon Iver, whose self-titled album rocked my 2011.

That’ll do it for this week. Once again you can find this playlist here. Make sure to check back next week for a brand new set of jams. I leave you now with a picture of… yes, the “Melvan.”

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