I've been spending a lot more time outdoors lately, which means less time for exploring new music. In a way, that suits me fine, because two of my recent discoveries have been so enjoyable that I'm happy to return to them. The first of these is an accidental discovery. I often choose unfamiliar artists by name, or by an alluring album title—and that's how I fell into the colorful world of Chuck Brodsky. Color Came One Day grabbed my attention, and Brodsky's deceptively gentle voice coupled with his compelling lyrics have kept hold. Bluegrassy (maybe quasi-country) guitar licks offer a welcome change from my usual auditory fare, and while a most of the themes Brodsky touches on may seem typical left-leaning material, a closer listen often reveals a more nuanced perspective. My favorite songs include the inspirational Miracle in the Hills, the achingly lovely Claire & Johnny, and the one that speaks to me more than anything I've heard in a very long time—Goddamned Blessed Road. If more topical, pointed commentary suits you better, check out Forest Hills Sub or Dangerous Times. Color Came One Day is a consistently good release, and I aim to learn soon if this is typical of Mr. Brodsky.
My other newly-discovered treasure I sought out. A friend's enthusiastic recommendation of fiddling piqued my curiosity, and led me to the Fiddlers' Bid album Naked and Bare. Wow! Touted as being premier musicians in the Shetland fiddle tradition, I wouldn't know the first thing about that, but I do know that I love the lush sound produced by the multiple fiddles backed with piano and bass, and sometimes other instruments. The blend of traditional and new works beautifully for me, and whether it's a slower piece like Naked and Bare or something more upbeat, like Da Kirk Stack, it's warm and lively and never fails to boost my spirits. Simply lovely stuff, and I must have more!