Joshua Davis at Hoxeyville Music Festival, Wellston, Michigan August 18, 2012. The tune is “Workingman’s Hymn”. Studio version here.

Currently working on a new video around the theme of permafrost melt and feedback.  In the course of googling around, it was a nice surprise to come across the video above, by Laurena, a self-described “indie hipster poser” from Montreal.

I was thinking about stealing the song for my video – turns out Laurena’s on board with the youtube ethic (“Yes! you may use my songs in your projects/videos…”) but for now the music is going another direction. We’ll see – since the topic is so huge, it may require several videos, and so devastating, I might need a sensitive singer-songwriter’s input to help me process  the angst.

On the same day, I got an email bump from a friend pointing me to the kickstarter project of a very talented, confident and self assured young lady, fittingly titled “Standing Tall”.

One of the not-very-well-known-to-outsiders secrets of this area, and one of the things that’s kept me here close to home, is a rich and lively indie/folky music scene in Central and Northern Michigan. Anchored, nurtured, and inspired by the legendary, beloved, and now 40 year old Wheatland Music Festival,  a terrific network of WCMU public radio stations keeping the flame alive and letting people hear each other, as well as Ann Arbor’s mythical Ark acoustic club, and East Lansing’s renowned Elderly Instruments, the area is kitchen and campfire-picker friendly.

Now a new generation of confident young musicians are coming up, and hearing from someone like Sonya Shoup makes one hope we’ll have the kind of songs we’ll need in the future to keep turning things around. This is her kickstarter video for a CD project. (already funded!)

Description:

The Barenaked Ladies, a children’s choir, and the commander of the International Space Station. Put them together and what do you get? The first space-to-earth musical collaboration.
The song, “I.S.S. (Is Somebody Singing) was commissioned by CBCMusic.ca and The Coalition for Music Education with the Canadian Space Agency to celebrate music education in schools across Canada.

I’m not a big opera fan. I’m not a big Aretha fan. But I found my cheeks were unexpectedly moist at the end of this.

You’ll recognize the tune.

Suggested by reader Bob.

Used to do this one myself at the local Holiday Inn. Love John Prine. Love Nora Jones.

If you’re going to keep a green planet, and you’re having trouble remembering why, warm up your coffee, take a breath and sink into this one.  Dick Gaughan, Emmylou Harris, The McGarrigles, Rufus Wainwright, Alley Bain and Jerry Douglas.

It’s spring, no matter what the gyrations of the atmosphere, its the only spring we’ve got – so get out there and breath the moist air in – and mix it with this music in your chest.

Then, get back to work defending it with Dick Gaughan’s “Worker’s Song” (below the fold)  in your belly.

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Anais Mitchell is a Vermont based folksinger/composer with a a quirky sense of humor, pathos, and song.

This is a piece from her Opera – “Hadestown”. The voice you’ll hear is midwestern favorite Greg Brown, as Hades, Lord of the Underworld – doing a surreal and unearthly turn.

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