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June 19, 2008 - Cindy Votruba
My brother and I have a running joke when it comes to him introducing me to music he listens to. He’ll name some artist he listens to and then before I have a chance to say it, he’ll say “who?” as if I haven’t heard of the person. Nine times out of 10 I haven’t heard of the person of course. But once I’ve listened to the music, I actually kind of like it.

That hasn’t been always the case though. There have been some groups’ CDs that my brother’s passed down to me that I’m like, “this isn’t my cup of tea.” But there have been a few suggestions and CDs I have liked. One such group is the Wailin’ Jennys. Yes, it does sound like the name is a play on Waylon Jennings’ name, but this trio of women from Canada does some excellent harmonies. One of these days I want to see them in concert.

My brother has also turned me onto such artists as the now-defunct Jayhawks, a Minnesota-based band, Becky Schlegel, another Minnesota musician; and Jonatha Brooke. He’s also a big fan of Ani DiFranco. The boy has between 900 and 1,000 CDs. Some CDs in his collection even include Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Steve Earle and Aimee Mann. Yeah, he could probably run his own Current 89.3 radio station. He does bring his taste in music to the airwaves when he volunteers to work for the University of Wisconsin-River Falls radio station.

And because I have XM radio in my car, I’ve found a few cool, bluesy, folksy artists of my own. I’m usually switching between XM Cafe (45), the Loft on XM50, Folk Village on XM 15, and of course, the 80s on XM 8. Because of the XM radio, I’ve added CDs to my collection by Susan Tedeschi (awesome blues guitarist) and Alice Peacock (another Minnesota singer from White Bear Lake). I’m considering a couple of more CDs by folks I’ve heard on XM — Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings (soul music with a horn line) and Anne McCue (another great female blues guitarist). How do I get to listen to these CDs? Not clips on Amazon. I always call up my favorite online toy — interlibrary loan through Minnesota’s library system (www.mnlinkgatewayorg). Most of the time, I can find at least one CD my some of my new favorite artists. Try before you buy!


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