New Music Friday: Ellie Goulding, Yo-Yo Ma, & More

Today I introduce a new feature inspired by other music places across the Internet, New Music Friday. Each Friday that I can, I’ll highlight great new songs & albums just released, for your listening & discovering pleasure. (Yeah, not too much of a complicated concept.) Here’s some of the excellent music on tap this week:

Songs From The Arc of Life

Renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma & celebrated pianist Kathryn Stott have a new album out today, “Songs From the Arc of Life,” an excellent collection of songs (many of them iconic) reflecting the journey each of us takes through life. The selections, ranging from Bach to Debussy to Saint-Saens, are top-notch. Even if you’re not a classical music fan, you’re sure to find a few recognizable favorites. And the interplay between Yo-Yo and Kathryn, who have been playing together for more than 30 years, is stunning. Both of them are in outstanding form here, and work together seamlessly, really bringing out the life and heart of each of these compositions. This is a real treat for sure, and one you’ll want to take a listen to even if you’re not that into classical fare.

Watch Yo-Yo and Kathryn perform Saint-Saens’ classic “The Swan” from Carnival of the Animals:

Ellie Goulding has a new single out, “On My Mind,” taken from her upcoming album “Delirium” which comes out in November. I’ve been an Ellie fan for quite some time, beginning back in 2011 or so when I first heard her debut album “Lights” (then not yet available in the States). The title track from that album became a big sleeper hit while I was in Peru, so I was surprised and delighted to come back to the USA and find that Ellie Goulding was fast becoming a household name. This new single is an excellent musical evolution for her, a confident, current, certainly dance-friendly pop number driven by skittering guitars, a great beat, and Ellie’s cool yet passionate vocals. As always, she’s terrific at mixing radio-friendly elements with real, honest songwriting and performing. This is bound to be a radio staple within a few weeks or so, but it’ll be a radio staple you’ll really enjoy.

Take a listen on Spotify:

 

Letters to Ghosts

It’s been nearly 10 years since singer/songwriter Lucie Silvas released her last album. Struggling through label troubles and other delays, it’s been a long journey towards “Letters to Ghosts,” released today. The result, however, was well, well worth the wait. This isn’t just any old set of tunes. This is a collection of beautifully crafted, intensely personal yet accessible songs that grab you right from the get-go. Lucie’s delivery is full of fire and commitment–she’s clearly been ready for quite some time to remind us all what she’s got. Her voice is on point, her songwriting is on point, everything just clicks. She’s taken her time with this one, but it’s all the better for it. If there’s justice in the world, this will be the album to put Lucie squarely on the map. If not, though, there’s lots of high-quality, bound-to-be-stuck-on-repeat music to savor.

Check out the title track…then go and listen to the rest of the album:

 

Many A New Day

Veteran jazz singer Karrin Allyson has sung countless standards and other tunes over the years, and today she releases an album, “Many A New Day: Karrin Allyson Sings Rodgers & Hammerstein,” consisting entirely of songs from one pair of composers, that pair being of course Rodgers & Hammerstein, those behind classic musicals like “The King and I” and “The Sound of Music.” Accompanied solely by legendary pianist Kenny Barron and seasoned bassist John Patitucci, and choosing a great mix of both well-known and lesser-sung numbers, Karrin manages to bring out new and intriguing facets of these chestnuts that really make the songs come alive again. (Not that they didn’t have life to begin with. This is Rodgers & Hammerstein we’re talking about here.) Her phrasing is fantastic, her voice is distinctive and in fine form, and Kenny & John are two of the best accompanists you can get. Fun, inventive arrangements and an impeccable level of performance make this a fine tribute to Rodgers & Hammerstein, and not just an excellent jazz album, but an excellent album, period.

Hear Karrin, Kenny & John turn “The Surrey With the Fringe On Top” from Oklahoma on its ear (just count the key changes, for starters):

There’s lots of great music for you to enjoy this weekend. (This is just the tip of the iceberg.) Let me know how you love/hate this new feature, and if there’s any improvements I can make. Thanks, as always, for reading and listening. It’s great to have you visiting the blog!

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