Pod Picks for March 6, 2014

March 5, 2014 

Freshen up your playlist with these hand-picked jams which we recommend for downloading (legally, of course) or streaming to you iPad, iPod, iPhone or other personal media device.

“Hi-Five” by Angel Olsen

Her voice has a distinct drone and warble as she sings, “I feel so lonesome I could die,” over a fuzzy honky-tonk guitar. Olsen has been categorized as a folk performer, but her approach mixes styles. Her voice moves around in a dark place that’s jagged and edgy. But that same voice travels to places of comfort with a smooth seamlessness. She’s as capable at yodeling as growling. On her third album, “Burn Your Fire for No Witness,” Olsen is finding a way to haunt her music, to find the shadows and skulk there until it’s time to jump out and scare you.

“Livin’ in the City” by John Butler Trio

John Butler has made a career out of creating his own brand of roots-rocking in Australia. For the last 15 years, he’s been putting down extended earth-tone jam sessions. But on this single from his sixth album “Flesh & Blood,” Butler veers away from the jam, jumping in with both feet into some straight-ahead acoustic blues. It fits well with Butler’s vocals and playing style. With the snap of the lyrics and the slide to the fretwork, those feet will start to stomp in no time.

“She Used to Love Me A Lot” by Johnny Cash

Who knows what you’re going to find when you’re cleaning out your dad’s closet after he passes away? In the case of John Carter Cash, Johnny Cash’s son, it was a cache of unreleased recorded music. This track comes from “Out Among the Stars,” an album recorded during the dismal days of Cash’s career – the ‘80s. The album was never released, and that’s a shame because it’s a testimony to what made Cash great. This song has both his swagger and his insecurities – the two identifiers that made Cash the paradoxical treasure of country music.

Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge

Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge

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