Music to read Power Line by

Over the past few months I’ve been the recipient of notable new work by musicians who are aware of my love of popular music. Among these recordings are the self-titled extended play disc by singer/songwriter/trumpeter Pez Wilson. The new disc is a follow-up to Pez’s debut on “Waveland,” but features a stripped-down sound and jazzy style that distinguishes it from its predecessor.

It sounds to me like Pez has achieved some kind of a breakthrough. The new disc is a joyous wonder. Pez has posted the audio on his site. Downloads of both “Waveland” and “Pez Wilson” are available on iTunes. “Pez Wilson” is also available by download at the link via Amazon.

Our old friend Steve Dobrogosz is a Power Line reader, an American expatriate living in Sweden, and a composer of multifarious talents. His new recording with the ravishing Anna Christopherson is “Rivertime,” a compact disc on which Steve composed all the numbers and provided the piano accompaniment. “Rivertime” follows up on Steve and Anna’s “It’s Always You.” I’ve been listening to the new disc with admiration over the past several months. Steve is featuring the audio of one of the disc’s knockouts (“Starlit”) as the song of the month at his site. The video of “Rivertime” is below.

Steve’s work in the popular vein on “Rivertime” reflects his affinity for the Gershwin approach to crafting a tune. He knows the Lennon/McCartney songbook by heart, and in the last ten years has enjoyed Shania Twain’s music more than anyone else’s. When describing his inspiration for his writing in the pop vein, he also adds Beethoven, “depending on one’s definition of popular music…” Steve’s work with Anna is available on iTunes in addition to other of Steve’s work.

Jude is an awersomely talented singer/songwriter. He has an interesting personal story and an impressive body of work carried on iTunes. He has established a following in Europe, where he may be somewhat better known than he is in the United States. Below Jude performs “Love, Love, Love,” which also appears in a higher quality video on his site. Key line: “I don’t believe what the world wants me to.”

“Love, Love, Love” is off Jude’s 2006 disc “Redemption.” “Redemption” and “Sarah” (which topped CDBaby’s online chart for months and remains one of its all time bestselling discs) represent Jude’s newer work, though “Cuba” (also available here via CDBaby) is Jude’s most recent disc, collecting early outtakes. He has posted the audio of the song “Cuba” on his site together with another song off the disc.

I don’t hear a political bent to the songs on “Cuba,” which are terrific. The song “Cuba” itself tells the story of Jude’s unhappy experience recording “King of Yesterday.” But Jude dedicates the songs on “Cuba” to the people of Cuba with an unusual imprecation coming from an American artist: “May they soon be free!”

Yesterday Jude posted “Coming out to a whole new world” at Big Hollywood. It’s a compelling statement of purpose by an artist who deserves to be heard.

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