Give Me Five…featuring H.E.R.

We made it to the other side of 2020. The year that never seemed to end, while at the same time felt as if it flew by. I think back at things that happened a mere three or four months ago, and it seems like they were years before. Its hard to believe my last concert was in February – almost a year ago, yet in some ways it feels like a decade since I was at a live show. I miss live music so much. The sweat and pulse of the crowd, the vibration of the music under my skin, the known songs and the unknown ones, the little surprises, and the way that while at a live show all stresses, worries, to-do lists, responsibilities, and other miscellaneous “grown-up” stuff pause, and all that exists is the music.

I try to imagine being at a live show now and it feels impossible. I can’t wait until it isn’t impossible.

Music still exists though, and it has helped me through the year that is finally over. During some of my hardest moments, music was there saving me, just like it always has. I’m so grateful for music.

I let this space lay dormant for quite awhile, but its time for it to come to life again, to celebrate music and surviving and evolving into whatever comes next.

So, without further ado, here is 2021’s first Give Me Five…

“Hold On” by H.E.R. – from the single, “Hold On” (2020)

“And if I hold on to you,
I’m only hurting me.”

I think the first time I heard H.E.R. was on Saturday Night Live. I’d heard of her before then, but never heard her. Then I heard her again on a playlist my dear friend Lily made. Ever since, I’ve been devouring her music – song-by-song-by-song. This is the latest aural nourishment I’ve been feasting on. Give it a listen. I think it will leave you feeling musically-sated, and wanting more.

H.E.R. stands for “Having Everything Revealed” according to H.E.R. herself, Gabriella Wilson. If you want to support H.E.R. beyond listening you can check out the store here – you can order assorted merch (I like the “girls with guitars” hoodie myself). H.E.R. is the first black female artist to launch a signature Fender guitar! Girls with guitars, indeed.

“Waltz (Better Than Fine)” by Fiona Apple – from the album Extraordinary Machine (2005)

“No, I don’t believe in the wasting of time,
but I don’t believe that I’m wasting mine.”

Sometimes I revisit albums and re-discover a song that never really got to me before. Recently, I was making a return visit to Fiona Apple’s Extraordinary Machine and this song – “Waltz (Better Than Fine)” hit me in a way it never hit me before. Now that I’ve been hit by it, I can’t stop playing it.

Fiona came into my life in the ’90s, during my “Lilith-era”, though I always felt like Fiona (and Tori Amos) landed a bit Lilith-adjacent in that wonderfully off-kilter style with get under my skin and shake me around songs – just the thing I adore.

If you want to support Fiona by picking up her latest album (one of my favorite albums of 2020) go here – they even have vinyl!

“Glass, Concrete, & Stone” by David Byrne – from the album, Grown Backwards (2004)

“Lookin’ at happiness.
Keepin’ my flavor fresh.
Nobody knows I guess,
how far I’ll go.”

As a teenager, during the Talking Heads heyday, I was never a fan. I couldn’t stand their music mostly because – for some strange reason – I couldn’t stand David Byrne’s voice. I steered clear of all things Byrne until I was in my 30’s and decided to give it all another go. I don’t know what I heard, or didn’t hear, as a younger me, but I became obsessed with the Talking Heads during that “other go” – especially the albums, Fear Of Music and Remain In Light.

Recently, I’ve been diving in to Byrne’s solo work. This song – “Glass, Concrete, & Stone”, and the entire album Grown Backwards, is my current Byrne-obsession. Do you have a Byrne (or Talking Heads) obsession? If so, what song(s) or album(s)?

Support and shop for Byrne and Talking Heads music, and other goodies, here.

Traveler’s Paradise” by The Cactus Blossoms – from the album, You’re Dreaming (2016)

The Cactus Blossoms are brothers, Page Burkum and Jack Torrey, from Minneapolis. Their music is both timeless and cinematic, to me.

You can support The Cactus Blossoms here – music and merch galore.

The Cactus Blossoms would also love if you added your name to Congress to Save Live Music/Save Live Music Stages, put together by the National Independent Talent Organization – click here.

When The Lights Go Out” by Crybaby – from the album, Crybaby (2012)

Another Spotify Discover Weekly discovery. This song immediately reminded me of Arctic Monkeys, with some Kinks influence mixed in. Crybaby – or Danny Coughlan – is from Bristol (UK). He says the name of his music-persona comes from the Janis Joplin song, and the John Waters movie – not a bad combination of inspirations, I must say.

You can pick-up Crybaby’s 2012 album, that “When The Lights Go Out” is on here at Helium Records. The entire album is full of very cool tracks. This one is my current favorite.

Check back frequently to see what 5 songs will be added next to the Give Me Five Playlist for January 2021. You can listen as it grows on Spotify and YouTube.

GIVE ME FIVE – JANUARY 2021

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