music

Jon Cleary's songwriting is pure New Orleans. The pianist and singer has absorbed every last bit of sound from the Mississippi delta. But here's the thing: Cleary was born and raised in England.

The early music English vocal ensemble Gothic Voices was founded in 1981 and has since recorded 25 CDs.

This Continuum program presents excerpts from four of their recordings, featuring early music from Germany, France, Spain and England.

Driving down Capitol Heights in Mid-City a few weeks back, I saw a sign in front of a house. It was...a colorful sign, to say the least, and what it said intrigued me: "Live Music - Friday - 6:30 to 8:30." I decided to check it out, and what I found was not what I expected.

“It’s a neighborhood event,"  said David Henson, leader of the Adult Music Club of Baton Rouge. "It’s not really like a music venue, like a club show or anything like that where there’s going to be a crowd of rowdy people, or anything like that; but I do like (it) – this is a pretty good little house.”


Like most girls her age, Susan Cowsill watched The Partridge Family every week on television. But unlike most girls her age, she was related to the Partridges, albeit in a Hollywood kind of way. The show was modeled after Cowsill and other members of her singing family.

In the 1960s and early ’70s, The Cowsills were regulars on television, appearing with Ed Sullivan, Johnny Cash and on their own programs. They also had a string of top ten hits, including “The Rain, the Park and Other Things,” and “Hair.”

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The name Anonymous Four is quite important to early music. It represents two identities: the first, Anonymous IV, an unknown writer of an important treatise of medieval music theory, particularly about the music of Notre Dame in Paris in the 13th Century.

The second is Anonymous 4, a contemporary female vocal quartet specializing in medieval music. They began their career in 1992 and are still performing quite regularly.

Dr. Michael White
Derek Bridges / Flickr via MusicInsideOut.org

What do you hear when he plays his clarinet?

Can you hear the bayou? The river? The French Quarter? People sitting on their stoops waiting for someone to deliver the news? Penny parties?

That’s not a clarinet in the doctor’s hands; it’s a time machine.

“I listened to Johnny Dodds’ recordings. I listened to Sidney Bechet. I listened to George Lewis. I listened to Edmond Hall. I listened to Omer Simeon, Barney Bigard, and so many others. And you listen to that and you say, ‘Wow, I would like to capture that feeling.'”

Musical instruments produce their sound in many ways. This program is devoted to two instruments: one that's plucked (the harpsichord), and one that's bowed (the cello).

Harpsichord music by Francois Couperin (1668-1733) is performed by New Orleans-born Skip Sempe, and solo suites for cello by Bach are performed by Tess Remy-Schumacher.

The King's Delight, The Queen's Delight, and The Ladyes Delight — three early music CDs devoted to different Elizabethan delights are presented to a very notable collection of Delightful Delights. In addition, music from a CD called Watkin's Ale presents some very spirited and sometimes bawdy music of the same period. The music is performed by two excellent American early music ensembles.

A. J. Croce
Shelby Duncan / MusicInsideOut.org

It’s easy to tease out the artists who’ve inspired A.J. Croce’s singing over the years — Ray Charles, Paul McCartney*, Buddy Holly, even Ray Davies of The Kinks. He loves early rock n roll and R&B. So perhaps it’s ironic that A.J. rarely sounds like his father, singer-songwriter Jim Croce, who made his mark on music in the late 1960s and early 70s.

With nine albums to his credit and more than 20 years as a touring musician, A.J. Croce is his own man, performing his own music. And a devoted fan base has shown its appreciation for the genre-busting of the younger Croce.

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