Skip Navigation
Regional News

Music Picks for Gift-giving

Listen to this story
What music--new or old--are you recommending for holiday listening and giving this year? Read some staff recommendations (at the more link) to get you started. Make your own recommendations using the comment link, or email your suggestions to

Hear this

Share this

From Jackie Sauter, host of Music for a Monday:

...Featuring Norah Jones. Great collaborations she's recorded over the past ten years with Gillian Welch, Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Foo Fighters and more.

Chet Baker and Bill Evans: The Complete Legendary Sessions. They didn't play together much but when they did it was fabulous. These are 1958 and 1959 rceordings, remixed and remastered. Lovely and lyrical.

A Good Day. Jessica Molaskey with John Pizzarelli. It's been around for a few years but this one's delightful. A tribute to Peggy Lee, it's upbeat and fun, and Molaskey is a wonderful singer. In fact, if you love American popular song, you'll want to check out her other CDs also.

Listening Booth: 1970. Marc Cohn. Great tunes from then (Wild World, Maybe I'm Amazed, Into to the Mystic, Only Living Boy in New York, New Speedway Boogie, etc. ) reworked for now, by the Grammy-award winning singer-songwriter.

The Fraser Family: Home of Our Hearts. The first CD from a remarkably musical family from Harrisville, New York, featuring tunes from Scotland, Ireland, and Cape Breton. Recorded by NCPR's Joel Hurd, in Harrisville and Alexandria Bay. Available at the TAUNY Center in Canton and through


From Barb Heller, host of String Fever:

The Fiddlers Three: Gretchen Koehler, Don Woodcock and Rebecca Koehler team up with fantastic 3-part fiddle arrangements for some of the best-loved north country fiddle tunes. This instrumental album is one you can listen to over and over again without ever tiring of their cheerful, upbeat music. Available From Don Woodcock or Gretchen Koehler in concert here in the north country, or at TAUNY in downtown Canton.

Kruger Brothers: Forever and A Day: Uwe and Jens Kruger are Swiss brothers who play banjo and guitar (respectively) like no one I've ever heard. Fantastic! Joel Landsberg rounds out the trio on bass. These beautiful - mostly original - arrangements make less of the showmanship and more of their musicality. These guys are capable of playing the fingers off a roomful of great players, yet they hold back and concentrate on bringing out the best in their own music. The whole album is delightful, and Owe has a deep, laid-back singing voice that fits the music perfectly. Double-Time Music # DTM-020

Graves Mountain Live: The All-Star Jam: This new release from Rural Rhythm has such a great line-up of musicians on it. This is a live recording of a huge jam session, where each artist introduces the next one, and so on, until the stage is full of top-notch musicians all performing our favorite songs together. You just have to sing along when you listen to this! Rural Rhythm #RUR1073

Michael Martin Murphey: Buckaroo Blue Grass II: What can I say? I love cowboy music. The musicianship on this album is great - it's not too twangy, great harmonies too. Murphey has top-notch players recruited from other bands for this collection (Sam Bush, Andy Leftwich, Ron McCoury, Rob Ickes, and the list goes on and on). It's smooooooooth listening for a long ride across the range! Rural Rhythm # RHY1056

Johnny Gimble: Still Swingin'!: Jonny Gimble is a great western swing fiddler, and Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Ray Benson & Garrison Keillor all join in on this one. It's fun, danceable, and you won't be able to stop tapping your foot to these songs. Available by mail at Johnny Gimble Music, POB 347, Dripping Springs, TX 78620 or at


From Ellen Rocco, host of The Blue Note, Tuesdays at 3 pm

Cyndi Lauper, Memphis Blues

Imelda May, Love Tattoo

Hans Theessink and Terry Evans, Vision

Scrapomatic, Alligator Love Call (also Sidewalk Ceasars)

James Cotton, Giant

Charlie Musselwhite, The Well


From Guy Berard, host of Jazz at the TenSpot, Saturdays at 10pm

Cassandra Wilson: Silver Pony

Jane Monheit: Home

Steve Gadd and Friends: Live at Voce

Charles Lloyd Quartet: Mirror

Brad Mehldau: Highway Rider

Paul Motina: Lost in a Dream

Anat Cohen: Clarinetwork

Jason Moran: Ten

Geri Allen: Flying Toward the Sound

Myron Walden: Countryfield


From Mike Alzo, host of The Folk Show, Mondays at 8pm

Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson – Rattlin’ Bones

Twistable Turnable Man : a Musical Tribute To the Songs Of Shel Silverstein

The Magnolia Sisters – Stripped Down

Gretchen Peters with Tom Russell – One To the Heart, One To the Head

Jim Lauderdale – Patchwork River

Si Kahn – Courage

Rosalie Sorrels and U. Utah Phillips – The Long Memory

Patty Larkin – 25

Steve Earle – Townes

Lynn Miles – Black Flowers Vol 1 & 2

Carrie Rodriguez – Love and Circumstance

Brooks Williams – Baby O!

Patty Griffin – Downtown Church

Catherine MacLellan – Dark Dream Midnight

Tom Russell – Blood and Candle Smoke

Harlem Parlour Music Club – Salt Of the Earth

Jackson Browne & David Lindley – Love Is Strange

Kevin Welch – A Patch Of Blue Sky

Jack Williams – The high Road Home

Kevin Burke & Cal Scott – Suite

Yvette Landry – Should have Known

Judy Collins –  Paradise

Eilen Jewell – Butcher holler

John Francis – The Better Angels

Dala (Amanda Walther & Sheila Carabine) – Everyone Is Someone

Susan Werner – The Gospel Truth

from David Sommerstein, host of The Beat Authority:

Salsa Explosion – Fania Records – A 101 primer in New York City salsa from the 1960s.  Fania made history in latin music.  And it’s really a huge contribution to the best of American music.

Ozomatli – Ozomatli (1998) – everyone who likes to dance should have this album. 

Tradi-Mods vs. Rockers – Crammed Records (2010) – American indy rock bands remix the DIY street sounds of Congo’s Konono No.1 and other “congotronics” groups.  Truly groundbreaking, genre-bending music that’s a thrill to listen to.


Visitor comments


NCPR is supported by:

This is a Visitor-Supported website.