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Ani DiFranco: “Binary” and “Angry Anymore”

Singer, songwriter and guitarist Ani DiFranco was born in 1970 in Buffalo. She moved out of her parents’ house when she only was 15. Before that – when she was nine years old – DiFranco was covering the Beatles in local bars alongside her guitar teacher. She started her own lable, Righteous Babe, when she was only 18.

Wikipedia describes her as a folk and rock singer who has added punk, funk, hip hop and jazz influences. Her debut album was released in 1990.

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Ani DiFranco (Photo: WEBN-TV)

The Sun has a good Q&A with DiFranco, whose early years sound quite harrowing, but in a subtle way. Nothing awful seemed to have happened, but the idea of a young girl essentially living hand to mouth alomst on the streets of Buffalo is a bit unsettling.

DiFranco made it through, however, and now is the mother of two. She cites Pete Seeger as an influence. Anyone who does so almost certainly has an affinity for Woody Guthrie as well. An early career highlight, according to Wikipedia, was performing in 1995 alongside Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Arlo Guthrie, Indigo Girls, Tim Robbins and Bruce Springsteen at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. The occasion was the opening of the Woody Guthrie Archive in New York City.

DiFranco has been nominated for four Grammy Awards. She won the Best Recording Package Grammy in 2004. Two years later, DiFranco also won the Woman of Courage Award from the National Organization for Women.

Above is “Binary” and below is “Anygry Anymore,” which Paste Records’ Jenn Morson considers to be the top DiFranco songs. Others are “Swan Dive,” “Shameless,” “As Is,” “Garden of Simple,” “32 Flavors,” “Gravel,” “Dilate,” “Untouchable Face,” “Shy” and “Both Hands.”

The Sun story, which was posted in May 2016, says that she has released more than 20 albums that have sold more than 4 million.

Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.