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k.d. lang: “Hallelujah” and “The Valley”

This is from AllMusic’s bio of the distinguished singer:

When k.d. lang released her first major-label album in 1987, she caused considerable controversy within the traditional world of country music. With her vaguely campy approach, androgynous appearance, and edgy, rock-inflected music, very few observers knew what to make of her or her music, although no one questioned her considerable vocal talents. That confusion never quite dissipated over the course of her career, even when she abandoned country music for torchy adult contemporary pop in 1992 with her fourth album, Ingénue. Continue Reading…

This is the bio from lang’s site:

k.d. lang is that rare performer who, over 25 years as a major-label artist, has matured before our very ears. The Western Canada native launched her career with a blend of country-rock stylings and playfully punk-like attitude, by turns whimsical and subversive; back then, she practically put the alternative in alt-country. But from the very beginning, her bravura singing belied her kitschy cowgirl outfits and spiky hair; anyone lucky enough to attend very first appearance in the United States, on a triple bill of unsigned artists at New York City’s Bottom Line, could hear that she was marked for greatness. Continue Reading…

Below is The Valley and above is an intense, terrific rendition of the Leonard Cohen song Hallelujah. As the poster at YouTube points out, Cohen was in the audience — the event his induction into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006 — and the interaction between the two at the end is worth seeing.

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.

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