Here’s to Better Days

I chose A. J. Croce as the feature artist on this week’s version of Donald Glenn’s Songs for Sunday mostly because of his cover of the 1958 Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee classic, Better Day. The tune kicks off Croce’s new album, By Request, and it perfectly captures the mood of these difficult days when so many people are looking to feel good again after the trials and tribulations of the last few years. Croce is himself no stranger to grief and the sense of renewal that comes from healing. His famous Dad, Jim Croce, died in a plane crash a few days before his second birthday, and he lost his wife Marla to a rare heart ailment just two years ago. By Request is his first music release since his wife’s death.

Also featured on the cover of Better Day is the legendary Robben Ford who supplies some sweet guitar licks in lieu of Sonny Terry’s improvisations on harp. Enjoy!

The powerhouse voice of Eliza Gilkyson

This week on Donald Glenn’s Songs for Sunday, I’m featuring two songs by American Folk Artist Eliza Gilkyson, who began in the music business as a teenager singing demos for her famous dad Terry Gilkyson, and went on to a decades-long career with 20 albums to her name and covers of her tunes by industry heavyweights like Joan Baez, Bob Gledof and Tom Rush.

It’s easy to get distracted by Gilkyson’s musical pedigree and formidable songwriting skills, but it’s her voice that always gets me. It seems so strong to me, and it’s taken me a while to put my finger on the reason why. I finally figured out it’s because it just rings true to me. I believe every word she sings. Check out the two Gilkyson selections on the list this week and see if you agree.

Eliza Gilkyson

Pardon My French

This week on Donald Glenn’s Songs for Sunday, I’m featuring French Singer-Songwriter Damien Robitaille, who I discovered on New Year’s Eve when he posted a video of himself accompanying himself performing a Quebec folk tune called La danse a St. Dilon. Written by Gilles Vignault, the song tells the story of a country dance and is a favourite at New Year’s Eve parties in La Belle Province. Robitaille, who actually lives in the village of Lafontaine in Northern Ontario, has become a star of Quebec’s French music scene and has the tools and talent to make his mark with English audiences as well.

Damien Robitaille

Patricia Burnett’s musical tribute to Canada’s Michaels

This week, Donald Glenn’s Songs for Sunday features the well known Sunshine Coast Singer-Songwriter and Recording Artist Patricia Burnett, who recently released a new single called Dear Michaels. Written in the form of a letter from Canada to Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, who are spending their third Christmas in the custody of the People’s Republic of China, the song laments the injustice of their captivity and sends the message that Canada has not forgotten them and remains determined to bring them home. As Burnett explained in a recent Global News Interview, it was the unjust separation of the two men from their families that inspired her to pen the song.

Burnett, who has been entertaining audiences throughout Canada for many years, began her musical training at age six with classical piano. As a child she performed as a solo singer and in a trio with her two older sisters at Vancouver festivals and many well-known Lower Mainland venues like the Showboat and Queen Elizabeth Theatres. Later in life, she turned toward the pop and rock scenes performing as a lead singer and keyboard player for several Lower Mainland bands and touring Canada with the rock band Junction. As a solo performer, Burnett has enthralled Vancouver audiences with her powerful vocals and piano virtuosity. Her Carole King Tribute, which combines music with storytelling about King’s life, is a perennial favourite. Now living in Madeira Park with her supportive husband Vince, Burnett is writing, entertaining, recording, and in her words, “living the dream.”

Hurry up 2021!

I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a stinker of a year.

And maybe we should have seen it coming, because from the very start, 2020 came with some pretty ominous associations. For starters, it was a leap year. Check your calendar, and you’ll find 2020 includes a February 29th, which only happens once every four years. Second, it is the year of the Rat, the beginning of the cycle in the Chinese zodiac, and a year that is supposed to bring ingenuity and renewal. That only happens once every 12 years. Third, 2020 is a so called double-date year, where the first two digits are the same as the last two as in 1919, 1818, or 1717. That only happens once a century and interestingly enough, 2020 is the fourth century in a row to be visited by a pandemic during the double-date year. In 1919, it was the Spanish Flu. In 1818, it was Asiatic Cholera, and in 1717, it was Small Pox.

Even without the Covid-19 Pandemic, 2020 was an unbelievably busy news year. It saw the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani triggering open hostilities with Iran, the crash of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 killing all 176 souls on board, Harry and Megan’s dramatic exit stage right from the British Royal Family, the death of more than one billion animals and the extinction of several endangered species in the Australian brush fires, Brexit in the U.K., the impeachment of U.S. President Donald Trump, the California fires and the horrific death of George Floyd unleashing widespread protest throughout United States.

The cherry on top of all that social turmoil was the U.S. Presidential Election in November, which many saw as the fight for the soul of America, and perhaps the last chance for it to preserve its democracy in an increasingly autocratic world. And even when the good guy eventually won, he did not ride off into a Hollywood sunset, but into an apocalyptic landscape on teetering on the thin edge of who knows what.

I tried to capture some of the angst of 2020 in these two short movies. which are both set to a song called These Days. Let’s all hope it’s a Happy New Year!

Pandemic
Lead-up to 2020 presidential election

Gabriella Quevedo: a woman in total control of her instrument

Gabriella Quevedo, featured this week on Donald Glenn’s songs for Sunday, doesn’t do vocals, but then she really doesn’t need to. Her guitar does the singing for her. It’s easy to get lost in her rich, romantic guitar stylings, and just drift away to wherever your imagination might be headed. She is so in control of her instrument. The way she lets the open strings ring and plays to them is truly amazing. Need an example? Check out her cover of this Dire Straits tune.

Hope you like the new list. Ciao for now…

Gabriella Quevedo

Sweet sounds of Reina del Cid

This week on Donald Glenn’s songs for Sunday, I’m featuring two songs by Reina del Cid, a truly marvellous American singer-songwriter, who I discovered on YouTube a couple of years ago. I was learning to play the Bobby Darin standard Beyond the Sea and I watched Reina’s cover of it. Not only was it a nice rendition of the tune, but the video was very amusing and… um, authentic.

It must have been a windy day, because at one point their video set-up took a tumble, and I think the drummer also got stung by a horsefly or a bee. Anyway, after that I was hooked on Reina (real name Rachelle Cordova) and Lead Guitarist Toni Lindgren. They perform a new cover every Sunday on YouTube, and I often tune for a listen.

Hope you like the new list. Ciao for now…

Another Sunday playlist, but this one’s different…

Hey guys. It’s Sunday again, so there’s gotta be another playlist, right? You might notice this one’s a little different. Instead of choosing a list from my collection and sending it out, I decided to create a special Sunday song list called Donald Glenn’s songs for Sunday. Each week I’ll update the list with new songs I’ve heard through the week. I listen to a ton of music, and I often discover new tunes and artists I’d like to share.

This week for example, I’m featuring a couple of songs by Greg Brown, a folk artist from Iowa who I hadn’t listened to much until I stumbled across a tune of his called Dream Café. I love how he uses rhythm with a simple chord progression to create something really memorable. Dream Café and Two Little Feet are good examples.

Hope you like the new list. Ciao for now…

Heartbreak Sunday

Hi guys. I have a brand new playlist for you this Sunday. It’s called Heart Breakers and it’s all about those pesky end-of-romance moments and memories of those moments, when it seems like you’ll never be able to feel good again or laugh or smile or even go on living, but then, miraculously… you do. Enjoy!

Another Sunday, another playlist

Hi Guys. It’s Sunday in Canada today, so I’m sending out another playlist. This one is called These Days. I did a little curating on it recently, so there’s 12 songs now instead of 10. What I like to do with my playlists, is put on my headphones and play them in the background while I’m writing or surfing. Seems like I get more done when part of my brain is distracted by music. Anyway, hope you like the new list.