I had already decided to continue on our theme of favorites-by-province when Music/Musique NB released their 2016 releases poll, so I was happy to see a new list to dig through.  As with Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and Québec, New Brunswick has seen a plethora of great releases this year, and choosing a finite number of favorites has been a challenge.  (I have no doubt that I’ll find more after this post gets published.)

Lullaby Baxter & Robinson St. George – L’heure de l’étoile

In order to avoid embarrassing myself, I won’t disclose how I came to love piano-based jazz (it’s a source of mockery in our house), but this album exactly fits the bill of what I enjoy most in jazz.  Gorgeous vocals, great piano playing – this record is ideal for a quiet evening at home, soothing drink in hand, feet up.  I was delighted to find this and it will definitely be on my player frequently.

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George Belliveau – Drop l’aiguille

The cover of this album would lead one to expect a project with a strong 1980s feel – but one would be only partly correct.  The project has some country, some jazz, some dance, all in an infectious mix that had me pressing repeat more than once.  I dare you not to move to “Y’a rien de wrong avec ça!”  “Laurence” has the feel of old-school anthem rock with some great country harmonies thrown in.  A great listen, start to finish.

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David in the Dark – Fire

Sometimes you just need a straight-ahead rock album with some great pop hooks – and David in the Dark’s “Fire” fits that bill perfectly.  “Come With Me” is a great anthemic highlight, while “Sun Head” has been stuck in my head for several days now.

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Pierre Guitard – La tige et la racine

Lovely melodies, well sung (I could listen to Pierre’s voice all day) – sometimes albums draw you into them, and this is one such project for me.  “L’idéal” sinuously winds its way into the listener’s head, while “Jure-moi” finishes off the album beautifully.  To Pierre: more, please!  We look forward to more music from you.

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Lisa LeBlanc – Why You Wanna Leave, Runaway Queen?

This, Lisa LeBlanc’s first full-length project primarily in English, is a revelation.  (We posted our thoughts about it not long after it was released.)  My better half is still raving about her cover of Metalhead’s “Ace of Spades,” but the entire album is brilliant.

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Les Hay Babies – La 4ième dimension

A bit spacey, a bit rock, a bit folk… this album, while difficult to categorize, is a delight from start to finish.  (Interestingly, the bio on their website emphasizes that not one song on the project is country – this is clearly an important point for them.)  Regardless of the genre – and really, why should we box things into one or another? – this project will have you chair-dancing and singing along even if you don’t speak French.

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Les Jeunes d’Asteure – Paradis, possiblement

If you just look at the track listing, you would think this is an EP – mais non, mesdames et messieurs.  Harking back to 1960s prog rock while maintaining a bit of an 1980s vibe, these are five tracks of somewhat epic length (the first one clocks in at over eleven minutes).  None feels too long – in fact, I felt sad when each ended.

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The Not So Dandy-Lions – Rough Translation

Sadly, this group disbanded before I even became aware of them.  This is a particular shame as their EP is wonderful – great acoustic folk with terrific singing.  “Snowing in Denver” is an especially terrific track.  Best of luck to these talented musicians as they pursue a different path.

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Tomato/Tomato – I Go Where You Go

If you enjoy a traditional bluegrass sound, this project is definitely for you.  To be truthful, I’m usually more appreciative of bluegrass in the abstract (in awe of bluegrass musicians’ talent but not one to listen regularly), but this album has pulled me back to listen again and again this week.  Even if you think bluegrass isn’t your thing, give this a try – I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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La Virée – 4

Great Acadian-style music with some gritty electric guitar riffs included in the mix.  My coworkers kept wondering why my head was bopping at work – I blame “L’oiseau moqueur,” and if it kept moving, well, blame “Down Yonder.”  This is a fun listen – when you need some music to cheer you up and get you out of your seat, this is a great choice.

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~ L