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Mixtape: Sweet 16

For the sixteenth time, I’ve arranged a few tunes for RayRay’s birthday. Hard to believe I’ve done this sixteen times – and hard to believe (or maybe not so much) that this was here circa 16 years old.

This year’s birthday collection comes just in time. We have been here in El Salvador five months and are exploring more and more. We’ve revisited mixtapes I made for her when we lived in the Dominican Republic and reminisced about those days as we covered new miles in our new vehicle. However, it’s time for some new tunes to accompany these new memories. I’ve once again aimed to combine music education with discovery, and to blend the old with the new.

There is plenty of new music to go around these days. As usual, I’m grateful to KEXP in Seattle for peppering my ears with new notes and names. All are talented artists and your ears will be rewarded if you check them out beyond just their tunes in the list below. Brandi Carlile’s cover of Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are A-Changin’ is as strong as it is timely, and if Rudy Willingham’s Pool Party doesn’t get your ready for this summer, I don’t know what will. Khruangbin’s all-instrumental sound is almost hypnotic and Iceland’s Vök reminds us that a small country can put out some big sounds.

I think you’ll enjoy some catchy tunes from Hyways, Young Romance, and Jarabe de Palo, as well as some quick trips to the past with Bob Seger, The Go-Gos, The Persuasions, Al Green, and the usual Fleetwood Mac. These tracks have been on my list of songs for a while – yes, I keep a running list of potential mixtape entries – and this seemed like a good opportunity to add them.

RayRay personally requested Despacito. That’s all I will say about that.

Of special note – at least to me – is the track by Robert Finley. He’s a 65-year old singer who, after a lifetime of only dreaming about music, is getting his due. This particular recording is from an in-studio performance that he did with Dan Auerbach (of Black Keys fame) and the Easy Eye Review. You can watch the entire performance here, but if you just want to jump to Finley’s songs, fast forward to 17:50. RayRay and I saw Finley when he opened for Nathaniel Rateliff and the Nightsweats during one of our last childless date nights in Washington in May of 2018 and I was hooked. He commands his songs on stage as if he’s been doing it for decades and packs a lifetime of heart and hustle into every note. Do yourself a favor and check him out.

That’s it for this time around. Hope you enjoy the music, and happy birthday, RayRay!

As always, you can find this mixtape on our Spotify station.

Louis Prima – Buona Sera

Fleetwood Mac – Gypsy

Karpatt – L’étiquette

Robert Finley – Get It While You Can (Live at KEXP)

The Lemonheads – Into Your Arms

Sloucher – Up and Down

10,000 Maniacs – Trouble Me

Hyways – The Line

Al Green – Still In Love With You

Brandi Carlile – The Times They Are A-Changin’ (Live)

Khruangbin – Maria También

Jarabe de Palo - A Dónde Vas?

The Go-Gos – We Got the Beat

Rudy Willingham – Pool Party

Milky Chance – Flashed Junk Mind

The Persuasions – All I have to Do Is Dream

Roosevelt – Under the Sun

Vök – Autopilot

Heart – Who Will You Run To?

U2 – If God Will Send His Angels

Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee – Despacito

Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band – Against the Wind



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