Maiden Heart, Kim Beggs, from Blue Bones (Black Hen Music, streaming at myspace.com/kimbeggs).
Kim Beggs's sturdy, trusting, girl-woman voice is perfect for this song about a kind of innocence that never dies. It's a love song that's also about a northerner (Beggs lives in the Yukon) getting bruised in the south before returning to the heart's true sheltering harbour.
The Manifold Path, Oliver Schroer & the Stewed Tomatoes, from Freedom Row (Borealis, streaming at borealisrecords.com)
Toronto fiddler Oliver Schroer wrote this hymn-like tune in 1999 and re-recorded it in expansive fashion two years ago while dying of leukemia. It's a beautiful, heaven-minded closer for his last album of boisterous dances with the Stewed Tomatoes.
Ophélie, Marianne Fiset, from Lieder et Mélodies (ATMA Classique, streaming at atmaclassique.com)
The Quebec soprano's album of songs with horn and piano includes this exquisite recent setting by Denis Gougeon of an Arthur Rimbaud poem about Shakespeare's Ophelia. Both the music and the singer (supported by Louis-Philippe Marsolais on horn and Michael McMahon on piano) seem just right for the poet's sustained, idealizing gaze.
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