Summer Song List | Ten Tunes Off the Beaten Track

It’s time for the traditional Fringe Toast Summer List to supplement the joy of the sun, the surf, and the cool night air. The songs are listed as I would play them for a live radio show, starting with more upbeat songs and working up to more down-tempo tracks. All should promote a delightful transformation of your brain chemistry. Notice the year of original release shown parenthetically. Enjoy!

1. “Always Waiting,” by Michael Kiwanuka (2012).  This British soul musician came from Ugandan parents and supported Adele with his guitarwork on her 2011 tour. His singing style has been compared to that of Bill Withers and Randy Newman. 

2. “Trampoline,” by Joe Henry (1996). Discovered this one while researching Joe’s upcoming collaboration with Lisa Hannigan. Joe has produced 12 albums since 1986. Married to Madonna’s sister, Joe draws on influences from folk, rock, blues, jazz, and country music. Explore his very deep library of tunes.

3. “Every Hour Spent,” by N. Grandjean (2011). The Danish singer-songwriter lays down a very cool groove, whispering hip-hop flavored lyrics with poetic passion. If you like this one, check out his 2008 CD Carrying Stars.

4. “The Boxer,” by Jerry Douglas, Mumford & Sons, and Paul Simon (2012). The classic Simon & Garfunkel tune takes new life on Jerry Douglas’s Traveler CD. Mumford takes the lead vocals while Jerry’s dobro-playing elevates the song to new heights of bliss. You’ll find yourself jumping on board for the extended final chorus: “Lai-lai-lai. . . .”

5. “Calypso,” by Suzanne Vega (1987). The New York City songwriter croons with slight echo and pedal steel guitar swooning in the background. I was happy to find another Vega tune that somehow had slipped past me. I hold a torch high to one of America’s greatest songwriters.
6. “Wild,” by the Inner Banks (2012). The title track from the spring 2012 release speaks well of the talents of the husband-wife duo from Brooklyn, NY. David Gould and Caroline Shultz bring their best performances to this outstanding CD that features lap steel guitar, violins, and influences from folk and Americana styles. 

7. “How Long” (Melodica Mix), by Piper Street Sound and Solution (2012).  This cool reggae-beat instrumental piece hooked me on the radio at midnight while I was coming over Black Mountain in North Carolina. The brainchild of Matt Mansfield of Atlanta, Piper Street draws upon Jamaican music traditions but is not confined by any particular genre. You’ll hear Latin, folk, and electronic influences as well.

8. “Under the Sea,” by Digby Jones (2006).  This track reminds me of the best chill blues keyboard improvisations from the UK band Zero 7. Digby Jones is a British musician and producer who participated in the Café Del Mar audio compilation series. He writes for films, TV shows, and commercials. Would love to meet this cool breeze!

9. “Paloma (Mudds Slender Loris Mix),” by Cantoma (2011). London DJ Phil Mison, recording under the name of Cantoma, was influenced by the Café Del Mar and the Spanish Ibiza electronic chill CDs.  I especially like this remix, which adds layers of subtlety to this fine composition featuring electric piano, bass guitar, varied percussion, and wind chimes. This reminds me of the jazz band Weather Report in chill mode.

10. “Falling Stars,” by Desert Dwellers (2010). An exotic electronic music and dance collaborative from southern California and northern New Mexico, this group brings sophistication to its compositions that paint beautiful landscapes through the deserts of the Southwest. From “Desert Dwellers has grown to encompass virtually every style of electronic music ranging from full-on psy-trance, progressive-tribal house, and glitchy breaks, to world fusion downtempo, ambient, and yoga dub music.”

Now, go sample and download these tracks for your enjoyment and to enhance your brain chemistry. Flow endorphins, flow! Check again next month for another round of recommendations of music from the Fringe.   



Join Andy on Fringe Toast every Wednesday at 8 p.m. on KRUU-FM (100.1 FM), www.


Join Andy on Fringe Toast every Wednesday at 8 p.m. on KRUU-FM (100.1 FM), www.