The Ear Bliss feature this week focuses on two 2021 releases that didn’t make it into the pages during the year. The first is Heartless Bastards’ A Beautiful Life, which marks a transition from the hard-edged rock of their prior releases. Founder Erika Wennerstrom’s unique voice is at the soul of the album, which features a mix of rock, pop, psychedelia, punk, Celtic, and folk. The album is highly recommended by Ear Bliss. The second album is from newcomer Margo Cilker. Her debut album, Pohorylle, is impressive, and NPR named her one of “11 Oregon Artists to Watch in 2021”. Cilker’s lyrical style and earthy singing voice, paired with producer Sera Cahoone, create a powerful and unique sound that is worth listening to.

Live shots:
– Sons of Skynyrd- A Lynyrd Skynyrd Experience is playing at the Courthouse Center for the Arts on January 15th.
– The Sonic Surfers featuring Steve DeConti, Dan Moretti, Marty Richards, and Lou Bocciarelli are performing at Pump House Music Works on January 14th.
– Confounded Bridge and Stefan Couture will be at Chan’s Restaurant on January 14th and 15th.
– Fellswater will be performing at the Blackstone River Theatre on January 22nd.
– “Songs in the Attic” a musical tribute to Billy Joel, will be presented by David Clark at the Stadium Theatre on January 15th.
– Spocka Summa and Bearly Dead will be playing at The Met Café on January 14th and 15th.
– Askew Winter Wonderland Jam at Askew will feature Julie Rhodes & The Electric Co. with Ali McGuirk and Mary-Elaine Jenkins on January 15th.
– Citizen Cope will be at the Columbus Theatre on January 26th.
– Chris Smither will be performing at the Narrows Center for the Arts on January 21st.

Dan Ferguson is a free-lance music writer and host of The Boudin Barndance on WRIU-FM 90.3 on Thursday nights from 6 – 9 pm.

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