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Posted: May 13, 2009

Candye Kane belts the blues in Denver, Boulder and Lyons

Plus: Gregory Allen Isakov celebrates new CD at the Fox

Mike Cote

When I heard that Candye Kane was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a year or so back, I was saddened and frankly didn’t expect to hear much from her again. I have known two people who suffered from the disease. Both were gone in a matter of months.

So when Kane writes in the liner notes to Superhero, “It’s a miracle that you’re holding this CD in your hands at all,” it’s hardly hyperbole. She’s been declared cancer free and is back at work belting the blues in the sassy, pull-no-punches style that has always made her one of the most endearing singers and interesting personalities out there. guitard_cover.jpg

Superhero doesn’t come until June 16 – I’ve been listening to an advance copy – but you can bet Kane will be previewing songs from the new CD when she performs Sunday, May 17, at Lannie's Clocktower Caberet, Monday, May 18, at Oskar Blues in Lyons and on Wednesday, May 20, at the Boulder Outlook Hotel’s Greens & Blues bar.

Kane has plenty of fun on Superhero – including the ’50s-style rocker “I Didn’t Listen to My Heart” and surf-guitar fueled “Throw it in the Trash Can of Love.” But her medical battle inspired a few powerful songs, including the title track and “Hey! Toughen Up.” 

Isakov at the Fox

Boulder singer-songwriter Gregory Allen Isakov has been enjoying a higher profile lately – for the next month he’s touring as an opening act for Brandi Carlile, (who appears on his new album.) Isakov will be celebrating the release of his new CD, This Empty Northern Hemisphere, with a show on his home turf, at Boulder’s Fox Theatre on Friday.
As the bleak album title suggest, Isakov is not your most happy-go-lucky guy. His mostly mellow, brooding songs are drenched with heartache and weariness. Isakov names Bruce Springsteen’s acoustic folk-driven The Ghost of the Tom Joad as the album that changed his life. Like Springsteen, he spends a lot of time grasping for life’s truths. He can rock a bit, too, but Isakov’s songs tend to fall into the gentle beauty category. Check him out.

From the music box:
SPAIN COLORED ORANGE Sneaky Like a Villain (Shout It Out Loud Music)

When I heard this quintet has a penchant for both the Electric Light Orchestra and Captain Beefheart, I was intrigued. On their first full-length album, Spain Colored Orange crafts a psychedelic pop masterpiece that is far more than the sum of their influences. Imagine early ELO, Sgt. Pepper-era Beatle and XTC with an instrumental mix that includes analog synthesizers, trumpet, strings and a children’s choir. Spain Colored Orange’s sense of wonder and adventure is infectious.


RAY CHARLES Genius: The Ultimate Collection (Concord)

This one falls under the category of if-there-is-one-Ray-Charles-record-you-need-to-own-this-is-it. This 21-track collection cherry picks from Charles’ late ’50s through early ’70s hit-making run, from the ubiquitous “Hit the Road Jack” to his soulful interpretation of “America the Beautiful.” Charles had his way around a classic melody - “Georgia on My Mind,” “You Are My Sunshine” - but he also had a rebellious spirit - check out “Let’s Go Get Stoned” and “Busted.”

VARIOUS ARTISTS Stax: The Soul of Hip-Hop (Stax)

Decades after the Memphis soul label’s heyday, hip-hop artists are still turning to classic Stax hits for inspiration, sampling songs by its stable of soul and R&B acts. The Soul of Hip-Hop presents 14 of those inspirations, offering detailed liner notes that offer a slice of history on each song and the rap artists who revived them. For example, Big Daddy Kane tapped, “Melting Pot,” an obscure track by instrumental icons Booker T. & the Mgs, for “Another Victory.” Even without the hip-hop connections, these 14 cuts offer a great sampling of work by Little Milton, Isaac Hayes, Rufus Thomas and other Stax artists.

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Mike Cote is the former editor of ColoradoBiz. E-mail him at

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