Amy LaVere: My Summer Playlist

She's a little alt-country, a little blues and a little (dark side of) rock and roll: Singer-songwriter-upright bass-player Amy LaVere -- whose just-out third album, Stranger Me, is snowballing with critical acclaim from all the right places (Paste anointed it “already among the year's best”) -- may have the face of an angel, but her witty lyrics and off-kilter instrumentation suggest a far more complex, haunted mind underneath.

So when we asked her to make us a summer playlist, we weren't surprised to see feel-good tunes (“Try a Little Tenderness”) alongside skewed, emotional wallops (Nina Simone).

LaVere just kicked off a 19-city headlining tour in support of the new album -- her third, with production by Craig Silvey (Arcade Fire) -- and she comes to NYC on Thursday July 28 with the Taj Mahal Trio for a free 6pm show at the World Financial Center.

“Shipbuilding” by Robert Wyatt

Originally written by Elvis Costello, but this is the version that knocked me down.

“It’s a Thin Line Between Love and Hate” by The Persuaders

This tune appeals to my sense of humor and the recording is so damn tough.

“Ain't Got No/I’ve Got Life” by Nina Simone

This particular live version of this song may be the grooviest girl-power song of all time.

“Love, Life, and Money” by Little Willie John

This tune pretty much says it all. Shannon McNally recently covered this tune in a side project we share. Her version is actually my favorite, but it hasn’t been released yet.

“Try a Little Tenderness” by Otis Redding

I don’t think I need to say anything about this one.

“I Must Be in a Good Place Now” by Bobby Charles

This song makes me feel good. It's just so dreamy and special.

“Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd

I’ve always loved this song. Listening to it takes me back to my comfortably numb teenage years.

“I'd Have to Be Crazy” by Willie Nelson

This is a strange song. The production is so perfectly suited to the story and it demands repeated listening.

The Ballad of Love and Hate” by The Avett Brothers

This song was so affecting to me. It may or may not have prolonged ending a relationship.

“Nocturn” by Kate Bush

The imagery in this tune is so powerful. One moment, you’re driving down the road, this song comes on, and you’re standing in the ocean under the stars, naked with your lover. Pretty good stuff.

“Why We Build the Wall” by Anais Mitchell

This whole record [Hadestown] is pretty much a masterpiece.

“Lulla” by Tinariwen

This album is in nonstop heavy rotation at the moment.

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