Rich Aucoin – “It” [Listen]
We won’t leave it all in our heads
This rollicking, boisterous anthem is what I’m aiming for in life – to let go, put yourself out there, make yourself heard, and not let anything bring you down. I love the way the song builds; the repetition of the chorus gets me jazzed and leaves me with a surge of confidence, ready to take on the world and reminding me, well, not to leave it all in my head, as I often do. Rich is an artist I’ve been intrigued by and was curious to see play live, hearing of his theatrical onstage antics. I hit up his show at Casbah this month and was completely blown away! Seriously, I wanna do it again. It was so much fun. When I initially chose this song, I did not foresee that a few weeks later I would be singing the aforementioned lyric at the top of my lungs, into a microphone held by the man, himself.

Rich Aucoin. Photo from Rich’s FB.

Kirby – “High Horse” [Listen]
Because it’s bad enough I have to restart
But to beg like this is the worst part

It’s impossible to pick a favourite song by Kirby, one of my favourite local artists. I’ve seen him play live many times since 2008, and I’m happy to be able to feature him on the blog. Kirby’s voice always stands out for me among other local singer-songwriters, and while he has so many beautiful songs, this one off his latest EP Into the Dark has such a great rhythm to it and shows that he can rock the uptempo tunes too.

Library Voices – “Traveller’s Digest” [Listen]
Get some local colour, buy some local art
And bring your backstory like you’ve always played the part
You’re running over lines like you’re speaking from the heart

Admittedly, I first chose this song based on the title alone. Hey, I’m in Tourist mode! I’m still kind of kicking myself that I didn’t catch these guys when they were at Casbah in the fall. With each member holding it down on more than one instrument, I can just imagine how much fun they would be to watch live and I can totally see wanting to jump up onstage and join them.

Ed Sheeran – “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You” [Listen]
I won’t stay put, give me the chance to be free
I’m just a tad smitten with this British singer-songwriter. I first caught him performing at this year’s BRIT Awards (on the telly, of course) and YouTubed up a storm immediately after to discover more of his music. I love everything I’ve heard from him; his songs are gorgeous and heart-wrenching. Although I absolutely love his slower, acoustic tunes, when I heard this track, it was such an unexpected banger! Such a good groove as Ed beat boxes and raps, switching up his sound. It’s his declaration about maintaining his integrity in an often fickle and superficial music business. The chorus itself translates to any situation where you need to stand your ground and keep your head up as you remember, “You need me, man, I don’t need you.”

AdRock Acoustic – “This Is How We Are” [Listen]
It’s just you that I’m missing…
I was really feeling the smooth reggae-acoustic sounds of AdRock when I first caught him play at Xo.Ex.Oh’s EP Release in August, and he has stayed on my radar ever since. The local musician prefaced this song by saying it’s about long distance relationships, but I find this song to be relatable beyond that; sometimes there are relationships in your life that are hard to pin down and you both just know, hey, this is how we are.

Adele – “Rumour Has It” [Listen]
She is a stranger
You and I have history
Or don’t you remember?

This song has been my JAM since the minute I first spun 21. As much as I love Adele’s soaring ballads, I also can’t get enough of the stomping, sassy anthems like this one. This track gives me the moxie I need to conquer the day. Plus, it triggers some inspired dance moves. But you don’t need to see that.

Amberley B. – “I Won’t Be”
I won’t be this way forever
But you will never change
So this is how we’ll stay

Still one of my favourite Hamilton singer-songwriters, I love Amberley! I can’t get over her voice every time I see her play live; her vocals are so strong. This last track off her debut solo album, Paper Dolls, is so heartfelt, like all of her songs, but there is something about the raw, honest emotion of this song that really resonates as she strums furiously away on the guitar.

Glee Cast – “We Are Young” (fun. cover) [Listen]
Give me a second, I, I need to get my story straight
I think it’s safe to assume there will be a Glee song on every Playlist of mine. fun. are having quite the run with this song, but I’m going with the Glee version because I love the added dimension of the group vocals and the trade-offs between the different characters. I love Lea Michele and Naya Rivera’s voices on the song, Dianna Agron’s soft “Carry me home tonight,” and Amber Riley’s soaring vocals towards the end. The song becomes fuller and more dynamic, suiting the already pulsating drum beat.

Matt Paxton – “Shore Pine Walk” [Listen]
Whistle as the ocean sweet talks you back home
I first heard Matt Paxton’s music back in 2009, with the release of his album Back Home in the Village. I was impressed with his voice and became a fan of his folk tunes right away. I was pleased to hear his newest single; the song is simply gorgeous and feels cinematic to me, like it could score its own film. When that outro kicks in – gets me every time. Yet another example of the incredible singer-songwriters in Hamilton, I look forward to seeing Matt play again.

Talk In Blue – “Stop Believing in Time” [Listen]
Within myself, without knowing it
I close my eyes, hit rewind
Watch it all just reverse

The rich harmonies and layered instrumentation of this St. Catharines folk-rock quintet set them apart from other bands. Their music has an effortless, floating quality, and this song is particularly dream-like and transcendent. The song title alone grabbed me and holds a lot of meaning, as I often think about the concept of time. It’s the perfect way to drift off and end my Playlist.

– Kristin

Kristin Archer is the creator of I Heart Hamilton (, where she has blogged about experiences around her hometown since 2011, growing a social media presence along the way. Encouraging locals to “be a tourist in your own city,” she promotes arts and culture across her various social media platforms, blog, and weekly radio show on 93.3 CFMU.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *