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Suzanne Langille With Loren MazzaCane Connors

Suzanne Langille and Loren MazzaCane Connors's almost unspeakably sad and beautiful modern folk music is (unfortunately) one of independent music's best kept secrets. Since they met and married in the mid-'80s, the duo have been exploring an idiosyncratic, starkly beautiful, devastatingly emotional sound that draws from numerous musical idioms -- especially gospel, blues, folk, and country -- in a startlingly original way. You'd be hard-pressed to find anybody making music today who can reach so deep into the hidden reservoirs of nostalgic melancholy we all carry around inside us. Connors's bendy, tremulous guitar parts flow like rivers of pain, bright and shimmering in the last light of day. Langille's lovely alto, dusky and mature, sags a little beneath the weight of life's accumulated burdens while remaining upright and resolute, drifting through each song with a kind of weary grace. The pair's music is meant for late night, solitary listening, for moments of intense introspection; it has an almost meditative quality. So pure is the emotional content of Langille and Connors's work, so free is it from affect and posturing, that it has an almost cathartic quality, an ability to cleanse its listeners with the sheer intensity of its sorrowful beauty.

While Langille leant vocals to several of Connors's solo efforts, she didn't record an album of her own until 1999. The Enchanted Forest, which features only Langille and Connors, is a kind of concept album based the 1945 John Lebar film of the same name. On it, Langille tells the story of a forest's imminent demise through six different characters' voices. "The Escape" and "Closing" both come from that release.

The same year Langille collaborated with Connors as well as Andrew Burnes and David Daniell of the Atlanta group San Agustin on Let the Darkness Fall, a dark gorgeous affair that manages to be as sensual as it is mournful.

In 2000, Langille and Connors released the simply titled 1987-1989, a collection of eight blues and gospel standards the couple recorded back in the late '80s. Langille and Connors's reinterpretations of them are divinely weary, with a delicate fragility that makes them feel very precious. The traditionals "Motherless Child" and "Horses Blues" both come from that album. Beautiful, beautiful stuff.