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Recommended: Louie Gonnie, Jonny Lipford and Blackfire

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Louie Gonnie, Breathe Deep the Dusk Fall: Songs of the Native American Church

Canyon Records

With Breathe Deep the Dusk Fall, Louie Gonnie (Zuni) turns in an exceptional set of Native American church songs, which are generally accompanied with a peyote water drum and gourd rattle to facilitate prayer, relaxation or a meditative state. With supporting vocalist and drummer Branson Gorman (Dine’ Bítahnii), Gonnie embarks on a thematic journey through the night; the first track, "Ending of Another Day" sets the mood with strong druming, hypnotic rattle, deep breaths and ghost-like chants. Gonnie sings additional songs to honor the dusk, the stars the moon and the constellation Orion. He ends the album recognizing a new day, with the final track, "Transcendence and the Dawn." In the liner notes, Gonnie describes “the evening sky, a palette so vivid and pristine [that] anchors your soul to Mother Earth”—if we can assume it's his mission to capture these ideas in music, he has succeeded.

An Independent gem:

Jonny Lipford, A Breeze at 72 Degrees: Hybrid Instrumental Native American Flute Music

A self-proclaimed “hard-working farm boy,” Lipford shows amazing prowess with the Native American Flute. On 72 Degrees, he's accompanied by a range of other instruments to create a gentle yet upbeat tempo throughout; the result is an impressive balance of the traditional and the contemporary. It's no wonder Lipford’s performance schedule is full. Album available at

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Blackfire, [Silence] is a Weapon

The late Joey Ramone, one of the godfathers of punk, certified Blackfire as “fireball punk rock”; if you didn't get this 2008 Nammy winner there's no time like the present. The beauty of [Silence] is a Weapon is that it is a two-album set: One disc is electrically charged punk rock in the Ramones and Rancid mode, with lyrics that scream for Indian justice; the other disc consists of traditional Dine’ native songs. Recorded in Durango, Colorado and produced Ed Stasium (who produced the Talking Heads, the Smithereens and, yes, the Ramones). [Silence] is a Weapon is available at at CDBaby.