The best new music of the week: Adele, Blue Rodeo, Vanessa Carlton and more

By Nicholas Jennings

As music columnist for, each week I’ll bring you my selections for the best and most notable new music, albums you’re going to want to add to your collection plus a five-song playlist to try out. Happy listening!

Scroll down for playlist…


Blue Rodeo Live at Massey Hall
The beloved band has graced many stages across Canada, but none as special as this iconic hometown venue. Recorded during the group’s 2014 In Our Nature tour, this superb souvenir for fans features 14 classic songs, including “Bad Timing,” “Diamond Mine” and “Five Days in May” as well as such In Our Nature selections as “New Morning Sun.” Best of all is the anthemic “Lost Together,” in which Blue Rodeo is joined by Devin Cuddy (Blue Rodeo frontman Jim’s son) and his band for a rousing closer.

Vanessa Carlton Liberman
On her fifth full-length release, the “A Thousand Miles” singer serves up 10 songs that show clear signs of a maturing sound. The Pennsylvania native, who recently married John McCauley in a ceremony officiated by Stevie Nicks and then had a baby with the Deer Tick frontman, offers compelling rhythms and alternately sweet and haunting melodies on songs like opener “Take It Easy” and “Nothing Where Something Used to Be.” Her voice has also taken on a more grown-up tone, especially on dreamy numbers like “Willows” and “House of Seven Swords.”


Elvis Presley with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra If I Can Dream
Aside from the added backing of strings and brass, the King of Rock & Roll is joined in virtual duets by Italian operatic pop trio Il Volo on “It’s Now or Never” and Michael Bublé on “Fever.”

Jana Kramer Thirty One
The country singer boldly tells her ex she ain’t coming back on banjo tune “Boomerang” and, with help from Aerosmith’s Steve Tyler, celebrates her new freedom on the rocker “Bullet.”


Justin Bieber was the surprise big winner at this year’s MTV Europe Music Awards, snagging five statues including best male performer, best collaboration and best look (in his acceptance speech, Justin credited his “mama” for his looks). Taylor Swift, who led all artists at the Milan, Italy event with nine nominations, came up with just one coup: best song for “Bad Blood.” Co-hosted by Ed Sheeran and Ruby Rose, the awards saw Rihanna take best female, Nicki Minaj for best hip hop and One Direction for best pop group. Aside from Ed and Justin, performers included Pharrell (looking like Casey Jones in his railway cap and overalls), Ellie Goulding and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. But it was Tori Kelly who stole the show with a knockout performance of her hit “Should’ve Been Us.”


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