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BBC, NPR and CBC: songs you need to hear this week from Andrew Combs, Bearcubs and Faith Healer

Holly Gordon

Each week at CBC Music, our staff pick a list of songs you need to hear, writing passionate words with the hopes that you’ll add said artist to your playlist. This week, we’re starting something different.

NPR MusicBBC Radio 1 and CBC Music have partnered to give an international voice to Songs You Need to Hear. The last week of each month, a host from each public broadcaster will choose a song from an artist that you need to hear.

In this inaugural edition, NPR Music’s Ann Powers, BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens and our own Grant Lawrence make a case for three artists who should be on your radar. To hear their voices make the case, tune in to Radio 2 Drive at 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 24.

Host: Ann Powers, music critic at NPR Music
Song you need to hear: "Nothing to Lose," Andrew Combs

When 28-year-old Texas native Combs first surfaced in Nashville a few years ago, his highly melodic, moody songs earned him some lofty comparisons: people talked about Townes Van Zandt and Mickey Newbury. On his second album, Combs honours those heroes and the moment of their flowering, when country craftsmanship met folk storytelling and the sweet flash of post-Gram Parsons pastoral rock. Combs's voice is so evocative on his new album, All These Dreams, and the settings he creates with his collaborators (led by the outstanding guitar duo Steelism) are so rich, it's a damn good thing his lyrics live up to the presentation. This might be the Americana album of 2015.

All These Dreams will be out on March 3.

Host: Huw Stephens, BBC Radio 1
Song you need to hear: "Touch," Bearcubs

We’ve had all sorts of great artists break through from BBC Introducing over the years, with some of the bigger names you might know including Jake Bugg and Florence & the Machine. I’m going to give you a new hot tip from one of the BBC Introducing artists that we’re digging at the moment. Bearcubs is 23-year-old Jack Ritchie, who brings an eclectic blend of electronic genres to the table. His latest single was written, performed and produced single-handedly, and sees this young artist putting his time studying digital music and sound arts at university to superb use.

For fans of Tourist and Flume.

Host: Grant Lawrence, CBC Music
Song you need to hear: "Again," Faith Healer

My song choice comes from a brand new artist out of Edmonton called Faith Healer. It’s the bedroom musical project of young Jessica Jalbert, and when I say bedroom, I’m not kidding. The album was made in the producer’s parents’ basement over a series of Tuesdays because that’s the only day that both producer and musician had off from their day jobs at the same record store.

And this song kind of feels like a timeless indie-pop gem that you would unearth from a used record store. Is it 1965, ’95 or 2015? It’s a brand new song that builds beautifully and melodically into something special.

Listen to Ann Powers, Huw Stephens and Grant Lawrence on Radio 2 Drive for the radio version of Songs You Need to Hear at 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 24. Tune in online here.

Find me on Twitter: @hollygowritely