Shannon is the executive director of the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival. With the festival’s ticketed shows running July 6–9 in Victoria Park, we asked her to pick a song each from six artists on the four-night bill that are special to her. /Gregory Beatty

The Beaches

“Blame Brett”

The Beaches, Blame Brett (2023)

“Blame Brett” is a song that will live in your head rent-free, both because of its infectious hook and the fact you’ll wonder, “Who is Brett, and has he left his house since this song came out?” [July 6] YouTube

“Dark Horse”
Amanda Marshall, self-titled (1995)

My Mom watched Rosie O’Donnell a lot when I was a kid, and I remember Elton John giving this song a shout out on the show. We actually had the record, and “Dark Horse” was my favourite song on it. While the song didn’t do quite as well as Sir Elton predicted, its sweepingly romantic lyrics in Marshall’s epic voice makes it a classic. [July 6] YouTube

“Maggie’s Hardware Store”
Devin Cuddy Band, Amy’s Dream (2018)

This song reminds me of my dad. He’s never owned a hardware store (he’s a retired veterinarian who now teaches wine appreciation), but he’s the kind of guy who goes to a Paul McCartney concert to hear “Junior’s Farm”. It’s odd, but you find lots of great B-sides and deep cuts hanging around him. “Maggie’s Hardware Store” feels like it would be in his wheelhouse. [July 7] YouTube

“Touching Heaven”
Johnnyswim, Georgica Pond (2016)

This song is a love letter to the overwhelming experience of parenthood.  And as a not overly religious person, the lyric “You’re my Hallelujah” as a descriptor for parental love strikes a deep chord. Hang around the festival office long enough, and you’re sure to meet my two kids. Our marketing and comms coordinator even calls my office “The Family Fun Zone”. [July 8] YouTube

“The Last Dance”
St. Paul & The Broken Bones, The Alien Coast (2022)

Lots of people can sing. No one can sing like Paul Janeway. “The Last Dance” is an exercise in range, precision and groove that’s as satisfying as it is energizing. I’ve had folks tell me they’ve waited a decade for us to bring these guys to the festival. “The Last Dance” explains why they’re worth the wait. [July 8] YouTube

“That’s How Rumors Get Started”
Margo Price, That’s How Rumors Get Started (2020)

There’s something about Margo Price’s voice on this track that is part Stevie Nicks and part Dolly Parton, and like both of those women Price is a generational talent. Lyrical, tough, insightful, edgy, and ethereal are all words that describe her one-in-a-million sound. Don’t miss this one. [July 9] YouTube