Folks may remember Alexis Normand as Rosie & the Riveters’ guitar player. The folk/pop trio parted ways in 2020 and Normand has since become an award-winning documentary filmmaker (French Enough). She also recorded an album with James Bunton (Donovan Woods, Vivek Shraya). You can catch her album-release show for Mementos at the Bassment on Sept. 15. /Gregory Beatty

“Yellow Submarine”
The Beatles, Yellow Submarine (1969)

I was 15 when I dug out my dad’s guitar, found a box of old music books, chose the song that had the fewest chords and taught myself how to play it. “Yellow Submarine” was the first song in my repertoire, and after learning all the tunes I knew in that book I started to write my own. YouTube

“Both Sides Now”
Joni Mitchell, Clouds (1969)

Joni Mitchell is right up there with Buffy Sainte-Marie on my list of influences. If this song plays on the radio, I’ll drive around the block until it’s done. I’d love to have written a powerful song like this at the age of 23! YouTube

“Sir Duke”
Stevie Wonder, Songs in the Key of Life (1976)

Stevie Wonder is one of my musical heroes for his grooves, the instrumentation of his songs, his writing and performing. I had this song on repeat in the car during a solo tour a number of years ago and succeeded in my goal of learning how to sing the horn parts (it’s harder than it sounds!). YouTube

“I Lost My Baby”
Jean Leloup, Le Dôme (1996)

Since I attended a francophone high school we weren’t allowed to listen to music in English in the student lounge. However, we were allowed to listen to this bilingual song which ended up being my gateway to discovering all kinds of music in French that I love. YouTube

“Pin It Down”
Madison Cunningham, Who Are You Now (2019)

I’ve got a musician crush on Madison Cunningham’s playing. Her guitar parts are complex and her melodies are beautifully unexpected. Learning her tunes requires a pat-your-head-while-rubbing-your-tummy approach. Of course, Madison’s got great feel and makes it all look so easy. YouTube

“Margaret’s Waltz”
Connie Kaldor, Wood River (2010)

My mom is probably one of Connie’s biggest fans and has been for years. Neither of us would have guessed that I would end up marrying Connie’s nephew. The first dance at our wedding was to this song — and I’m pretty sure my mom was more excited to hear Connie perform it! YouTube