Top Tunes ’19: Emily Votaw

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Every year WOUB Culture spotlights what music-centric folks in the region have been listening to all year round right in time for the holidays in our annual Top Tunes feature. 

Emily Votaw with the Wastemen during their Radio A Session.

Emily Votaw has been the arts and culture editor for WOUB Public Media since 2016.

These are my favorites from the past year — some of them contemporary, some not so much.

Cutler StationCutler Station

In early January I received an email from my colleague Bryan Gibson (WOUB’s FM music director), entitled CUTLER STATION PLEASE FWD To Bryan Gibson and Rusty Smith; in it Bryan wrote to me “I’m going to spin some of this band’s songs on Crossing Boundaries, but forwarding in case you want to do an article.” Obviously Bryan has incredible taste, and it wasn’t every day that he recommended I look into music that was forwarded to him.

At the time, my colleague Adam Rich and I had just started producing our Radio A Sessions — and I was scrambling to find bands that would allow us to experiment with the content formula, which was loosely based on NPR’s Tiny Desk Sessions. I listened to Cutler Station’s self titled record (read my review here) and I was blown away by two things: the band’s precise, oddball energy (which felt a little R.E.M., and lyrically a little Appalachian David Bryne,) as well as the impressive tenacity of the band in general. To be blunt, their energy reminded me a little of my own as a journalist: a naturally high-strung person who far prefers writing to talking; but who had managed to wedge herself into a solid professional position that demands ample talking (and more than a little writing,) mostly by sheer determination and ambition.

Similarly, Cutler Station are a group of family men who love music, seemingly almost as much as they love their families — and I think that thanks to that love and ambitious energy, it’s safe to say that Cutler Station is just opening for business.

The band recorded what was to be our first real Radio A Session, and I’m truly psyched to have them star in a video edition next year.

I don’t refer to just anyone as “my boys” in sincerity, but Cutler Station surely are, truly, my boys.

Favorite tracks: “Catacombs,” “Death From Above,” “Appalachian Highway,” “World Wide Hum”



Favorite tracks: “Fallacy,” “Choke Me Out”


Haruomi HosonoHochono House

Favorite tracks: “住所不定無職低収入,” “相合傘,” “冬越え”

Ana Frango ElétricoLittle Electric Chicken Heart

Favorite Tracks: “Saudade,” “Tem certeza?” “Torturadores”


Alex CameronMiami Memory

Favorite Tracks: “Miami Memory,” “Gaslight,” “Far From Born Again”


Judee SillHeart Food

Favorite Tracks: “There’s a Rugged Road,” “Down Where the Valleys are Low”


Mac DeMarcoOld Dog Demos

Favorite Tracks: “Jimsy,” “A Wolf Who Wears Sheep’s Clothes”


Orville PeckPony

Favorite Tracks: “Turn to Hate,” “Take You Back (The Iron Hoof Cattle Call),” “Roses Are Falling”


LizzoCuz I Love You

Favorite Tracks: “Truth Hurts,” “Boys,” “Tempo”


Weyes BloodTitanic Rising

Favorite Tracks: “Everyday,” “Something to Believe,” “Wild Time”


Jai Paul – Leak 04-13 (Bait Ones)

(You can find it streaming on Spotify. You don’t have to risk your laptop like I did when I downloaded these in April 2013 when I was living in New York City, but these sound just as insane and great as ever, and now I don’t have to depend on a scratchy, burnt CD to hear ’em.)

Favorite Tracks: “02,” “09,” 14/15″


Snakefinger – Snakefinger’s History of the Blues

Favorite Tracks: “Creeper Blues,” “You Can’t Get the Stuff No More,” “36-22-36”

Some favorite singles: