Here’s a holiday gift idea for the music fan in your life. Buy local music! “Six Picks Local Music, Holiday edition” includes some of our favorite new releases from RI-based artists, plus a few honorable mentions. Tell us your favorites in comments below.

Various Artists – Fire Escape

Want to get to know some of RI’s best bands? Have we got a compilation for you! Just released, Fire Escape (from local label 75 or Less Records) is a compilation of rock and alt-rock covers. The collection provides a great way to listen to two dozen local artists. My favorites, a bedraggled punk-influenced “Baby Blue” from Greg Bass, a lo-fi take on John Cale’s “Amsterdam” by Nerve Pill (Bob Kendall), a killer “Bite it You Scum” from Drunk Robb, an avant-pop take of Randy Newman’s “Political Science” from Pacing, and a desperate cowbell-centric take on “Mississippi Queen” from the Matt Fraza Band.

Mark Cutler – Side Effects

Mark Cutler is a genuine Rhode Island music legend. He’s the leader of RI Music Hall of Fame inducted bands The Schemers and The Rain Dogs and currently fronts Men of Great Courage. Lately, he’s been releasing Americana-influenced songs that indeed tell the stories of men and women of great courage. Check out his latest album, Side Effects, just released on Bandcamp and look for him playing live most weekends at various haunts around the region including a year-end gig at Chan’s on December 30.

GA-20 –  Crackdown

Bet you didn’t know that a Rhode Island band had an album on the top of the charts for several weeks this Fall? Released in September, Crackdown is the Chicago blues-inspired release from Providence-based power trio GA-20. The band is on a roll, appearing on magazine covers, recording new music, and touring endlessly. Rock and blues fans will enjoy the album, available in several formats including vinyl.

Helen and the Trash Pandas

One of the best local releases this year comes from Worcester/Providence-based Helen and the Trash Pandas. More than I care to confess is a roots-rock album featuring robust songwriting, rugged harmonies, and some classic roadhouse guitar riffs behind Sheldon’s take-no-prisoners rock and roll attitude. It’s available for download on Bandcamp.

Ryan Lee Crosby – Winter Hill Blues

Delta Blues-influenced guitarist Ryan Lee Crosby has put together his finest release yet. Fans of the Black Keys and GA-20 (above) will want to check out Winter Hill Blues. The album is a nice mix of acoustic and electric blues featuring Crosby on 6 and 12 string guitar with support from George Sluppick on drums and percussion and Mark Edgar Stuart on bass. Turn “I’m Leaving” up to 10 and head out on the open road to see what we mean!

Jake Hunsinger – Wrapped Around the Axle

If you enjoy an updated trad county sound, Providence-based singer-songwriter belongs on your playlist. His new album Wrapped Around the Axle features his astute songwriting and deep throated vocals, as good as anything you’ll hear on Outlaw Country radio.  Check out “Wild Horses of Wyoming” to see what I mean.

More new local music to check out this holiday season:

Allysen Callery – Ghost Folk

Bill Bartholomew – beij

Dust Ruffles – Innocent Filth

Andrew Potter – I Haunt My Own House.

Rivers Between – Other Likely Stories.

Ben Shaw –

Andy Lampert – Not Just Today.

Autumn Hollow – The Dolphin.

Salem Wolves – Hostile Music.

Elevator Tribe – Harmonia.

Caleb Ezra Poirier – The Smoke Breaks

Cody Nilsen – Living is Killing –

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Ken Abrams

Lifestyle Editor Ken Abrams writes about music, the arts and more for What'sUpNewp. He is also a contributor to Providence Monthly, SO RI, Hey Rhody and The Bay magazines. Ken DJ's "The Kingston Coffeehouse,"...