5J Barrow: Lullaby


“The Brooklyn, NY rockers boarded the stage with a full band, including a violin and mandolin — but despite their earthy, folk rock genre, 5j Barrow had the stage floor shaking with every jump and stomp. The Manhattan-based band advanced through several rounds of competition before taking the final crown in our 2014 Ultimate Battle of the Boroughs last June. They won over the judges and voters in our citywide talent quest with their eclectic sound and theatrical stage presence.”

Liked this? Check out 5J Barrow: Specific Sunrise

Official website for 5J Barrow


Cold Specks: Winter Solstice


Jim Fusilli, Cold Speck’s Arresting Mix:

Now 26, she (Ladan Hussein) was born in Etobicoke, Ontario, to parents from Somalia. Calling herself a “typical moribund teenager,” she took up a guitar at age 15. After relocating to London, where her extended family was dubious about her choice of career, Ms. Hussein was playing as Cold Specks at St. Pancras Old Church when a producer from “Later… with Jools Holland” caught her show and invited her on the BBC program. The other guests on the November 2011 broadcast included Mary J. Blige, Florence + the Machine, My Morning Jacket and the Who’s Pete Townshend. At the conclusion of her a cappella version of “Old Stepstone,” the traditional folk ballad, Mr. Holland cheered, “The power of the single human voice!”

On her two albums, including this year’s “Neuroplasticity” (Mute), Cold Specks delivers contemporary rock that either arrives with the confrontational authority of hardcore punk and free jazz or is as contemplative as folk and mellow soul. In concert here last week at the Echo, she and her four-piece band demonstrated how arresting that complex mix can be. In a conversation before her late-night set, Cold Specks—whose real name is Ladan Hussein, though she is also known as Al Spx—was quiet, perhaps even shy, a contrast to her bold, insistent music. “I’m a listener,” she said, “not a talker.” She added that she doesn’t follow modern music and was enjoying the doo-wop a manager put on in the van as they traveled between gigs.

…“I am who I am,” she said earlier during a conversation, a simple remark that later seemed a promise of much more extraordinary music to come.

Find her new album on iTunes here: Neuroplasticity

Find this tune on her 2012 album: I Predict a Graceful Expulsion

Woke Up To The Light


Strand of Oaks is led by singer/songwriter Timothy Showalter. Showalter, 32, was born in Indiana, and currently resides in Philadelphia. His new album HEAL was scheduled for mixing on December 26, 2013. Driving on the freeway on Christmas Day, Showalter and his wife hit a patch of black ice and crashed their car head on into a semi-truck, and were very fortunate to walk away with their lives. Showalter suffered a, “pretty severe,” head trauma, “which affected me much more than I realized at the time.” Fearing delays, Showalter, the mixing session went ahead. “Being on the verge of death, and my thoughts being so closely tied to that, changed the album’s direction,” Showalter claims. “Together, we pushed it toward a much more cathartic sound that forces the listener to where I was at that exact moment, somewhere between almost dying and being absolutely fearless.” (Learn more about the artist at Strand of Oaks)

I woke up to the light, you woke up to my hand
Reachin’ for the night we ran
If the morning comes, I will still be here
Holding all the lines of the field

Save the dawn light shine
Save the moon, save the night
And I call you by name I call you here
In the distance we will find,
Heaven lies in waiting
And keep the light on for me
Keep the light on for me

We woke up to the light, and felt no warmth behind


Find this tune and the new June, 2014 Album on iTunes: Heal

Let it Go


James Bay, 22, is from Hitchin, UK.  He brings his twist to the music of his heroes Carole King, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Jackson Browne and James Taylor. Bay’s 2013 debut album: The Dark of the Morning. Bay’s Website: JamesBayMusic.com for Bio. Interview with James Bay: NoiseTrade


Related Post: James Bay: Move Together.

Thank you Rachel.

Crystalline


Ruu Campbell is a British singer-songwriter from Shropshire, England. His music has been compared to Bon Iver and James Vincent McMorrow. (Although, I think he sounds more like Nick Drake.) Campbell’s songs “The Call”, “Crossroads” and Mathereal were featured on Parenthood in 2012.

His new album was released on June, 2014 and can be found on iTunes here: Heartsong.

Ruu Campbell’s website: ruucampbell.com


Whispers


Mike Rosenberg, 29, was born in Brighton, England.  He is better known by his stage name Passenger, is an English folk-rock singer-songwriter. Rosenberg learned classical guitar when he was young: ” My parents were really encouraging about music so that sort of started the path. When I was about 14-15, I started to write songs, which were absolutely dreadful. But as I kept going the songs became better and better – it was just so bloody obvious that this was what I wanted to do. I never really applied myself in school and music was the only thing I wanted to spend my time doing…I’m heavily influenced by Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, and Neil Young although I’m nowhere near as good as those guys!”

Song on Whispers Album on iTunes


(Source: Wiki & Vancouver Weekly: Who is Mike Rosenberg?)

Noah & Abby Gundersen


Noah Gundersen, 25, is an American singer-songwriter from Seattle, Washington.  Gundersen began playing music when he was 10 or 11 years old when his parents had him take piano lessons. In 2002, he inherited his first guitar from his father and taught himself to play the guitar and recorded songs with his father’s recording equipment. Three years later, his birthday gift was an acoustic guitar with which he still performs with today. Around the age of 16, Gundersen was performing solo in local cafes. His sister Abby began to accompany him with violin and harmonies in 2006. 

Find this tune on iTunes on his album Ledges.


Do You Feel


José James, 36, is a singer songwriter from Minneapolis, and is best known for performing and blending modern jazz and hip-hop. James joined the Blue Note roster in 2013 when he released his breakout album No Beginning No End to wide acclaim. With its irrepressible lead single “Trouble,” the album release found José making national TV appearances on ConanLate Show With David Letterman, andTonight Show With Jay Leno.

The New York Times praised his “cool and confident” album, adding that it “sounds like the result of the black-pop continuum, jazz and soul and hip-hop and R&B, slow-cooked for more than 50 years.” NPR Music raved that “James makes utterly contemporary music,” noting that he “skirts categories with ease, fitting in with current R&B innovators like Frank Ocean or Miguel, yet maintaining a strong awareness of a lineage that stretches from Ray Charles to Marvin Gaye to Lou Rawls to Maxwell.”

Find this tune on his 2013 Album titled: No Beginning No End

José James official site and his full bio can be found at: josejamesmusic.com


Let Me Comfort You


Erick Baker, 35, is a singer-songwriter from Knoxville, Tennessee. He didn’t sing or write songs until he enrolled at the University of Tennessee. Baker had picked up the guitar during his college days and played occasionally at parties for fun, by his own admission in hopes of meeting women. While doing a set at an open-mike night in Knoxville, Baker was spotted by a local promoter who gave him a spot opening a show for John Legend and soon buzz about Baker began to spread. He has performed with national acts, including rock musician James Blunt, alternative country musician Brandi Carlile, pop-rock musician Gavin DeGraw, the rock band Goo Goo Dolls, the rock band Heart, R&B artist John Legend.

My songs belong to every right turn and wrong turn that have led me here,” Baker says.  “They reflect the pieces of poetry hidden in the experiences that lie in each of our everyday lives.

Find this tune on iTunes: Erik Baker: Live At The Bijou Theatre

If you liked this, don’t miss: Erick Baker – Stay Awhile


Credits:


George Ezra


George Ezra (born George Ezra Barnett), 21, is a British singer songwriter. His debut studio album Wanted on Voyage will be released on 30 June 2014.  Ezra was longlisted for the BBC Sound of…2014, where he eventually finished in fifth place. 

Ezra is the he son of an art teacher and a deputy head. Music trickled down to him via an elder sister, a regular at local venue the Marquee (“She was going out with the promoter”). He made his stage debut at the Marquee as a 13-year-old in a covers band, “singing the female part of Teenage Dirtbag, wearing eyeliner and my sister’s skinny jeans”. When he left school at 16 he took a job in a local sweet factory – “two jellybeans for the box, one for me, all the way.”  Ezra dropped out of college and embarked on a year of support slots, criss-crossing the country by train. Within a year he had a record deal with Columbia. (Source: The Guardian: George Ezra)

Find this song on iTunes on his EP titled Did You Hear The Rain.

His website can be found here: The Official George Ezra website