Keep it together


“I was born 34 years ago in Oxford, Mississippi, to a sawmill father and a church piano playing mother. One taught me how to work and the other how to sing, and I try to do both as much as possible. Maybe the work isn’t as backbreaking as it was for me when I was younger and maybe the songs have changed, but I learned a lot in those day about what it takes to keep going, to not give up. I learned how to sing when my soul was down. Now I find that I just can’t quit. […] A little road worn and down, I took some time off in 2009 and 2010 and finished up a college degree I had long put aside. I read as many books as I could get my hands on. I took some poetry and fiction classes, trying to learn to write better. […]

I feel very fortunate. I don’t have to work at the sawmill anymore with my dad when I’m not on tour. My back doesn’t hurt like it used to. The lights are on and I had a decent lunch before writing this. I have learned to find the joy in these small things. I have learned to do what I have to in order to keep my energy up, because I love what I do and I want to keep doing it for as long as I can.”

Andrew Bryant, October 2, 2014

Note to Self: How good is he?!


Please

Ray Lamontagne permitted 16-year old Sawyer Fredericks to sing his unreleased song “Please” as his original single for the final of The Voice 2015.  Frederick won the competition, and wow, what talent (despite needing a haircut).

And if you are a purist (I am)…Here’s Ray’s version:

Wheels take me, anyplace today


Kaleo is an Icelandic indie pop / rock / folk band established in 2012 and their first major public appearance Iceland. Firmly a phenomenon in their home country of Iceland, the four-piece band Kaleo is set to descend upon foreign shores in 2015, bringing their gorgeous blend of folk, blues, country, and rock to a wider mainstream audience in America. Best friends since attending elementary school in the small town outside of Reykjavik, the band began playing together at the age of 17. They named the band Kaleo, which means “the sound” in Hawaiian.  Kaleo has since moved to Austin, TX. (Source: officialkaleo.com)


[…]You and me together riding into the sun 
Live without care, with the wind in my hair 
Driving through the desert, yeah I’ll go anywhere 
Take me where the wheels take me, far away 
Wheels take me, I can’t stay 
Wheels take, any place today 
Imagine myself in an automobile 
a hundred miles an hour if you know how I feel. 
Alone with my mind, leave my worries behind 
I might even reach the border, it’s just a matter of time 
I said take me where the wheels take me, far away. 
Wheels take me, can’t stay. 
Wheels take me, any place today. 
Ohh I’m going to San Diego, here I come. 
San Fransisco, it won’t be long. 
Sacramento, yeah in the sun. I just might go 
I said I’m going to San Diego and San Jose 
San Francisco and hang by the bay 
Sacramento, yeah all the way I just might go 
all the way to Mexico oho 
I just might go all the way down to Mexico.

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.