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?!

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:

[…]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.

Jacob Banks

Jacob Banks is a 21-year old British singer-songwriter from Birmingham, England. His music is influenced by a range of genres including soul, R&B and hip-hop.

If you liked this tune, don’t miss Jacob Banks performing Unknown.

Annie (and Hozier)

If you missed the 2015 Grammy’s and missed the performance by Hozier & Annie Lennox, here it is. Fantastic…

Thank you Rachel

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


Eric Lewis, 41, who is better known by his stage name ELEW, is an American jazz pianist who has found crossover success playing rock and pop music. He was born in Camden, NJ. He is known for his unconventional and physical playing style, which eschews a piano bench and includes reaching inside the piano lid to pull at the strings directly, as well as the creation that he calls Rockjazz, a genre that “takes the improvisational aspect of jazz and ‘threads it through the eye of the needle of rock.'”

Lewis began his career as a jazz purist, playing as a sideman for jazz luminaries like Wynton Marsalis, Cassandra Wilson, Elvin Jones, Jon Hendricks, and Roy Hargrove as well as performing as a member of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. However, he eventually became interested in rock music and embarked on a solo career as a crossover musician, quickly gaining recognition for his instrumental “Rockjazz” piano covers of mainstream rock hits like The Rolling Stones’ “Paint It, Black” and The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside”.

He released his albums of instrumental covers which can be found on iTunes here: ELEW Rockjazz Vol. 1 (2010, including “Sweet Home Alabama”) and ELEW Rockjazz Vol. 2 (2012, including this tune “Thanksgiving“)

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

Put it back. Put it back.


By the toe of my boot,
a pebble of quartz,
one drop of the earth’s milk,
dirty and cold.
I held it to the light
and could almost see through it
into the grand explanation.
Put it back, something told me,
put it back and keep walking.

~ Ted Kooser, “On the Road.” Delights & Shadows

 Image Source: Rockpiles


Fink: Looking too Closely

Fink, aka Fin Greenall, is a singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer and DJ.  He was born in 1972 in Cornwall, grew up in Bristol and is currently based in Brighton, UK.  His mother worked in the field of classical music and his father was a folk musician. Fin can recall “the one thing of his dad’s that Fin Greenall wasn’t allowed to touch was the old Martin acoustic guitar.” In an interview, Greenall remembers “It was his one possession where he said, ‘everything in this house is owned by everybody – apart from that.'” Their presence had an impact on his future in music. “The great thing about growing up in a house where music is a big factor… was the fact that music being part of your life was a perfectly natural thing.”

Find this tune and his 2014 album on iTunes here: Hard Believer

Related Posts: Fink: This is the Thing and Perfect Darkness