Friday, December 24, 2010

Not Your Mother's Chrismas Album - Music City Unsigned

Not a Christmas goes by in my house where Nat King Cole's buttery voice isn't heard down the halls. But with the Christmas classics I like to add in a little of the new, especially from many of the great artists featured here. Music City Unsigned has a love for those same artist and has released their first album. Music City Unsigned Family Christmas is a great collection of Christmas tunes from the burgeoning Nashville artists. The album includes music from Amy Stroup, Jenny & Tyler, Andy Osenga and Daniel Ellsworth who have all been featured here as well as many other great Nashville artists.

On this Christmas Eve add a little new music to your Christmas music playlist with this great holiday mix. Merry Christmas everyone!

Buy the album here: http://musiccityunsigned.bigcartel.com/

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Playlist 2010 Is Here!

It's that time again! It's Christmas and the season is in full swing. I've already been in a snow storm, built my first snow man, put up our Christmas tree and been to two holiday parties... and it's only December 7th! This is always a busy season for everyone but I hope you all can take time to make a cup of hot cocoa, sit on the couch by your Christmas tree with someone you love and turn on the holiday tunes. I may not be able to help you with most of these things but I can give you some great holiday music to listen to. Remember that this time is about the gift of love and grace that we have received and should pass on to our family and friends. Many blessings to all of you this Christmas!! Also if you are looking for some new Christmas albums to buy this year I would highly recommend the new Dave Barnes and Uncle Daddy records released just a few weeks ago! Also you can download free Christmas songs from The Civil Wars HERE. Merry Christmas! Stay tuned for my favorite albums of 2010!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Coldplay - Christmas Lights

I just love Christmas time. Last night my roommates and two of our good guy friends went to buy a Christmas tree. After 3 tree lots we finally found the perfect one. It was all tied up and I just had a feeling that it was our tree. "Open that one" I told our helper and as the branches were released from the twine I knew it was the one. We all agreed and now its in our apartment all decorated and so pretty. I just love Christmas time! I especially love new Christmas songs. Here is one just released by Coldplay titled, "Christmas Lights". (Please note the violin playing Elvis trio. My favorite part)



You can find the song on iTunes here: www.iTunes.com/Coldplay

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I Hope This Gets To You - The Daylights

I'm a hopeless romantic. I cry at weddings, sobbed at the end of The Notebook and love Jane Austin love stories. So its no surprise that the hopeless romantic in me is swooning at this video. Using The Daylight's new holiday song, "I Hope This Gets To You" this guy created a video that would hopefully go viral and get to his girlfriend away at school without sending it to her directly. With 20,000 youtube views in one day I'm sure it has. Good man... Full feature on The Daylights to come! You can buy the new single on iTunes.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Take a stroll with The Civil Wars - Music Video

I know I know, I love The Civil Wars and I'm not afraid to say it. Now I want to go on a walk with Joy and John!

The Civil Wars - Forget me not from Green Block on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Ting Tings - That's Not My Name

I dare you to not do the little shoulder dance in your chair at work to this (err.. I mean at home because you are not checking out music blogs at work. Unless of course you work in music. Woop!) The Ting Tings are a British indie pop duo and I think they are kind of fabulous. For some reason when I look at them I see musical superheros... Anyone else or am I just weird?




Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Daylights - New Album Out Today!

Ok, everyone. I don't like telling people what to do but I'm telling you all to go now and buy the new album by The Daylights.
Its out today and its really really good.
Also pretty stoked on their event tonight! Good music, good friends, good times. 


Full report on the event to come!!



Sunday, September 12, 2010

Benjamin Winter - 5 Free Songs!

 


Benjamin Winter is a pretty cool guy who hails from my old stomping grounds on the California Central Coast. 
He's making his 5 new tracks free. 
Isn't that nice of him? I think so.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Punch Brothers - Reptilia

Have I mentioned before that I LOVE the Punch Brothers? Well I do. I may have once stalked them at work with my coworker so we could meet them... maybe. I love them so much that I'll be doing a full feature on them soon but I had to share a video I just saw of them covering a Strokes track. They are always brilliant when covering other artists. I heard them live doing a Radiohead tune. Not many can cover Radiohead but they rocked it. Love me some bluegrass!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fitz & The Tantrums - a new favorite

Fitz & The Tantrums just released their new album Pickin' Up The Pieces and it has made it to my list of favorites. Love their retro fabulousness!!




Update!

So I haven't changed my blog name yet but I am making one little change. I'm taking out the Monday. With my currently crazy schedule posting every Monday was a little difficult. So I'm changing the format. I will now basically be posting whatever I want, whenever I want. Sometimes it will be full artist write ups other times it will be little ramblings on music videos and such. I hope you all enjoy the change!!

~Mary

(Image source unknown)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Satellite - Ring The Bells

Sometimes there are songs that hit you like a ton of bricks. Saturday night I heard one of those songs and I wanted to share it. I went to the CD release show for Satellite at Hotel Cafe in Hollywood. I had never heard of this band before but some of my friends are buddies with these guys so we all went out for a night on the town. When the title track of their EP played I almost cried listening to it. It was written after the divorce of one of their closest friends after 10 years. He also wrote a beautiful song for his wife of 6 years during one of their worst years that I had to share as well.



"Well ring the bells that lead you home
Cause the only truth I've ever known
Is that nothing ever hurts us more than love
So circle up your best friends
And we'll celebrate the way it ends
At least we live tonight
At least we live tonight"

Life can hit us hard. Actually life will hit us hard. We all go through rough times and times of loss and tragedy and having best friends to surround you during those times is something I've been incredibly blessed with. So I'm sharing this song for my best friends, you all know who you are. I love you.


If you want to check out this band go to their website here.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Bird and the Bee

A few weeks ago I went to one of my favorite concerts to date. It started out with our featured duo The Bird and the Bee, She & Him and ending with one of my all time favorites, The Swell Season. It was a night at the Hollywood Bowl dedicated to male/female writing duos which I have to say are my favorite. To describe The Swell Season's performance would be impossible except to say I actually cried when they did their Oscar winning hit, "Falling Slowly" which is a first for me. The evening started off well with The Bird and the Bee also known as Inara George and Greg Kurstin. I had heard a few of their songs here and there on soundtracks and such so they were familiar but I had never really delved into their music. Inara, dressed in a fabulous retro, silver dress provides the vocals while Greg produces and backs on the keyboard.

Inara and George met back in 2004 when she was working on her debut solo album. They quickly bonded over a love of jazz standards and soon wrote and recorded their debut EP in 2006 and a full self-titled album in 2007. Greg as a keyboardist and producer has worked everyone from Britney Spears to The Flaming Lips to KeSha. The man has to have some skills, no? With several other EPs under their belt and two recent albums, Ray Guns Are Not Just The Future in January 2009 and Interpreting The Masters Volume 1: A Tribute To Daryl Hall And John Oates in 2010 as well as other individual projects you'd have to say these two are quite the busy pair. Let's also address that Inara just had a baby. (Insert witty joke about the birds and the bees).

As much as I would like it Greg and Inara are not a couple as she is actually married to someone else. That didn't matter to Greg though who brought the baby out of stage for the last song while he played piano with one hand. He was probably just trying to pick up girls. I hear babies work really well for that... I however cannot be fooled! I was slightly jealous though that this child has made it up on stage for a performance at the Hollywood Bowl while I still sit in the audience... I'm working on accepting that.

With a recent performance on Ellen as well as the Tonight Show and Jimmy Kimmel The Bird and the Bee are well on their way to becoming a household name. You can hear their music on Grey's Anatomy, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Sex and the City: The Movie and Funny People.


I hope you have enjoyed this week's feature after my long absence. Be sure to leave your comments below with what your think of their music and make sure to share it with friends if you like it! Happy Monday!


Photo 1 & 3 – by Autumn DeWilde
Live Photo by Gabi Porter

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sneak Peak at Florence + The Machine

Well, its been a crazy few weeks and I've just moved to a new apartment. Boxes are everywhere. We have three sets of silverware and way to many mixing bowls but I'm in love with our new home and am pretty stoked that Peet's Coffee is only two blocks away. In all the chaos and lack of internet my weekly postings have not happened. I hate not posting and I hate not sharing new music with all of you! So until next week when I'll be up and running again here is a little glimpse of a new favorite. If you are a Twilight fan you can hear Florence + The Machine on the new soundtrack and if you love the show So You Think You Can Dance, which I do, then you may recognize this track from an absolutely breath taking contemporary dance performed a few weeks ago. I just downloaded the album Lungs last night off Amazon for only $5.99!! So worth it! Enjoy and I hope to do a full feature on Florence soon!



This video is slightly weird but I love it. Especially all the twinkle lights. She reminds me of a combination of Alison Sudol from A Fine Frenzy and Roisin Murphy. Maybe its the red hair :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes

Well, we are back after a much needed break! It was a little impromptu but hopefully you didn’t miss me too much. It’s great to come back with a great new artist out of Nashville. Daniel Ellsworth brings to the table a jazz performance degree from Belmont University in Nashville as well as classical piano training under his belt. Daniel along with his band The Great Lakes are making some great music with some 70s vibes as well as Daniel’s jazz background with a little folk and pop thrown in.

Daniel’s first release, Between the Sea & The Sun, was a solo album put out in 2006 that features his jazz influenced piano playing. Two years later he was joined by the Great Lakes to release their self-titled album. The album starts off with the track “Electric In Love” which is a fun upbeat love song with one of my favorite lines in a song, “take off your make up because I like what your made of.” What girl doesn’t want to hear that? Daniel comes from a highly musical family where everyone came together singing and playing their instruments on holidays so it may be no surprise to them that Daniel would pursue a career in music.

Daniel Ellsworth & the Great Lakes are working with Brite Revolution and support the Blood: Water Mission which is an organization started by the band Jars of Clay to help fight the AIDS/HIV and water crisis in Africa. If you join Brite Revolution, which you should because its free, you can get some great tracks from Daniel as well as a ton of other great artists and help support some amazing charities. Of course if you like tracks one and three in our player, those were Brite exclusives so join people, join! Hopefully you are enjoying his music and if you liked to purchase the recent album your can get it for$6.93 on iTunes and Amazon.com.




I hope you have enjoyed this week’s feature! Be sure to leave your comments below and share the music with your friends if you like it.

Photo 1 - Justin Wright Photography
Photo 3 - Photography by Adam Gatchel


Monday, June 28, 2010

Fanfarlo

Full write up to follow but I thought I should at least get the music up here for you all to listen to since that is the most important part.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Ellen Kibble

There is a whole world of music. Every country has a unique style and sound but music as everyone knows is the universal language. Cliché but true and that is probably one of the many reasons I love music so much. I have featured artists from England, Norway, Ireland, Scotland and now my favorite country, Australia! One side of my family is Australian so I’m an Aussie at heart. Diving into the Australian music scene is something I have wanted to do for some time and we start of with the young artist Ellen Kibble of Melbourne, Australia.

Ellen Kibble was a great find on Bandcamp.com by just searching for Australian artists. You can purchase her Calvary EP for just over $4 USD. She is a very new artist trying to make a name for herself in Australia and has a very similar sound to another Aussie artist, Missy Higgins, who has made some waves in the U.S. According to her website her rocking chair is her favorite place to write music where she writes songs that are simple, and beautiful acoustic folk storytelling. She apparently is just a down home girl who isn’t afraid to talk back to hecklers at her shows. Then again what Australian isn’t?

Listening to Ellen’s music just makes me want to transport to some dimly lit pub in Australia with friends where she is playing live in the corner. If you are interested in buying Ellen’s music you’ll have to purchase it from Bandcamp as it is the only place where it is available in the U.S. Link provided below.

I hope you have enjoyed this little journey to the land down under. Make sure to leave your comments below with what you think of Ellen’s music and show your support if you are enjoying it and purchase her EP! Have a wonderful week!


Photos by Rachel Cook

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Citizen Cope

Lazy summer nights. I remember having so many warm nights with nothing to do but spend time with friends. Now that I have a job and adult responsibilities those nights are fewer. There is some music that reminds me of those nights. Back in college Jack Johnson and Coldplay were a part of my soundtrack but now I have a new artist who, every time I listen to his music, makes me feel like I’m living in a lazy summer night. Citizen Cope is an artist I have grown to love more and more as I hear his music. The first song I heard was his track “Sideways.” The track moved me so much I purchased it right away and played it on repeat. I love it so much it’s the first song I have picked to learn with my guitar instructor who is helping me become a better player.

Citizen Cope is the pseudonym of Clarence Greenwood who is a song-writer, guitarist, singer, and producer among many other things who got his start as a DJ. Born in Washington DC Citizen Cope now resides in Brooklyn, New York. I have been quite surprised lately how few people have heard of him, particularly in my circle of musicians and industry professionals but I am hoping that will change very soon. He recently performed on Ellen and has become one of her favorite new artist. Citizen Cope blends so many different styles of music to create his unique style. A little blues, folk, hip hop, rock and R&B all mixed together showing themselves in his different songs.

Citizen Cope seems to change record labels as often as I change purses and has finally settled on his own label. Citizen Cope seems like someone who would not settle for a label making creative decisions for him or controlling his ideas so the best solution for that is to start your own label. He has released five albums including a recent release, The Rainwater LP, this past February. You can get a great deal on Amazon and download the new album for only $5.99!

His music is a great music to have on as you are out by the pool or just relaxing outside with friends and family. His music speaks of social issues and our current culture as well as your standard love and lost tunes. I can’t seem to get enough of Citizen Cope and I truly hope you feel the same after sampling a few tracks here.


I love comments so let me know what you think below and be sure to check out his website and myspace for more songs and information such as tours and news. The blog name contest is still open so be sure to check it out and share your ideas for a chance to win an iTunes gift card.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Jenny & Tyler

Summer is finally here and my uber-white winter skin is finally showing some signs of a tan. Summer brings a whole new soundtrack to me as the mood is much different then winter or fall. This week’s new duo, Jenny & Tyler, is starting off the summer playlist. This young married couple met on a bus ride from their college (University of Deleware) to church in 2004 and almost immediately started writing music together. Several years later they were married, released their first album and were officially a duo.

After releasing their first album, A Prelude, in 2007 they decided to move to Nashville, TN to pursue their music career even further. This cute couple has a fresh and authentic sound that really shows their personality and heart. Jenny & Tyler have combined their individual styles of Jazz, bluegrass, pop and country to create their own unique sound. They released a second album in 2009 titled, This Isn’t A Dream and will be releasing a third album this fall.

This music is welcoming, friendly, and warm as well as deep. Many of their tracks explore the depths of our world, like their track, “Product Of Culture” about a girl who seeks love and affirmation in all the wrong places. Their track, “One Eyed Cat” is a whimsical song about the compromises and changes made when you fall in love. Jenny & Tyler will be a great addition to your summer playlist. So don’t forget to put of your sandals, wear your sun block, drink lots of water because summer is hear!!


Don't forget to check out last week's giveaway post. Help me come up with a new name for my blog and win an iTunes giftcard. Contest will stay open until I give notice that it will be closed. I want to give you all plenty of time to use your creativity. Thanks all!

Monday, May 31, 2010

It's A Holiday/New Playlist/Giveaway!

Since today is a holiday I thought I should take the day off. I contemplated not posting for the day since I'm out of town visiting my favorite little town on the Central Coast of California.  Still I couldn't resist posting something. So instead of featuring a new artist I decided to give you a playlist of some songs I currently can not get enough of. I tried to pick ones that haven't been featured here so you all can still get your new music fix.





Now for the good part... A GIVEAWAY!!! I realized that its been a while since I've had one so here you go! However, this giveaway requires a little bit of creativity on your part. I am looking to change the name of my blog in the near future from Mary's Monday Musicology and get myself a url address that doesn't have .blogspot in it so it looks a little more professional. I would love something that could be like a brand name but without my actual name. I'm looking to turn this into a more than once a week blog. Possible even my own business someday. Who knows, but I need a good name to start it off!



If you would like to help out and be entered to win a $15 giftcard for iTunes leave a comment below with your suggestions. Couple things to note:

1. You must be a follower of this blog to enter
2. You can post as many name ideas as you want.

My favorite name will win the gift card!!

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Morning Benders

This week we are featuring another great indie rock band. The more I listen to bands such as Vampire Weekend, Yeasayer, Beach House and The Black Keys the more I am loving the world of indie rock music. This week’s band is no exception to this love. The Morning Benders is a band from Berkeley, California who started up in 2005. The band is made up of Julian Harmon, Tim Or, Jonathan Chu, and Christopher Chu and they just recently released their second album.

The Morning Benders may look young but their musical talents outweigh their years. The release of their second album, Big Echo, shows their advancement and change since releasing their first album, Talking Through Tin Cans in 2008. You can hear the difference when listening to the track in the player, “Patient Patient,” which is on their first album. In the five years since their start they have supported some huge indie bands on tour and they are continuing that streak by supporting The Black Keys, this summer on tour. The Black Keys just released their album last week and they are #2 on the iTunes album sales.


It only seems big things are to come for The Morning Benders. They are only just beginning and just from seeing the growth from the first album I know there is a lot of untapped potential. Below is a great video they made showing how they recorded the track, “Excuses” with all their friends crammed into a recording studio. Check it out.


Yours Truly Presents: The Morning Benders "Excuses" from Yours Truly on Vimeo.

I hope you have enjoyed this week’s featured band. Be sure to leave your comments below and share it with your friends.


Photo 1 - by Brooke Sheridan
Photo 2 - By Dominick Mastrangel
Photo 3 - by Jason McDonald

Monday, May 17, 2010

James Morrison

This week’s artist comes from across the pond where is has made a name for himself in the UK. James Morrison was introduced to me by a friend who was so affected by Morrison’s voice that even her husband was became a little annoyed. After hearing his music I couldn’t blame my friend for being so moved by it. James Morrison’s soulful and raspy voice as well as his passion filled song-writing make for music you can’t help but love.

James Morrison was born in 1984 in England and in the short years since he started his musical career has already, performed for Prince Charles, toured with Corinne Bailey Rae, and has recorded duets with Nelly Furtado and Jason Mraz. You can find the duet with Furtado, “Broken Strings” on Morrison’s new album and with Mraz, “Details In The Fabric” on Mraz’s latest album. Morrison is currently on tour in the U.K. and Europe. While he hasn’t taken the U.S. charts like he has in the UK it is only a mater of time before he takes the red, white and blue by storm.

Morrison attributes his unique voice to a case of whooping cough that almost killed him as a baby. It was years later as a teenager that his uncle introduced him to the guitar teaching him how to play a blues riff. Eventually Morrison started writing his own songs and began playing at a local pub in England for several years building up a following until he was signed to a record label. In 2006, his debut single "You Give Me Something" became a hit in Europe, Australia, and Japan, peaking in the top five in the UK and New Zealand. His first album Undiscovered came out that year and in 2007 he had several U.S. television performances which resulted in is album reaching #24 on the charts when is was released here. His second album, Songs for You, Truths for Me, was released in September of 2008 and it did tremendously well on the UK charts.




I hope you have enjoyed this week's featured artist. Be sure to leave you comments below of what you think. Also, if you would like to help and support this artist be sure to share this with your friends. There are some new buttons below to help with that. Have a wonderful week!




Monday, May 10, 2010

Molly Jenson

Most of the artists featured on MMM have only been in my music library for at most two years. This week’s artist, however, has been on my radar for the last twelve years. My history with Molly Jenson goes all the way back to the summer after freshman year of high school at Hume Lake Christian Camps. Molly was the back up vocalist for the worship band Everybodyduck and all of us girls were in total awe of her. She was beautiful, had an amazing voice and we all wanted to be just like her when we grew up. Her powerful vocals and harmonies are what inspired my own singing and I learned to harmonize by singing along with her on the band’s album. Years have passed since those summers at Hume but I never forgot Molly. When I heard she was releasing her own album last year I was pretty excited and am even more thrilled to share Molly’s music with you today.

Molly Jenson is a San Diego native who didn’t plan on pursuing a career as a singer/songwriter. It came about when Greg Laswell, not only a singer/songwriter himself but one of my absolute favorites, offered to co-write and produce Molly’s first album. That album, Maybe Tomorrow, was released in March of 2009. The album also features a duet with Jon Foreman, lead singer of Switchfoot, on the track, “Do You Only Love The Ones Who Look Like You.” Not only has Molly been signed to Bully!Pulpit/Nettwerk Music Group but she is also working on a second album with Greg Laswell producing again. Laswell has been a featured here on MMM and he just released his new album last Tuesday. You can preview the whole album on his website and I am purchasing it tonight!

Back to Molly, who has not only made waves in Japan and London with her music but is taking her tour away from the west coast and conquering the rest of the U.S. soon. She’ll be performing at the Lilith Fair in Arizona this summer as well. There is no date set yet on the release of the new album but I can only anticipate good things from it. You can find her album for download on Amazon.com and iTunes.

I hope you have enjoyed this little walk I took down memory lane to bring you an artist worth hearing. Check out more on Molly on her website, Myspace and Twitter.  

Make sure to leave your comments below on what you think and if you like it share it with your friends!! That is what this blog is all about! I've even added some new buttons below to make that easier. 




Photo 1 by Christian Rios Photography
Photo 3 by Joseph Llanes
Live Photo – unknown

Friday, May 7, 2010

My Current Obsession - The Civil Wars



If they don't come and play in L.A. soon I might have to go to them. Nashville trip to see The Civil Wars perform anyone?? We can help with some flood relief while we're there.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The CO

Before I even begin to talk about this week’s featured band I want to send out my prayers to the Nashville community. A devastating flood has hit, destroying homes and lives with no mercy. I know that during and after this crisis we will see the community of Nashville all coming together to help its neighbors. I have seen what an amazing community of musicians are there supporting each other in their careers so I know without a doubt they will be supporting each other during this time. Already as I’ve been researching this week’s band I’ve seen their efforts to help their town by setting up sand bags and helping friends who have lost their homes. This week’s band, The CO, are some amazing guys who met at a local university in Nashville and have stayed there to pursue their careers as musicians. Another Brite Revolution find, the band supports the Dalit Freedom Network which you can learn more about at the bottom of the post.

The CO began with Collin Brace, lead vocals, and Troy Akers, keys and vocals, who started writing songs together during college. The two decided to form a band and were joined by Nate Fleming on drums and later Will Harrison on guitar and Jordan Hester on bass. The band is a pop/rock group that reminds me of One Republic with a little Kris Allen thrown in. Their songs sing of rough times and struggling faith in their tracks, “Keep It Together” and “Hold On,” as well as love in their track, “Come In Closer.” The song writing of this band shows great promise and I can easily see them going far in their careers.

The CO has one album out available for $7.92 on Amazon here and iTunes here. If you are enjoying this band I would recommend buying it through the links provided or through their website links below since it will not be easy to find their music just searching for it. I tried and quickly gave up and found it through the provided links on Brite. Since CO is a very common word when googling The CO you will find a million other companies and websites before finding anything related to the band, which made it a bit hard to research. Even a search on iTunes and Amazon resulted in so many other options before I found them. So, if I had one recommendation for this band it would be a name change. I know that sounds quite brazen of me to suggest that a band change its name but I believe that you want potential fans to find you easily online. If I had heard a friend mention them or heard them playing on the radio I don’t know that I would have had much luck following up with their music. For now I’m making it easy for all of you readers to find more of their music. I hope you can use this as a resource to share this music with your friends because The CO is really a great band that deserves to be heard. And boys, if you ever read this, know that my intentions are not to bash your name choice but help you to be even more successful they you already are.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s featured band. You can follow them on Twitter to get updates on the Nashville flood and learn more on their website, facebook and myspace page. Make sure to leave your comments below on what you think of the music.




Dalit Freedom Network - Approximately 250 million Indians (a full 25% of the population), are Dalit. In a country where everybody is supposed to have equal rights and opportunities, one out of four people is condemned to be untouchable.

The Dalit Freedom Network partners with the Dalits in their quest for religious freedom, social justice, and human dignity by mobilizing human, informational, and financial resources. Learn more from the website.


Photo 1 & 3 - by michael sloane of strategic blend

Monday, April 26, 2010

Ben Rector

This week’s artist, Ben Rector, is another great find from Brite Revolution. Brite is a great site to get new music and support some amazing causes. The best part is that it is now FREE!! Brite is changing some things around and will be pursuing other ways to support the charities and making the music free for you! So if you haven’t signed up yet you are passing on some amazing music. Seriously, sign up. Now. I’ll wait. Click here. Did you do it? You won’t regret it. Free remember? Done? Good. OK, now that you’ve signed up let's get back to Ben. Ben Rector is an amazing unsigned singer/songwriter out of Nashville who has been touring around with Dave Barnes recently and recording some fantastic music.

Ben started his songwriting while at University of Arkansas and has made his way to the top of the iTunes charts. His recent album, Into The Morning, released February 2010 made it to #5 in iTunes Pop and #10 overall. Ben supports Mocha Club on Brite, which raises funds for Africa by asking you to donate just $7 a month, the price of two mochas at Starbucks. Pretty easy I think. In addition to his new album and the tracks you can get free on Brite (another plug), you can download his other releases, Songs That Duke Wrote and Twenty Tomorrow as well as his holiday release, Jingles and Bells for Christmas time.

Ben is back touring on the Eastern regions of the U.S. but I’m hoping he’ll make his way out to L.A. soon so I can check out his live show. Ben looks to be a great piano player and I have a bit of a weakness for men who play the piano… oops, did I just share that with you all?

I hope you enjoyed this week’s artist. There isn’t too much info on Ben out there but his music is really all you need. Check out his websites and make sure to comment below and let me know what you think.





All Photos by Chris Galegar

Monday, April 19, 2010

Caroline Smith And The Goodnight Sleeps

In the world of music there are some living legends. Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, Aretha Franklin and B.B. King just to name a few. Now, if you were just fifteen years old and you were opening for B.B. King that would be pretty amazing right? How many fifteen year olds are at a level with their music that they could open for a music legend? Well for Caroline Smith this was reality. As a teenager she opened for a blues player so great he has a Sirius Satellite Radio station dedicated to him. Caroline Smith is a singer/songwriter from Minneapolis, Minnesota accompanied by The Good Night Sleeps with a sound similar to Ingrid Michaelson and Katie Herzig.

At a very young age Caroline was taught guitar by her father who bought her first guitar. Her mother didn’t discover her guitar playing until she was fifteen and immediately had her playing in restaurants. Her style is a mix of blues, country and acoustic all rolled together in tunes simple and sweet.

Caroline Smith And The Goodnight Sleeps released their first album, Backyard Tent Sets, in August of 2008 which you can download on Amazon for $8.99 or iTunes for $9.90. Band members are Caroline Smith, Arlen Peiffer, Jesse Schuster and Colin Hacklander.

I hope you've enjoyed this week's feature! Tomorrow will be one year since I started this music blog. I have loved every minute of it and am so blessed and thankful to all of you who follow.





Photo 1 & 3 - Lilly Ball
Photo 2 - Nicole Marie Photography

Monday, April 12, 2010

Frightened Rabbit

It’s late as I write this week’s post and I can actually hear the rain pouring down outside my window. It is so calming that the music has been turned off and I’m listening to nature’s melody instead. I’m looking forward to the rain temporarily washing away the L.A. smog. This week we are going global again and featuring another international band from Glasgow, Scotland. Frightened Rabbit is an indie rock band with Fat Cat Records who released their third album last month. The new album, The Winter Of Mixed Drinks, is an album of tracks filled with songs about feeling alone, lost and on the edge but pushing through. I believe we’ve all felt that way at one point or another and I don’t know about you but it’s always been nice to hear songs written by others who have gone through the same things. Somehow though the subject matter sounds severe the music itself is light, upbeat and encouraging.

Frightened Rabbit started in 2003 when lead singer/guitarist Scott Hutchison started playing solo shows under the band name. He was soon joined by his brother, Grant Hutchison on drums, and Billy Kennedy on bass/guitar to form the band. Andy Monaghan joined in 2008 on guitar/keyboard and Gordon Skene joined in 2009 for the new album on guitar/keyboards. Each new member is a significant part in developing the band’s sound and according to Scott, “A lot of the new record is heavily layered and it felt like too much for the four of us to do. We need another member to get them at their full impact. I dunno, we're kind of bored of each other. We just need to add some fresh meat.” Early years of a band’s life involve the development of their sound, which you can often hear if they release several albums though that period. This new album has definitely showed how much Frightened Rabbit has progressed when you hear their older recordings.

The band is touring extensively throughout Europe and the United States and will be playing at Coachella this Spring with a collection of other great bands and artists. If you are enjoying Frightened Rabbit make sure to check out their other two albums, Sing the Greys released in 2006 and The Midnight Organ Fight from 2008.


Photo 1 by Danny North
Photo 3 by Gordon Burniston


 

Monday, April 5, 2010

Fink


It is a mark of a great artist and/or album when you have a hard time picking your favorite track. I suppose it’s a nice problem to have but when you have to choose just three tracks to share with everyone it can be problematic. That was the problem I had this week with featured artist Fink. It can be a rarity to love every track on an album and the wonderful thing about buying digitally is that you can only buy the songs you like as opposed to the full album with physical discs. How many have had a CD playing in your car and after a while you start skipping certain songs and listening to your favorites over and over. In this case though if you are enjoying Fink so far then I highly recommend purchasing his album Distance and Time in it entirety. It was the first album I bought and is still my favorite.

Fink’s music has this strange power over me. Every time it’s playing I can’t seem to resist closing my eyes and swaying my head to the music. Can’t you just picture yourself listening to this with a glass of wine or maybe some hot tea in your hand just detoxing from a long day at work? Fink’s music wasn’t always like this. Another international artist, Fink hails from Bristol, England and got his start as a DJ and electronica artist. It’s hard to imagine that hearing him now but his change to singer/songwriter is what propelled his career as a performer. Fink, who’s real name is Fin Greenall, comes from a musical family where his father was a folk musician and his mother a music manager. In addition to creating his own music he also uses his remixing and song writing skills to work with artists such as John Legend and Amy Winehouse.

After releasing his first electronica album in 2001 it was five years before he became his label’s first singer/songwriter with the release of Biscuits for Breakfast in 2006. In 2007 he released my favorite album Distance and Time followed by Sort of Revolution in 2009. You can download the bonus track “Naked For Life” from that album for free for a limited time. Make sure to check the Free Music Downloads tab for instructions. Fink’s track, “This Is The Thing” can be found on the soundtrack for the film Dear John.

I hope you have enjoyed this week’s featured artist. Fink’s music is absolutely the perfect soundtrack when you want to mellow out on the couch or cuddle up with your favorite someone or family dog in my case… Enjoy! Please leave your comments below and let me know what you think.


Photo 1 - Nicolas Dartialh
Photo 2 - Anja Haering
Photo 3 - Nikolas Ernult