Monday, March 29, 2010

Maria Mena

There have been so many artists featured on this blog that come out of Nashville. There is no doubt that it is a place over flowing with amazing talent. This week though our artist comes from a place much farther away – Norway. I first heard Maria Mena on Pandora and immediately fell in love with her music and soon after bought her album White Turns Blue. Sadly, the rest of her albums are not available in the U.S. unless you want to pay $20 to import. It just might be worth it as this young emerging singer/songwriter has come a long way since releasing her first single in 2001 at just fifteen. Her first single “My Lullaby” is a song she wrote while coping with her parents divorce. Maria writes her song after real life experiences and as a result her music has touched her fans including myself. Her track “Sorry” is my favorite and tells a tragic story of loving a friend who does not love you back.

Maria has already released five albums including the most recent Cause and Effect in 2008. I was able to hear some samples on Amazon and can already hear how far she has come over these last few years. As she has gotten older her voice has changed and become stronger allowing her to sing a wider range of songs. As well as sharing her life through her songs Maria also blogs heavily to connect with her fans. “I like sharing my ups and downs and I believe it’s extremely important to maintain a relationship with those who ultimately buy and appreciate my music” These days, with Twitter and blogs, artist are connecting more with their fans who now feel closer to their favorite artists.

Maria’s career has been blossoming throughout Europe and with one album released in the U.S., a David Letterman performance and several tracks used on the hit show So You Think You Can Dance, my hope is that she will have some success here as well. Her music is raw, beautiful and touching and I can’t wait until I get her new releases. If you love Maria’s music you purchase physical copies through

I hope you have enjoyed this week’s artist. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Seth Philpott

Growing up I listened to the typical pop music that my peers listened to. Since my parents weren’t music people they didn’t introduce me to any of the classics so I fell into what everyone else was listening to. It wasn’t until late college that my taste for independent music took charge. I honestly don’t remember what started it or how my love of music developed really developed but I think it was just a sweet gift from God. When the time comes for me to have kids I absolutely can’t wait to give them their musical education. I hear a difference in the artists who grew up listening to really good music because they have learned from it and pulled parts of it for their own music. This week’s artist, Seth Philpott, grew up listening to artists like Willie Nelson, Otis Redding, Harry Connick Jr. and Van Morrison. Once you here Seth’s music you can hear those influences.

Seth Philpott grew up in Texas and now resides in Nashville, TN pursuing his music career. His first release, Good Hearts, came out this past November. You can pick up this 6-track release on iTunes or for just under $6. I’ve been getting his music from Brite Revolution which is the only place you will find his tracks, “Nashville” and “Still” which happen to be my two favorite tracks. All the more reason to join Brite. His music is full of heart break and love. Some intense and emotional like “Still” and others like “Heartbreaker” are a little more upbeat and fun, all showing off his soulful voice and honest music writing.

Seth doesn’t have any tour dates released right now but I can only hope that he is using this time to work on more of his music. He seems to be a part of that great Nashville community of artists and has played with Andy Davis, another soulful artist from Nashville previously featured on MMM.

I hope you have enjoyed this week’s featured artist. If you’ve enjoyed his music be sure to let me know what you think in the comments and check out his music on iTunes or Amazon.

Photo1 – Rob Culpepper

Monday, March 15, 2010


This week’s artist comes all the way from France. You know that place with all the good cheese and bread? Apparently they produce some pretty good music as well with the Paris based band Phoenix. Now I realize they have been around for a little while and they just won this little award called a Grammy but I still felt they were worth featuring. I first heard their album It’s Never Been Like That, which was released in 2006, when I purchased it on Amazon’s daily deal. Since then I can't seem to get enough of their music.

Phoenix is made up of four band mates, vocalist Thomas Mars, bassist Deck d'Arcy, guitarist Christian Mazzalai and his older brother Laurent Brancowitz also on guitar. The band comes from a suburb of Versailles and got their start by playing bars and pubs. If anyone out there has pursued a career in music you know that playing to a room full of drunks is sort of a right of passage that everyone should have to go through.

The band released their first album in 2000 followed by three others until their current release, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, which earned them their Grammy award this past January for Best Alternative Album. Lead singer Thomas Mars has a child with his partner, film director Sofia Coppola which caused a three year break before releasing the Grammy winning album. What a little time off will do, eh?

They are current touring through Australia and Europe but will be making their way to the U.S. in April for Coachella and Bonnaroo festival as well as about a dozen other shows through out the nation before heading back to Europe.

Hope you enjoyed this weeks feature. For some of you this may be stretching your musical tastes--as I have mention before is my goal. I’d love to hear what all of you think. Have a wonderful week!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Meaghan Smith

The music, movies and fashion of the 20s, 30s and 40s has always captivated and inspired me. My mother raised me on the old classic movies and to this day Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers films and anything with James Stewart holds a very special place in my heart. So when another artist takes inspiration from that era when people dressed in evening gowns and tuxes for dinner then I know I’ll love it. The music of Meaghan Smith takes me back to those decades I think I was meant to live in. She too is influenced by those decades and it is so very evident in her music. Meaghan’s debut album, The Cricket’s Orchestra is something quite magical to me. She says of her release, “I wanted the album to be an inspiring musical experience that makes you feel like you’re leaving one world and entering another — a colorful, whimsical and imaginative place where you can reflect on your past and look forward to your future.” Doesn’t that sound just wonderful? Well, after hearing the whole album I whole-heartedly agree.

Meaghan Smith grew up in Ontario, Canada with a very musical family. Her mother taught piano and her father was a bass player. Though her three sisters are talented singers and musicians Meaghan is the only one pursuing a career. She didn't always believe that music was for her as she was overwhelmed by stage fright. Instead she went to school to study animation. It was there that she continued to write and play her music and perform little concerts in the stairway on her guitar for a few people at the animation school. She couldn’t keep herself away from music and with some encouragement from others she worked on recording a demo and played at local venues to build her confidence and get over the stage fright.

The name of the album, The Cricket’s Orchestra, seems like the perfect title as several of the tracks actually sound like there could be a little cartoon orchestra of bugs and birds playing instruments made of grass, flowers and leaves. I know it may sound crazy but listen to “A Little Love.” Can’t you just picture Jiminy Cricket conducting this orchestra? Meaghan also released a Christmas EP last year titled Wish Upon A Star.

With this debut album Meaghan Smith is signed with Sire Records and she is on the roster for the Lilith Fair, which is returning this year. She is on the roster with several others who have been featured here: A Fine Frenzy, Erin McCarley, The Weepies and Rosie Thomas to name a few. They haven’t released the dates but I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to attend this year. I was never old enough to go before so I’m excited to be a part of what will hopefully be a continuing tradition that supports women’s charities and female musicians.

I hope you have enjoyed the beautiful music of Meaghan Smith. To learn more about her and the making of The Cricket’s Orchestra you can view the video bio below. I can’t confirm but I’m assuming this video is showcasing Meaghan’s animation skills. Make sure to leave you comments below about the music.

Photo 1 & 3 by Jennifer Tzar

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ben Sollee

Instrumental music has never had much of a place on my iPod. I prefer lyrics that I can sing along with usually while stuck in Los Angeles traffic. I do make an exception for Debussy and any cello music. The cello is an instrument I could listen to endlessly as it has a soothing power over me (maybe I should play it while in traffic…). Combine a cello with my favorite genre of music, folk, and you might find my new favorite artist, Ben Sollee. I first heard Ben Sollee after receiving his new album, Dear Companion in which he collaborates with guitarist Daniel Martin Moore. After hearing the album I knew I wanted to feature this artist and was blown away to find that he accompanies himself on the cello. All of a sudden I had a new appreciation for his music and have been chomping at the bit to feature him this week.

Ben Sollee is a classically trained cellist who started playing when he was in elementary school in Kentucky. Though his background is classical his music is a blend of folk, bluegrass and jazz. In 2005 he joined The Sparrow Quartet, which released its first album in 2008. The same month he released his own EP and the next month a full-length solo album titled, Learning To Bend. Ben wasted no time in getting his music out to the public.

Dear Companion is Ben Sollee’s new album with Daniel Martin Moore that isn't only about the music. The album was inspired and created to bring awareness to Mountaintop Removal coal mining (MTR) and its detrimental affects to the people and heritage of central Appalachia. If you purchase the album 100% of the proceeds will go to the organization Appalachian Voices. Good music, good cause. You can’t go wrong with buying this album.

I really hope you enjoy this music as much as I have. The new album has been playing non-stop since it was release two weeks ago. Ben’s first album Learning to Bend is available for only $5 on Amazon. Also to really grasp what Ben does with the cello watch the two youtube videos below. Hope you enjoy!! I would love to hear your comments!

Photo One by Liz Linder
Photo Two by Liz Linder
Photo three by Mickie Winters

Monday, March 1, 2010

Delayed Post

Happy Monday!

Today's post will be delayed slightly due to the fact that its 4am and I've been at the ER all night with my roommate who has appendicitis. Not to mention I was in a car accident Thursday night that has forced me to put all work aside and focus on fixing that mess. I'll have the posting up later this evening or Tuesday but taking care of my roomie is my priority right now. I just didn't want any of you to think I was slacking ;) Pray the surgery goes well! Thanks everyone!