Artist: Robbie Williams, England
Notes: Household name in every corner of the world, except where he lives: the US. His label, EMI Records (now owned by Citi Group - now that's what I call banking), spent small fortune trying to kick-start Williams' US career. Recently reunited with former band, Take That.
Song: What I’ve Become
Artist: Edith Backlund, Sweden
Album: Not available, 2011
Notes: Sensational new cut from upcoming album by emerging Swedish songstress who has released a couple of obscure albums over past five years. Neil Young is also a fan.
Song: Some of Us
Artist: Starsailor, England
Album: Silence Is Easy, 2003
Notes: Brit Rock quartet named after a classic album by the late folk performer, Tim Buckley. The album also features the last two recordings overseen by subsequently convicted murderer and musical genius, Phil Spector.
Song: Genius Next Door
Artist: Regina Spektor, Russia
Album: Far, 2009
Notes: Lost pearl tucked away on her most recent studio album - which was co-produced by Electric Light Orchestra founder and all round top helmer, Jeff Lynne.
Song: Take Another Look
Artist: Cars, Boston
Album: Move Like This, 2011
Notes: Typically simple, well-constructed track from iconic pop-rockers who recently reformed (sadly sans original member Benjamin Orr who passed away in 2000). One of the best cuts on their new reunion album.
Song: She Said
Artist: Plan B, England
Notes: Overlooked but neat retro soul from Benjamin Balance Drew, aka Plan B - which marked a complete transformation from his being a street-smart, foul-mouthed rapper to becoming a legitimate soul/pop performer.
Song: Make You Feel My Love
Artist: Adele, England
Album: 19, 2008
Notes: Perhaps the best version of the timeless composition by Bob Dylan by the 2011 artiste of the year. A sparse, earnest, soulful treatment, one of several lost gems from her maiden album.
Song: Tell Me A Tale
Artist: Michael Kiwanuka, England
Album: Tell Me A Tale, EP, 2011
Notes: Hot off the press from the UK, major new soul voice. Raised in London by Ugandan parents, signed to ultra-hip indie label, Communion Records co-founded by Mumford & Sons' Ben Lovett.
Song: I Call Your Name
Artist: A-ha, Norway
Notes: Easy-swaying number from Coldplay's favorite band. Group had a bit of a cheesy reputation after breakthrough global pop smash, the cartoonish 'Take On Me' - but actually developed into a rather more serious and worthwhile combo.
Song: Pills (live)
Artist: Sarah McLachlan with the Perishers, Canada/Sweden
Notes: Excellent collaborative prescription from much-overlooked Scandinavian rock quartet with one of Canada's most endearing songbirds.
Song: Seize The Day
Artist: Cosmic Gate featuring Jades, Germany
Album: Sign of the Times, 2009
Notes: Chilled-out electronica rock from Deutschland, the duo of Claus Terhoeven and Stefan Bossems also featuring guest vocalist, Jades. Released five interesting albums to date.
Song: Roger Wilco
Artist: Shawn Colvin, Vermillion, SD
Album: Whole New You, 2001
Notes: Deliciously original singer-songwriter fare from the incomparable Colvin, with a lovely quirky ditty - co-written with Edie Brickell. Terrific album but didn't even make the Top 100.
Song: Keep You Right
Artist: Blind Pilot, Portland, OR
Notes: Standout track on upcoming album from Oregon-based indie folk duo of Ryan Dobrowski and Israel Nebeker - who promoted their first release in 2006 with a 25-date west coast club tour on bicycles - riding from gig to gig from Washington state all the way down to San Diego.
Song: This Woman’s Work
Artist: Kate Bush, England
Album: The Sensual World, 1989
Notes: Original version of Bush's most extraordinary lost gem which she wrote (from a man's perspective) for the closing scenes of the John Hughes film, 'She's Having A Baby'. A new version of same song is on her recent 'Director's Cut' album.
Song: The Spot
Artist: Taxicab Racers, Nashville
Album: Hunter/Beggar, 2010
Notes: Promising electro/pop rock from Tennessee-based duo called Hunter and Beggar. Currently unsigned, going the self-made indie route - more at myspace.com/taxicabracers.
Song: To Darkness/Kripa
Artist: Mumford & Sons with Laura Marling & Dharohar Project, England/India
Album: Dharohar Project EP, 2010
Notes: World music meets nu-folk, a superb tantric collaboration by Mumford darlings with folk songstress Marling and the Rajasthani collective who combined as part of a cultural exchange in Delhi in 2009.
Song: Heart On My Sleeve
Artist: Gallagher & Lyle, Scotland
Album: Breakway, 1976
Notes: Simple melody, lovely accordion, strong harmonies, easy flowing nugget from vintage pairing of Benny Gallagher and Graham Lyle. Latter went on to write songs for Michael Jackson and Tina Turner among many others.
Song: I Don’t Wanna Fight
Artist: Tina Turner, Nutbush, TN
Notes: Bit of a hit back in 1993, but rarely heard these days, superb pop-soul diamond featured in autobiographical movie. Astonishingly, co-written by Scottish singer, Lulu who had a US chart-topper in 1967 with the theme to the Sidney Poitier movie, 'To Sir With Love'.
Artist: David Bowie, England
Album: Pinups, 1973
Notes: Never a hit in the US, recorded in France, a #1 hit in Australia and a brilliant cover version of an old tune by the McCoys. Unmistakable vocal drama of (now) 64-year old David Robert Jones.
Song: Save My Heart
Artist: Jason Reeves, Iowa City, IA
Album: The Lovesick, 2011
Notes: Fresh as a daisy, ultra-catchy new pop-rock from one of the most underrated singer-songwriters out there. From new album due any day.
Artist: MoZella, Detroit
Album: Belle Isle, 2010
Notes: Why isn't she better known? - rarely cuts a duff record. Currently writing new material with Brian Holland, one third of the legendary Holland/Dozier/Holland songwriting team, the chaps behind so many Motown hits.
Artist: Five For Fighting, Los Angeles
Album: Two Lights, 2006
Notes: Lovely ballad from the always in-tune John Ondrasik, aka Five For Fighting (his real first name is Vladimir). Band named after the sin-bin five-minute penalty handed out in hockey.
Song: Send Myself To Sleep
Artist: Thirteen Senses, England
Album: Crystal Sounds, 2011
Notes: Another lost nugget by the much unheralded British rock quartet from delightful Cornwall county in the south-west of the country. Recorded four A+ albums to date, all worth checking out.
Song: Fantastic Day
Artist: Haircut 100, England
Album: Pelican West, 1982
Notes: One of peppiest and preppiest British new wave pop combos to emerge in the early 80s who scored with 'Love Plus One'. Band was fronted by a top singer-songwriter Nick Heyward - they split up in 1983 when Heyward went solo, reunited last year.
Artist: Sixpence None The Richer, New Braunfels, TX
Album: Divine Discontent, 2002
Notes: Strong lyrics and a lovely string arrangement, delightful outing from Texas-based group best known for 'Kiss Me' smash.
Song: How You Like Me Now
Artist: Heavy, England
Notes: Pounding retro soul-rock, heavily influenced by James Brown from Bath-based quartet. Song featured in a KIA Sorento tv commercial and in the Oscar-winning movie, The Fighter last year.
Song: Enola Gay
Artist: Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, England
Album: Organisation, 1980
Notes: Superb old-school synth runs by OMD, written as an anti-nuclear-weapons protest message to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher - and named after the famous atomic bomb plane used in WWII.
Artist: She & Him, Portland, OR
Album: Volume 2, 2010
Notes: Originally written by Milton Kellem in 1951 and a hit for Teresa Brewer the following year, cool update by the pairing of Matthew Ward (aka 'M.') and actress Zooey Deschanel - who is also a rather good pianist and a dab hand on the ukulele.
Artist: Cara Salimando, New York
Album: Not available, 2011
Notes: New music from outstanding, young (19) new singer-songwriter, only released one ep to date which came out last year. Understated ukulele-based pearl.
Song: The Weary Kind
Artist: Ryan Bingham, Hobbs, NM
Album: Junky Star, 2010
Notes: Original composer version of film song made famous by lead actor, Jeff Bridges in Oscar-winning role from 'Crazy Heart'. From Bingham's fine third album.
Artist: Fleetwood Mac, Los Angeles
Album: Tusk, 1979
Notes: 'Every hour of fear I spend, My body tries to cry, Living through each empty night, A deadly calm inside" - saddest song of all time from iconic band led on this top-notch ballad by Stevie Nicks.
Song: Our Perfect Day
Artist: Tim Fagan, Hawaii
Notes: Two minutes of bubbly up-tempo fun from Colbie Caillat's music director and lead guitarist for a couple of years. Now based in LA, written songs with John Mayer.
Song: Message To My Girl
Artist: Neil Finn, New Zealand
Album: Not available
Notes: Rare live version of one of his earlier compositions which he originally recorded when he and his brother Tim Finn were both in Split Enz together in the early 80s.
Song: You’re The Best Thing
Artist: Style Council, England
Album: Cafe Bleu, 1984
Notes: Pop-soul cracker from group formed in 1983 in London by Paul Weller - former frontman for seminal British punk trio, The Jam - a welcome musical departure by him after all the angst-ridden Jam material.
Artist: Julie Feeney, Ireland
Album: 13 Songs, 2005
Notes: Rather obscure, achingly beautiful - too good for prime time, from entirely overlooked 2005 maiden set which she self-financed with a number of loans from Irish banks (wouldn't happen today).
Artist: Vetiver, San Francisco
Album: Tight Nit, 2009
Notes: Bright indie folk pop from Northern California singer-songwriter, Andy Cabic and his band. Signed to seminal Sub Pop label, their new release, 'The Errant Charm' is also getting rave reviews.
Artist: Bruce Hornsby, Williamsburg, VA
Album: Intersections, 2005
Notes: Hornsby played his trademark piano rolls on the original studio hit by Don Henley, but this is a jazzy, solo live update of the classic he also co-wrote. From a superb boxed-set of his work from 1985 through 2005.
Song: Oh Sunny Sunny Day
Artist: Fredrika Stahl, Sweden
Album: Not available, 2011
Notes: Bubbly, retro-jazz pop stylings of Fredrika Stahl, a piano playing singer-songwriter originally from Stockholm though spent many years in France. Hopefully her record label will release this soon.
Song: I May Not Let Go
Artist: Peter Bradley Adams, Birmingham, AL
Album: Between Us, 2011
Notes: New cut from show regular and incredibly talented songsmith. Used to be in a terrific band called Eastmountainsouth which released one almost perfect (self-titled) album.
Song: All I Have
Artist: Mat Kearney, Eugene, OR
Notes: Highly infectious, one of several strong but overlooked nuggets from his last album. Look out for his next set, called 'Young Love' set to drop in August.