Song: Buildings and Mountains
Artist: Republic Tigers, Kansas City
Album: Keep Color, 2008
Notes: Highly melodic and engaging track from one of Kansas City's finest bands creating a lovely meld of pop, psychedelic rock and folk. The group's founders Adam McGill and Kenn Jankowski seem to have a sort of on-off commitment to the group so their catalog is a little sparse.
Song: Good Things
Artist: Kathleen Edwards, Canada
Album: Back To Me, 2005
Notes: Top notch, intimate and confessional corker from a sparkling album by a still under-appreciated songstress. Kathleen grew up as the daughter of a diplomat in South Korea and Switzerland. David Letterman is also a fan.
Song: Don’t Panic
Artist: Coldplay, England
Album: Parachutes, 2000
Notes: A short old lost gem which they played at their very first gig back in 1998. More recently it was used as the wake-up call for the last ever American crew which traveled to the International Space Station.
Song: Don’t Blame Me Now
Artist: Deidre, Brooklyn, NY
Album: Curious Parcel EP, 2011
Notes: Easy flowing, a smashing breezy retro pop nugget from a new artiste, Deidre Muro. She's also one half of an experimental pop combo called Savoir Adore with Paul Hammer - who she met at NYU.
Song: Only A Miracle
Artist: Kenny Loggins, Everett, WA
Album: High Adventure, 1982
Notes: Extraordinary ballad from a tunesmith no longer in vogue and deeply unfashionable but great music is great music. Co-written by Loggins with another master of melody, Michael McDonald.
Song: Little Toy Gun
Artist: Honeyhoney, Venice, CA
Album: First Rodeo, 2010
Notes: A rather fun and provocative perky bubbler from the duo of Suzanne Santo and Ben Jaffe who mix folk, rock, jazz and bluegrass, a lovely multi-genre stew. Followup album just released called 'Billy Jack'.
Artist: Melanie Laurent feat. Damien Rice, France/Ireland
Album: En t'Attendant, 2011
Notes: Creative pairing with a wacky but delightful duet. Melanie is principally a French actress who played Shosanna Dreyfus in 'Inglourious Basterds' a couple of years ago - she's actually appeared in more than 20 films and is still only 28.
Song: New York
Artist: Milk Carton Kids, Baton Rouge, LA
Album: Prologue, 2011
Notes: Back porch front porch Americana from a relatively new bunch who released back-to-back albums earlier this year. Very promising duo of Joey Ryan and Kenneth Pattengale steeped in old school Appalachian folk with close two-part harmonies.
Artist: Simon & Garfunkel, New York
Notes: Timeless gem written by Paul Simon in 1969 as a message to his longtime recording partner, Art Garfunkel - whom he often referred to as Tom (when they first played together as a duo they were known as Tom & Jerry).
Song: Senses Working Overtime
Artist: XTC, England
Album: English Settlement, 1982
Notes: A mostly literate and hip New Wave outfit which emerged from the ashes of punk rock in the mid-'70s in England, formed by singer-guitarist Andy Partridge who delivers the trademark vocals.
Artist: Linda Ronstadt, Tucson, AZ
Notes: 'We never really made it baby, but we came pretty close, Adios'. A superb ballad written by the great Jimmy Webb, produced by the great Peter Asher, with vocals arranged by the great Brian Wilson.
Song: Tell Me Why
Artist: Karla Bonoff, Santa Monica, CA
Album: New World, 1988
Notes: The original version - and still the best - of a song which was subsequently a #1 Country record for Wynonna Judd in 1993. Karla is one of the best singer-songwriters ever and is stepping out on tour in February: more at www.karlabonoff.com.
Song: Love Is Everywhere
Artist: Bob Schneider, Austin, TX
Album: I'm Good Now, 2004
Notes: Simply too good, an extraordinary ballad by top tunesmith. Bob hasn't made a bad album in more than 13 years of recording.
Song: Little Lies
Artist: Dave Matthews + Vusi Mahlasela, South Africa
Album: Not available, 1997
Notes: The equally distinctive sounds of Matthews and the masterful Mahlasela on an unreleased gem. Vusi, who still lives in Soweto, is signed to Dave's excellent ATO Records label.
Song: Video Games
Artist: Lana Del Rey, New York
Album: Digital single, 2011
Notes: Intriguing red-hot new track by Elizabeth Grant, already better known by her performing name, Lana Del Rey. When will other radio shows/stations pick this up?
Song: Peace Like A River
Artist: Paul Simon, New York
Album: Paul Simon, 1972
Notes: Simon regards himself first and foremost as a songwriter, then a 'record maker' and finally as a performer - and among his personal top 5 favorite songs of the hundreds he's written over many decades, is this lost tune.
Song: What You Want
Artist: Hayley Sales, Washington, DC
Album: Sunseed, 2007
Notes: A delicious slice of surf pop from a very breezy, warm album. A beach-swept Jack Johnson-ish vibe from the 25-year old songstress. More at www.hayleysales.com.
Artist: Thomas Dolby, England
Notes: Fabulous cut from the new album by the 'She Blinded Me With Science' hitmaker - which is surprisingly organic and un-electro-fied. Moved back from California to his native England. Album. one of the year's best, features Mark Knopfler, Imogen Heap, Natalie Macmaster and Regina Spektor.
Song: Vide Cor Meum
Artist: Patrick Cassidy, Ireland
Notes: Truly extraordinary piece of A+ opera (yes, opera) by Irish composer, based on Dante's 'La Vita Nuova' and sung by Danielle de Niese and Bruno Lazzaretti in the 'Hannibal' (documentary) film.
Artist: Jam, England
Notes: Big hit back in their native UK where the band dominated the charts in the late '70s, early '80s. The tight post-punk trio was fronted by Paul Weller who went on to a softer but no less vital solo career.
Song: Three Little Girls
Artist: J.J. Cale and Eric Clapton, Oklahoma City/England
Album: The Road To Escondido, 2006
Notes: A simple tale by two past masters from a fine collaborative album they recorded in 2006. Clapton cut two Cale compositions years earlier, 'Cocaine' and 'After Midnight'.
Song: More Than This
Artist: Lucy Kaplansky, New York
Album: Over The Hills, 2007
Notes: A divine, slowed down and highly original update of Roxy Music's timeless classic. Lucy is a long-standing folk artiste based in New York who surfaced around the same time as Shawn Colvin and Suzanne Vega.
Song: House of Stone
Artist: Roaring Boys, England
Album: The Roaring Boys, 1986
Notes: A completely lost New Wave synth-rock corker very much in the Roxy Music/Duran Duran frame. Short-lived British combo comprised six graduates from the esteemed Cambridge University. Extremely rare cut, can't be bought for love or piracy.
Song: This Is The Life
Artist: Amy MacDonald, Scotland
Album: This Is The Life, 2007
Notes: First-rate folkish rock from Amy's maiden CD which is stuffed with goodies. Performed this song once on the 'Ellen' show. Still just 24, currently working on her third record.
Song: Place de la Republique
Artist: Coeur de Pirate, Canada
Album: Blonde, 2011
Notes: Stunning World Music ballad from Canadian songstress, Beatrice Martin who's from Quebec and writes most of her songs in French. Began learning the piano as a 3-year old - a bright new talent.
Artist: Phoenix, France
Notes: Grammy award winning alt-rock French band with their signature hit, much featured in a series of Cadillac TV commercials. Song was an ode to the bygone glory era of Paris at the turn of the last century.
Song: Revelation Road
Artist: Shelby Lynne, Quantico, VA
Album: Revelation Road, 2011
Notes: Title track on her new, strong, rootsy album which she recorded on 2-inch tape at her home studio in Palm Desert, California. Shelby wrote, sang, recorded, mixed, produced and played every instrument on her new long-player.
Artist: David Gray, England
Album: Draw The Line, 2009
Notes: So much of his outstanding catalog gets a cursory airing on radio and many still play his biggest song, 'Babylon' - but there's a ton of good material by Gray which never reaches the mainstream which is a crime.
Artist: Athlete, England
Album: Tourist, 2004
Notes: A big hit back in their native UK, the underrated indie-rockers with the highly original and lyrically complex, 'Wires' penned by lead singer, Joel Pott about his daughter, Myla, who was born prematurely but mercifully survived.
Song: Up In The World
Artist: Clifford T. Ward, England
Album: Anthology, 2002
Notes: Too sad for words with an exquisite old school string arrangement - a song about the love of his life losing her soul, her very core, as she finds fame and fortune and leaves him behind. The horribly overlooked class of the late, Clifford T. Ward.
Song: Hearts Trompet
Artist: Brasstronaut, Canada
Album: Mount Chimaera, 2010
Notes: Creative, fresh sound of Canadian combo with Bryan Davies on trumpet and Edo Van Breemen on the piano and lead vocal. Silly band name but they've got serious music chops, mixing up jazz, pop and rock.
Artist: Gotye feat. Kimbra, Australia
Album: Making Mirrors, 2011
Notes: Clever, but bitter and twisted post-relationship musings from Wally De Backer, a Belgian-Aussie musician who goes by he name, Gotye. Already a number 1 down under. Features New Zealand songstress, Kimbra Johnson on guest vocals.
Song: What Love Looks Like
Artist: Dara MacLean, Texas
Album: You Got My Attention, 2011
Notes: Wistful airy stylings of a new Texas-based singer-songwriter with a charmingly simple and melodic gem from her maiden album. Claims to be influenced by Lauryn Hill, Adele, Natasha Bedingfield and Ray LaMontagne.
Song: So Long, So Long
Artist: Dashboard Confessional, Boca Raton, FL
Album: Dusk and Summer, 2006
Notes: Lovely guest vocals by Adam Duritz of Counting Crows on a lost gem buried on the DC's fourth album, firmly led as ever by Chris Carrabba.
Artist: Julee Cruise, Creston, IA
Album: Floating In The Night, 1991
Notes: The vocal version of the instrumental theme music for the cult-hit TV series, 'Twin Peaks' (won the Grammy for Best Instrumental in 1991). Co-written by Twin Peaks creator and director, David Lynch with one of the great American composers, Angelo Badalamenti.
Song: The Last Time
Artist: Andy Stochansky, Canada
Album: Not available, 2006
Notes: No nonsense pop rock, clever melodic structure, yearning lyrics, lovely execution - and never even released, not available anywhere. Andy is a absurdly talented musician originally from Canada but now based in LA and Nashville, making his living writing songs for other artists.
Song: Little Sister
Artist: Ry Cooder, Los Angeles
Album: Bop Til You Drop, 1979
Notes: So infectious - a percolating departure by the musically restless Cooder with his version of 'Little Sister', the 1961 hit by Elvis Presley. He's just released his umpteenth album, 'Pull Up Some Dust and Settle Down' - which includes a well-named track called 'No Banker Left Behind'.
Song: Believe It When I See It
Artist: Ron Sexsmith, Canada
Notes: Another under-appreciated gem from Sexsmith's last album. He's been knocking it out of the park over 11 splendid albums since 1991 - much loved by fellow musicians including McCartney and Chris Martin.
Song: Break It Down Baby
Artist: Robinella, Knoxville, TN
Album: Solace For The Lonely, 2006
Notes: The progressive blues-dipped rootsy sound of Robinella Bailey and her band mixing bluegrass, jazz, blues and folk, a delicious stew. She's been performing at Barley's Taproom and Pizzeria for more than 10 years in Knoxville.
Song: Your Love Amazes Me
Artist: Michael English, Kenansville, NC
Album: Freedom, 1996
Notes: Pure pop ballad and a defining career moment for English. Originally a huge Country hit for John Berry in 1994, brilliantly updated on this version.