Artist: Glen Campbell, Delight, AR
Album: Ghost on the Canvas, 2011
Notes: Sensational swansong by one of the greats, written for his wife, Kim. Highly original four minutes of guest guitar solos after two minutes of Campbell's vocal honey, by Glen himself and then Billy Corgan, Brian Setzer, Rick Nielsen, & Marty Rifkin. Too good for prime time.
Song: I Need
Artist: Maverick Sabre, England
Album: Lonely Are The Brave, 2012
Notes: Such an original artist, a clever stew of sonic ideas, mixing R&B, folk, electronica, vintage blue-eyed soul, a hint of hip-hop. Anglo-Irish singer-songwriter Michael Stafford, just 21, debut album out soon.
Song: Mad World
Artist: Tears For Fears, England
Album: The Hurting, 1983
Notes: A pop-rock classic which never made the Billboard Hot 100 in its original form by Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith. Subsequently covered to great success by both the pairing of Gary Jules and Michael Andrews, and more recently by the just (plain awful) Adam Lambert.
Song: Down To Zero
Artist: Joan Armatrading, St. Kitts
Album: Joan Armatrading, 1976
Notes: One of the early singles released by Joan and one of dozens of quality tracks by her which have flown under the radar over the years. It's not remotely Tracy Chapman's fault that Armatrading was getting it done decades before her.
Song: For You Now
Artist: Bruno Merz, New Zealand
Notes: Not a ('Mars') typo. Hushed , tender tune from now London-based singer-songwriter. Currently polishing off a sophomore set which should be out later this year. More on the real Bruno at his simple, stylish website www.brunomerz.com.
Song: New Age
Artist: Marlon Roudette, England/St. Vincent
Album: Matter Fixed, 2011
Notes: Catchy piano refrain, a cute chart-topper in Austria, Switzerland and Germany last year by the stepson of Neneh Cherry and son of Massive Attack producer, Cameron McVey.
Song: Better Off This Way
Artist: Left, Canada
Album: The Left, 2011
Notes: Female guest vocal by Sheree Plett graces this soothing and sweetly melodic gem by relatively unknown Canadian combo who deserve much wider notice. Fine debut album just issued.
Song: Koop Island Blues
Artist: Koop feat. Ane Brun, Sweden
Album: Koop Islands, 2006
Notes: Lovely languorous groove featuring an accordion, a clarinet and a vibraphone to great effect on this French chanson swinger by nostalgic Swedish trip-hoppish jazz duo of Magnus Zingmark and Oscar Simonsson. Super guest turn by Norwegian singer, Ane Brun.
Artist: One AM Radio, Los Angeles
Notes: One of the best lost synth-based cuts from last year, by a seriously talented folk/ambient electronic whiz kid, Herishikesh Hirway. Check out the album.
Song: And I Love You So
Artist: Don McLean, New Rochelle, NY
Album: Tapestry, 1970
Notes: It may not get any better than this divine ballad, lovely strings arrangement, pitch-perfect vocals from Don, simple acoustic guitar playing and a hit for other artists over the years - but not for him. Still getting it done in concert, still very popular in Europe where he performs most years - played the iconic Glastonbury Festival in England last summer to great reviews.
Song: Whatever’s On Your Mind
Artist: Gomez, England
Notes: Superb title cut from their most recent album. Literate, consistent alt-rock band fronted by distinctive vocalist Ian Ball. Group has opened for Pearl Jam and the Dave Matthews band - and signed to Matthews' label, ATO Records.
Song: This Is The Stuff
Artist: Francesca Battistelli, New York
Album: Hundred More Years, 2011
Notes: Outstanding shuffler by 26-year old songstress now based in Nashville. Atypical cut from artiste who normally performs a more gospel-inspired brand of pop-rock: her 2009 single, 'Free To Be Me', nominated for Best Gospel Performance.
Song: Pretty Things
Artist: Tony Lucca, Jay Nash & Matt Duke, Los Angeles
Album: TFDI EP, 2009
Notes: Bittersweet acoustic number by solid trifecta of tunesmiths who toured together in 2009. Lucca was a child performer on the Mickey Mouse Club, Nash is a still unsigned, and Duke is on the excellent Rykodisc label.
Song: Mama Sail To Me
Artist: Amos Lee, Philadelphia
Album: As The Crow Flies EP, 2012
Notes: A typically restrained, poised and rewarding standout track from the upcoming EP due out Valentine's Day. He gets better with each release.
Song: Baby Your Lovin’
Artist: Electric Empire, Australia
Album: Electric Empire, 2010
Notes: Impossible to believe this vintage-inspired R&B gem is only two years old given its truly authentic Al Green 1970s soul vibe. Even more surprising, they're a trio from Australia (perhaps a change in band name in order?)
Song: Can Love Stand The Test
Artist: Don Henley & Bonnie Raitt, Gilmer, TX/Burbank, CA
Notes: Neat ballad duet which completely flew under the radar after these legends recorded it specifically for the 'Country Bears' film in 2002 - which was helmed by the always underrated John Hiatt. CD now a collectors item.
Song: Beautiful Day
Artist: India.Arie, Denver
Notes: Why wasn't this released as a single? Solid pop-soul roller by 2001 hitmaker of 'Video'.
Song: The Beginning of the End
Artist: Steve Moakler, Pittsburgh
Album: Watching Time Run, 2011
Notes: Outstanding, self-released top drawer A+ unknown ballad by Pittsburg-based tunesmith. Been playing solo since the age of 18, DIY all the way - more at www.stevemoakler.com.
Song: Superman’s Song
Artist: Crash Test Dummies, Canada
Notes: Band's very first single which you rarely hear on the radio these days. Cool contrast between the bizarre cartoonish lyrics about the life of Clark Kent and the mournful delivery by distinctive deep bass baritone of lead singer, Brad Roberts.
Song: Enough Time
Artist: Ghosts, England
Notes: Tasty new synth pop-rock which shouldn't be lost in the first place. British indietronica combo founded last year by ex-Ou Est Le Swimming Pool members, Alex Starling and drummer Ian Palmer. Fab video for this new cut: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AX_TzU9dg_Q.
Song: If You Were Here
Artist: Cary Brothers, Los Angeles
Album: Who You Are, 2007
Notes: Too good for prime time, a superbly constructed melodic cracker - and a first-rate cover of an old Thompson Twins number. Terrific in concert, you might catch him at the seminal Hotel Cafe the next time you're in Los Angeles.
Song: Remember Me
Artist: Little Willies, New York
Album: For The Good Times, 2012
Notes: A yester-year-tinged delight from Norah Jones and her ad-hoc combo, the Little Willies. Album is a mostly quiet and charming collection of covers including a restrained version of the K. Kristofferson title cut and their take on Dolly's 'Jolene'. Norah is so cool because she makes absolutely no attempt to be cool.
Artist: Leddra Chapman, England
Album: A Trick or Two EP, 2011
Notes: An electro-pop departure from an otherwise mostly nu-folk songstress from promising London-based newcomer (real name Anna Chapman). Already worked with L&F preferred vendor, Ed Sheeran.
Song: Come Home To Me
Artist: Ernie Halter, Los Angeles
Album: Franklin & Vermont, 2010
Notes: Stripped down, breathy, romantic acoustic ditty from West Coast singer-songwriter. Justin Bieber of Planet Bieber has recorded a remarkably faithful and not-too-bad cover version - proving once again, there are no rules in music.
Song: Nothing Rhymed
Artist: Gilbert O'Sullivan, Ireland
Album: Himself, 1971
Notes: Completely over the top old-school strings arrangement but an absolute corker lurking underneath by clever Irish wordsmith/pianist. Not a love song, more a stab at the unfairness and iniquity of the world in which we live. Fab.
Song: In My Veins
Artist: Andrew Belle feat. Erin McCarley, Wheaton, IL
Notes: Cracking melodic duet once featured in the 2010 season finale of 'Grey's Anatomy' but otherwise entirely overlooked. Check out anything by either artist.
Song: What Good Is Love
Artist: Schuyler Fisk, Los Angeles
Album: Blue Ribbon Winner, 2011
Notes: Graduate from the University of Virginia with an enchanting highlight from her second album. Schuyler was taught to play guitar by her wonderful mum - Oscar-winning actress Sissy Spaceck. Done a bit acting herself, appearing in last year's Gus Van Zant film, 'Restless'.
Song: All This Time
Artist: Boom Circuits, Los Angeles
Album: The Boom Circuits EP, 2010
Notes: The duo of Vega Shank and Andy Ellison on a sturdy, catchy electro/rock-pop nugget. More at myspace.com/theboomcircuits.
Song: Take A Bow
Artist: Greg Laswell, San Diego
Album: Take A Bow, 2010
Notes: Typically marvelous outing from top-of-the-class singer-songwriter, producer Laswell. Never disappoints. Recorded all the tracks from this 2010 CD in a makeshift studio in a cabin near Flagstaff Arizona.
Artist: Neil Diamond, New York
Album: 12 Songs, 2005
Notes: Clearly the Saddest Song of All-Time, an absolute lost diamond from veteran, Neil - made all the more authentic and rich by the presence of uber-producer, Rick Rubin (Johnny Cash, Adele, everyone). Extraordinary.
Artist: Fairchild Republic, Australia
Notes: Lovely light guitar work flickering throughout this cut, a new single from down under by promising new troupe which is causing a bit of a stir at the other end of the world. More at www.fairchildrepublic.com.au.
Song: Little Heart
Artist: Delaney Davidson, New Zealand
Album: Self Decapitation, 2010
Notes: Dark mid-winter rumbler from his disturbingly named 2010 long-player. A fairly sardonic figure, Davidson describes his music as "voodoo rhythm" and himself as 'part man, part wheel, a wandering minstrel and a travelling salesman".
Song: That’s Just What You Are
Artist: Aimee Mann, Richmond, VA
Album: I'm With Stupid, 1995
Notes: First-rate lost gem by one of the brightest and best singer-songwriters ever to emerge from Virginia. Former lead singer with Til Tuesday in the '80s, Aimee went solo in 1993 , one of the first artists to (wisely) turn her back on the major label distribution system, forming her own SuperEgo Records in 1999.
Artist: Duran Duran, England
Album: Medazzaland, 1997
Notes: Fabulous unknown ballad from one of most enduring British synth-rock bands. Congrats to Simon le Bon who's now been married to his lovely wife, Yasmin, for more than 25 years.
Artist: Plumb, Nashville
Album: Chaotic Resolve, 2006
Notes: Standout track from melodramatic album by Tiffany Arbuckle Lee who goes by the performing name, Plumb. Better and more consistent than Evanescence.
Artist: Eric Hutchinson, Takoma Park, MD
Album: Moving Up, Moving Down, 2012
Notes: The first single from an excellent new album due out next month by 'Rock and Roll' (2008) hitmaker. Whole CD and is brimming with intelligent, easy-rolling pop rock nuggets like this.
Song: Skyline Pigeon
Artist: Elton John, England
Album: Rare Masters, 1992
Notes: Regarded by Elton himself as one of the first great songs he and lyricist Bernie Taupin wrote, but was only the B-side on the hit single, 'Daniel'. One of his most popular tunes when he performs in Brazil.
Song: Standing In The Rain
Artist: Jamie Scott & The Town, England
Album: Park Bench Theories, 2007
Notes: Before he teamed up with Tommy D in Graffiti6 (which is finally having some success after L&F began playing their music a year ago) - Jamie cut one lovely, lost solo album.