Artist: Erin McCarley, Nashville
Album: Love Save The Empty, 2009
Notes: One of several highlights from her sensational maiden album. Texan by birth but now based in Music City, one of dozens of highly skilled non-Country musicians rebuilding the musical soundscape of Nashville. Sophomore album just completed should be released in the Spring.
Song: Melancholy Sky
Artist: Goldfrapp, England
Album: The Singles, 2012
Notes: Lovely new melancholic treat, one of two brand new cuts emerging on a solid Goldfrapp retrospective. London based electronic/pop duo of synth-whiz, Will Gregory and lead vocalist, Alison Goldfrapp - yes that's her real name.
Song: Kill It
Artist: Cinema, Atlanta
Notes: A+ Modern Rock chugger which slipped through the cracks by a little known combo, the collaboration of Leighton Antelman (he of another act, Lydia) and producer, Matt Malpass (who's worked with Train). Promising debut set.
Artist: Anthony Hamilton, Charlotte, NC
Album: Back To Love, 2011
Notes: Authentic old-school soul groove from his fifth long-player with a strong Bill-Withers-recalling percussive backdrop. Produced by Babyface.
Song: County Line
Artist: Cass McCombs, Concord, CA
Album: Wit's End, 2011
Notes: Delicate and winsome ballad by overlooked troubadour, once hailed by iconic BBC radio DJ John Peel as 'unobtrusively brilliant'. California native but of no fixed abode, sleeps and works wherever life takes him but a big favorite among fellow indie musicians including Cat Power, the Decemberists and Iron & Wine.
Song: Moon and Sun
Artist: Gomez, England
Notes: Another erudite lost corker from sturdy British alternative rock combo led by clever lad Ian Ball. Seven fine albums since 1998.
Artist: First Aid Kit, Sweden
Album: The Lion's Roar, 2012
Notes: Amazingly from Sweden, a cute Country cut neatly recalling the romances between Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons and June Carter and Johnny Cash. Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Soderberg. Jack White and Bright Eyes are fans.
Song: Everybody’s Changing
Artist: Keane, England
Album: Hopes and Fears, 2004
Notes: Criminal that these highly melodic chaps have yet to score a top 40 hit on the Billboard 100. Another lost diamond buried on their too-good-to-true debut album.
Song: Come To Me
Artist: Koop feat. Yukimi Nagano, Sweden
Album: Koop Islands, 2006
Notes: Delightfully breezy, a 1930s-swing tinged cocktail keeper by endlessly creative jazz-folk-pop duo of Magnus Zingmark and Oscar Simonsson. Nice guest vocal by Yukimi Nagano - who, despite her Japanese name, is also Swedish.
Song: 53 Steps
Artist: Rachel Platten, New York
Album: Be Here, 2011
Notes: Uplifting perky pop chops of newcomer Platten a vibrant new singer-songwriter from the Big Apple. An accomplished pianist and beatboxer, she's already opened for Regina Spektor, Ziggy Marley, and the Strokes. Four strong cuts of her first effort by telegenic musician.
Song: Skin Deep
Artist: Stranglers, England
Album: Aural Sculpture, 1984
Notes: So many top notch deep tracks recorded by the Stranglers over their long career. Band surfaced as an aggressive pioneering act at the dawn of the British punk scene in the mid-'70s, but subsequently smoothed out their recordings and made some remarkable tasteful tunes- including this one.
Artist: Snow Patrol, N. Ireland
Album: Fallen Empires, 2012
Notes: Standout ballad from their latest long-player. The lyrics are so simple but effective, lead singer Gary Lightbody yearning for the simple more peaceful things in life.
Song: Jar of Hearts
Artist: Christina Perri, Philadelphia
Album: lovestrong., 2011
Notes: Yes, a big hit from a couple of years ago, but its melodic simplicity and surprising lyrical quality (and refusal to bloat into melodramatic territory) make it a winning number worthy of a spin on L&F. Regrettably featured on 'Glee'.
Song: Talk of The Town
Artist: Pretenders, Akron, OH
Album: Pretenders II, 1981
Notes: Old wave New Wave, an overlooked nugget, the follow-up single to their breakthrough smash, 'Brass In Pocket' but somehow slipped by unnoticed. Veggie-q1ueen, Hynde opened her own restaurant in her home town of Akron Ohio in 2007 called VegiTerranean - which sadly closed its doors last October.
Song: She Saw The World
Artist: Blue Nile, Scotland
Album: High, 2004
Notes: Largely unheralded top-notch combo which has the slowest recording schedule of virtually any act. The ongoing project of mainman, Paul Buchanan, one of the most talented and enigmatic characters in rock music.
Artist: Ruth Brown, Portsmouth, VA
Album: Ruth Brown, 1953
Notes: Vintage R&B magic replete with fab horns and the earliest rock guitar riffs, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Ruth Brown who was rightly inducted into the Hall in 1993. Brown was one of the first and most popular acts on the seminal Atlantic Records label - which became known as 'the house that Ruth built'.
Song: From The Hip
Artist: Lloyd Cole & The Commotions, England
Album: Mainstream, 1987
Notes: From the last album he ever recorded with his backing band, an easy-swaying lost gem from literate tunesmith who now lives in Massachusetts. Recently turned 51, also a superb golfer with a 5.3 handicap.
Song: The Freshman
Artist: Jay Brannan, Los Angeles
Album: In Living Cover, 2009
Notes: An overlooked digital single and sterling, stripped-down update of the 1996 hit by the Verve Pipe. Jay cleverly gets to the heart of a fine composition, just him and his piano.
Artist: Lisa Hannigan, Ireland
Album: Passenger, 2011
Notes: Delightful outing from a rewarding sophomore set by a long-time protege of Damien Rice and formerly a backing singer in his band. A favorite of (Irish-rooted) Stephen Colbert.
Song: Going Home
Artist: Sophie Zelmani, Sweden
Album: Sing and Dance, 2002
Notes: Breathy vocal delivery and engaging melodies underwrite so much of her fine repertoire. Another under-appreciated Swedish songstress, began playing guitar and writing songs at 14, snapped up by Sony Sweden at 22.
Artist: Jules Shear, Pittsburgh
Album: Allow Me, 2000
Notes: Lost solo nugget by enduring singer-songwriter who more famously penned 'All Through The Night' for Cyndi Lauper and the Bangles' 'If She Knew What She Wants'.
Song: Don’t Break My Heart
Artist: UB40, England
Album: Baggariddim, 1985
Notes: Early strains of dub-step on a terrific reggae corker by the genre's leading band. Still going strong - though without their distinctive lead singer Ali Campbell who left in 2008 after 30 years for a solo career.
Artist: Coldplay, England
Album: Mylo Xyloto, 2011
Notes: Four minutes of glorious pop-rock from the top of the heap, featuring a fun Euro-pop synth break towards the end. Still at the top of their game, living in para, para... heaven.
Artist: Daughter, England
Album: Not available
Notes: Bittersweet ballad a yearning ode about self-empowerment from a woman not prepared to be just another party doll. 21-year star-in-the-making Elena Tonra, aka Daughter, signed to Mumford-affiliated label, Communion Records.
Song: When You Know
Artist: Shawn Colvin, Vermillion, SD
Notes: Too good for prime time but only available and specially recorded for the 'Serendipity' film soundtrack the ridiculously cute romantic comedy starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale. Shawn is currently on tour - unmissable. Dates at: www.shawncolvin.com/shawnTour.html
Song: Further Away
Artist: Ben Howard, England
Album: Old Pine EP, 2011
Notes: Serious nu-folk finger-picking and acoustic strumming from an L&F preferred vendor (we're still waiting for the rest of radio to catch up).
Song: Black Hole
Artist: Edith Backlund, Sweden
Notes: Sensational new music from Swedish songstress. Edith has released a couple of ace CDs in Sweden over the past five years- stream this cut directly at www.edithbacklund.se.
Song: The Road Not Taken
Artist: Bruce Hornsby & The Range, Williamsburg, VA
Notes: Impeccable, an extraordinary piece of work by piano-meister Hornsby, written about a girl he's always loved in a southwestern Virginia town, but the one that always got away. Also back on tour now, the best of the best: www.brucehornsby.com/tour.
Song: I Know
Artist: Jude, Boston
Notes: With a name like that, unsurprisingly influenced by the Beatles. Splendid ballad also featured on the 'City of Angels' soundtrack. Michael Jude Christodal aka, Jude.
Song: Get Lucky
Artist: Dragonette, Canada
Album: Galore, 2007
Notes: Winning, light-hearted retro-tinged number from Canadian trio based in Toronto which normally records electro-pop/ rock material. Fronted by the striking-looking Martina Sorbara who incongruously is the daughter of the former Minister of Finance in Ontario.
Song: January Rain
Artist: David Gray, England
Album: Lost Songs 95-98, 2001
Notes: Instrumental, lost, winsome pearl by normally lyrical tunesmith tucked away on a superb collection of previously overlooked material.
Song: Make It Without You
Artist: Andrew Belle, Nashville
Album: Ladder, 2010
Notes: Too sad for words, trying to pick up the pieces after a dear relationship has headed south, a somber diamond by Belle from an outstanding album. One of the top undiscovered talents based out of Nashville.
Song: Brand New Day
Artist: Tim Myers (feat. Lindsey Ray), Los Angeles
Album: Digital single, 2008
Notes: Way too happy, but right on target by crafty indie folk singer-songwriter who makes a living getting lots of placements of his hook-filled fare into tv commercials and tv shows.
Artist: Echo & the Bunnymen, England
Album: Songs To Learn & Sing, 1985
Notes: Brilliant harp-laden Modern Rock lost corker by combo which burst forth from the always fertile Liverpool music scene in England in the late '70s. Subsequently covered by the Decemberists, the Killers and the Flaming Lips.
Song: Bible Belt
Artist: Dry The River, England
Album: Shallow Red, 2012
Notes: Intriguing number by new band (three years old) from southern England, a promising quintet led by singer Peter Liddle. More at www.drytheriver.net.
Song: I May Not Let Go
Artist: Peter Bradley Adams, Birmingham, AL
Album: Between Us, 2011
Notes: Yet another top-notch acoustic gem from the criminally overlooked tunesmith. Last year's album was superb (as with all his outings). Also check out the only album he made with Eastmountainsouth. Too good.
Artist: Charles Aznavour, France
Notes: Schmaltzy for sure but a classic vintage male vocal ballad from French icon (more recently covered by Elvis Costello). One of the most romantic standards ever recorded.
Song: My Mistakes
Artist: Eleanor Friedberger, Oak Park, IL
Album: Last Summer, 2011
Notes: Why wasn't this a hit? Sterling, tasty chugger, the first solo flight for Eleanor who is also a member of indie rock band, the Fiery Furnaces with her equally musical brother, Matthew.
Song: A Couple More Years
Artist: Dr. Hook, Union City, NJ
Album: Greatest Hits, 1991
Notes: Aside from their sometimes cheesy career highlights, Dr. Hook often recorded some rather pleasing, simple and sweet numbers like this - co-written (as with much of their catalog) by much beloved American poet and children's book author, the late Shel Silverstein.