Song: Burning In The Sun
Artist: Blue Merle, Nashville
Album: Burning In The Sun, 2005
Notes: Fabulous fiddle work on a lost Americana gem from a band that was regrettably only around for three years (2003 - 2006). Fronted by a way-talented chap, Luke Reynolds. Utterly superb album stuffed with melodic lost treasure.
Artist: Kyler England, Los Angeles
Album: Spare Key Sessions, 2012
Notes: Neat remix of a lost nugget originally recorded for the album she released last year called 'Electric Hum'. LA-based songstress who's also one quarter of the fine folk-pop-rock combo, the Rescues.
Song: Sit Down
Artist: James, England
Album: Gold Mother, 1990
Notes: Overlooked Modern Rock gem from the British 'Madchester' scene band who enjoyed a big US hit with 'Laid'. Group is celebrating its 30th anniversary.
Song: Worn Out Blues
Artist: Gotye, Australia
Album: Like Drawing Blood, 2006
Notes: Just 0:38 seconds of weary ballad bliss from the ever-inventive Belgian-Aussie World Music musician. Few realize that Gotye has been recording albums for some 10 years.
Artist: Ray LaMontagne, Nashua, NH
Album: Trouble, 2004
Notes: Not sure you can find a more tenderly beautiful chorus than this one. One several mostly overlooked gems on his debut album which was produced by Ethan Johns who's also worked with the likes of Kings of Leon, Crowded House and Ryan Adams.
Song: Born To
Artist: Jesca Hoop, Los Angeles
Notes: Is this too good for radio at large? Standout cut from her upcoming fourth album. Singer-songwriter guitarist Jesca broke away from a strict Mormon upbringing in Northern California, began her recording career in 2004. Formerly a nanny for Tom Waits' family. More at www.jescahoop.com.
Song: Downtown Train
Artist: Tom Waits, Pomona, CA
Album: Rain Dogs, 1985
Notes: Gritty shuffler from an album which marked a stylistic change for the greatest songwriter of the contemporary music era. Also check out the terrific video clip featuring a cameo by legendary boxer, Jake LaMotta. Subsequently a big hit for Rod Stewart.
Song: Scarred and Scared
Artist: Rod Stewart, England
Album: Blondes Have More Fun, 1978
Notes: Dark story about murder and execution, a superb melodic narrative by Rod when he could still be bothered to write his own material. Look out for a possible reunion with Ron Wood to regroup the Faces later this year.
Artist: Zeb, Italy
Notes: Instrumental my dear Watson, cool World Music/dubtronica strains over a neat reggae backdrop. DJ multi-instrumentalist Zeb is an Italian-born musician and producer which relocated to New York some years ago and hooked up with the Organic Grooves dance collective.
Song: If I Needed You
Artist: Don Williams & Emmylou Harris, Nashville
Album: Especially For You, 1981
Notes: Written by one of the godfathers of Americana, the wonderful Townes Van Zandt, performed to perfection by the most laid back singer ever, Don Williams in duet with the glorious Miss Emmylou. A new album by Don due this summer typically called 'And So It Goes'.
Artist: Yuna, Malaysia
Album: Yuna, 2012
Notes: Fast becoming a L&F preferred artiste, another top track from a superb new self-titled long-player from Malaysian songstress. Yuna counts Feist, Coldplay, Sia and the Cardigans among her influences - more at www.yunamusic.com.
Song: Ashes to Ashes
Artist: David Bowie, England
Notes: Revisiting his mythical Major Tom character from his 1969 classic 'Space Oddity' (who's now become a junkie apparently). Described by Bowie as a nothing more than a nursery rhyme, this immensely accessible and creative rock nugget somehow failed to crack the Billboard Hot 100 in 1980 but was a huge hit around the rest of the world.
Song: Virginia Calling
Artist: Sons of Bill, Charlottesville, VA
Album: Sirens, 2012
Notes: Sturdy, no-nonsense new Country-flavored rock, by an alt-Country quintet comprising three Wilson brothers James, Abe and Sam and a couple of friends, Seth Green (mercifully not that Seth Green) - and Todd Wellons.
Song: I’m Gonna Miss You Girl
Artist: Michael Martin Murphey, Dallas, TX
Album: River of Time, 1988
Notes: So sweet, the easy-flowing, simple Country-pop, delightfully melodic outing which failed to crossover from the Country to the pop chart in 1987. Murphey, who has focused much of his career on the Cowboy genre of Country & Western, is best known for his crossover smash, 'Wildfire' in 1975.
Song: My Sweater
Artist: Susan Justice, Aruba
Album: Eat Dirt, 2012
Notes: Mellow almost too-cute but an enchanting child-like ditty from top new songstress. From a conversely all-too-real maiden album much of which chronicles her dreadful upbringing in a strict cult environment and the efforts and rewards of breaking free. More at facebook.com/susanjustice.
Song: Mountain Sound
Artist: of Monsters and Men, Iceland
Album: My Head Is An Animal, 2011
Notes: One of a half-dozen fine outings on the new offering by the best band to ever emerge from Iceland (including Sigur Ros). Superb vocal interplay between female lead singer, Nanna Bryndis, and her male cohorts.
Song: A Matter of Fact
Artist: Innocence, England
Album: Belief, 1990
Notes: This week's guilty pleasure, a cheesy synth back drop replete with Barry White Love Unlimited-esque strings - but what a song. Terrific catchy piano refrain running throughout from long-forgotten British R&B quartet fronted by Gee Morris.
Song: Welcome To The Boomtown
Artist: David + David, Los Angeles
Album: Boomtown, 1986
Notes: LA-based duo of David Baerwald and David Ricketts with their signature song, a mini-hit in the mid-'80s. Both Davids subsequently became an integral part of Sheryl Crow's infamous Tuesday Night Music Club in the early '90s, an ad-hoc musicians collective which effectively launched her career.
Song: Leave The Lights On
Artist: Meiko, Roberta, GA
Album: The Bright Side, 2012
Notes: She possesses such an engagingly breathy vocal style, the wonderful Meiko with her percolating winner, the lead-off cut from her brilliant sophomore album out this week. Five long years since her splendid maiden long-player.
Artist: Lionel Richie, Tuskegee, AL;
Album: Just For You, 2004
Notes: Typically melodic lost corker from an artist currently back in vogue after a slam dunk performance at this years SXSW festival (and back on the charts with his recent Country-flavored update of past glories). Argentinean soccer wizard, Lionel Messi, was named after the R&B king of schmaltz.
Song: Silent Sigh
Artist: Badly Drawn Boy, England
Notes: Wacky piano riffs on this delightful lost gem, an overlooked number from the Hugh Grant-starring 'About A Boy' film soundtrack which was entirely written and performed by Damon Gough who likes to go under the name Badly Drawn Boy.
Song: All Alone
Artist: fun., Brooklyn, NY
Album: Some Nights, 2012
Notes: The massively in-vogue exuberant sound of the indie-pop funsters who recently enjoyed a huge hit with 'We Are Young'. Just one of several sparklers on their revelry-filled sophomore album.
Song: Our Movie
Artist: Jimmy Webb, Elk City, OK
Album: Angel Heart, 1982
Notes: Sweet sounds on the radio indeed, a remarkable duet showcasing the songwriting genius of Webb in duet with the hugely underappreciated Leah Kunkel (who is the sister of Mama Cass). Leah is truly one of the great female singers ever, flown completely under the radar, only ever released two (magical) solo albums many years ago.
Song: Dance If You Want To
Artist: Rose Cousins, Canada
Album: If You Were For Me, 2006
Notes: Canadian songstress and guitarist who's been flying under the mainstream radar for far too long with a tender folk gem. She recently released a sensational new album, 'We Have Made A Spark'. More at www.rosecousins.com.
Song: Deep Inside
Artist: Gareth Dunlop, N. Ireland
Album: Not available
Notes: Unreleased number from the 24-year old tunesmith from Northern Ireland who was named Young Songwriter of the Year at last year's Annual Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival. One to watch, engaging rootsy voices like his don't come around every day.
Song: I’m Not Supposed To Care
Artist: Gordon Lightfoot, Canada
Album: Summertime Dream, 1976
Notes: Poignant, beautiful, melancholic lost sapphire from the Canadian folk master. The 73-year old legend recently released a splendid concert album, 'All Live'.
Song: Wake Up
Artist: Jenny Owen Youngs, Montclair, NJ
Notes: One of several fine uptempo offerings tucked away on her third album. Always highly melodic and literate why isn't all over radio all the time? Jenny recently completed her first film score for an indie movie called 'Beasts of the Southern Wild'.
Song: Goin’ Back
Artist: Neil Young, Canada
Album: Comes A Time, 1978
Notes: Hard to believe this lost diamond was recorded in the mid-'70s, the lead-off cut from his quietly pastoral masterpiece LP. His upcoming album, reunited again with his long time backing band Crazy Horse, 'Americana' is set to hit retail on June 5th.
Artist: Trampled By Turtles, Duluth, MN
Album: Stars & Satellites, 2012
Notes: Recently made their national tv debut on 'The Late Show with David Letterman' though they've been together for ten years. The alt-Country combo often perform at Bluegrass, Folk and rock festivals including the venerable Newport Folk Festival, Coachella and upcoming at Bonnaroo.
Artist: Liz Longley, Nashville
Album: Hot Loose Wire, 2010
Notes: Too sad for words, a desperately tender and thought-provoking tale written and sung by a granddaughter about her grandmother who is slipping away, suffering from Alzheimer's Disease. Longley's 2010 maiden album is essential listening.
Song: All Those Pretty Lights
Artist: Andrew Belle, Wheaton, IL
Album: The Daylight EP, 2012
Notes: Quirky rather hypnotic and rewarding outing from L&F permanent resident who should be huge - but isn't (yet). This tunesmith never disappoints, heard here on a song he originally recorded in 2008 but recently refurbished in an 'Alternate Universe Version' for his new three-track EP.
Song: Breathe Life Into Me
Artist: Mica Paris, England
Album: So Good, 1988
Notes: A song squarely themed on a burning desire to get pregnant, a smooth lost soul swayer by British R&B singer. A popular soul performer in the UK for two decades, Mica has also forged a parallel career as a frequent tv and radio presenter.
Song: Brighter Than Sunshine
Artist: Aqualung, England
Album: Still Life, 2003
Notes: How was this not a hit? - it truly hits all the right notes, another melodic winner from singer-songwriter/keyboard whiz, Matt Hales, aka Aqualung. He turned 40 earlier this year despite his ever-youthful looks. This lost gem also featured in the Ashton Kutcher-starring movie, 'A Lot Like Love'.
Song: Easy Come, Easy Go
Artist: Sutherland Brothers & Quiver, Scotland
Album: When The Night Comes Down
Notes: An old school arrangement, old school sax bridge but still a fine ballad at the heart of this very obscure ballad. The Scottish folk rock duo of siblings Gavin and Iain Sutherland recorded several albums with another rock combo called Quiver during the 1970s. Gavin also wrote 'Sailing' a huge (non-US) hit for Rod Stewart.
Artist: Imagine Dragons, Las Vegas
Album: Continued Silence, 2012
Notes: Currently breaking through with their first big hit, 'It's Time', this is another belter from their current album. Vegas-based combo originally from Provo in Utah, now enjoying their fourth year together.
Song: Just Like Heaven
Artist: Kat Edmonson, Austin, TX
Album: Take To The Sky, 2009
Notes: A delicious, breezy, slow jazz update of the Cure standard from the marvelous Edmonson who's a cross between Bjork and Billie Holiday. Becoming a real favorite with other musicians including, unsurprisingly Lyle Lovett - she's featured on his latest CD. More at www.katedmonson.com.
Song: New York
Artist: Milk Carton Kids, Los Angeles
Album: Prologue, 2011
Notes: Back porch front porch Americana tucked away on the band's sophomore album issued last year. Very promising duo of Joey Ryan and Kenneth Pattengale based in California but steeped in old-school Appalachian folk.
Artist: Oasis, England
Album: Heathen Chemistry, 2002
Notes: Rock solid ballad, written as ever by older brother, Noel Gallagher who told the press in August 2009 he 'could simply no longer go on working with (his) brother Liam' - and quit the group. Noel went on to form his High Flying Birds combo which issued a strong album last year, while Liam heads his own Beady Eye band.