Song: Just Say The Word
Artist: Josh Kelley, Augusta, GA
Album: Just Say The Word, 2006
Notes: An effortless union of words and music, melody and script. Josh is the older brother of Charles Kelley (guitarist in Lady Antebellum) - the siblings formed a band together as teenagers called Inside Blue. Married to Katherine Heigl.
Song: A Promise Broken
Artist: Asha Ali, Ethiopia
Notes: Well-formed lost pop/soul nugget released as a one-off single five years ago. Ethiopian born singer-songwriter (long-based in Sweden) cites her diverse musical influences as Dolly Parton, Kate Bush, Bowie, Jeff Buckley and Nina Simone. Only one EP and two albums since bowing in 2005.
Song: Moon Memory
Artist: Popcult, Denver
Album: Popcult EP, 2011
Notes: Lovely strings kissing the underbelly of this number along with positive shades of Coldplay (who are among the band's BritPop influences). A tight rock quartet fronted by Justin Renaud, some of their music is available for free at www.popcultband.com.
Artist: Parachute, Charlottesville, VA
Album: Winterlove EP, 2009
Notes: Neat lost nugget by one of the best pop rock bands to emerge from Charlottesville in recent years. Originally named Sparky's Love they switched their moniker to Parachute in 2008, and have since opened for the likes of Matt Nathanson, O.A.R. and the Goo Goo Dolls.
Song: Cry Me A River
Artist: Julie London, Encino, CA
Album: Julie Is Her Name, 1992
Notes: The evergreen torch standard (written by Arthur Hamilton for Ella Fitzgerald in 1953) but this is its most memorable version, Julie's immortal, smokey treatment from 1955 which she recorded for the Jayne Mansfield starring comedy, 'The Girl Can't Help It'.
Song: Dry Your Tears
Artist: Various Cruelties, England
Album: Various Cruelties, 2012
Notes: Strong new alt-rock offering, an atypical outing from their otherwise BritPop-tinged album which is also sprinkled with Stax and Motown influences. Indie group has only been going for a couple of years, led by Liam O'Donnell (a self-confessed mod based in London). More at www.variouscruelties.com.
Song: Everything Is Gone
Artist: Liz Longley, Boston
Album: Inside This Song EP, 2012
Notes: One of several melodic gems housed in her new EP. The songstress is a graduate from the esteemed Berklee School of Music in Boston. The Washington Post declared that Liz is 'destined for a larger audience', even John Mayer is a fan, calling her music 'gorgeous, simply gorgeous.'
Artist: James Taylor, Boston
Album: New Moon Shine, 1991
Notes: Unmistakable simplicity and the sweet vocal style of Sir James, an acoustic, organic, woodsy, roller, a lost diamond from two decades ago. A new Christmas album by Taylor just released.
Song: Cigarettes & Truckstops
Artist: Lindi Ortega, Canada
Notes: Authentic nu-Country with a lovely broken-down rusty truck old school feel to it, though it's brand new, the title cut from her terrific new album. Lindi is a telegenic practitioner of vintage sounding Rockabilly and Country: two albums and a superb Xmas EP under her belt to date. Originally from Toronto, the Canadian songstress is now based in Nashville.
Song: Hey My Love
Artist: Evermore, New Zealand
Album: Follow The Sun, 2012
Notes: An exuberant pop-rock taster from their fifth album by the NZ band, now based in Australia. A sibling trio of Jon, Dann and Peter Hume, they took their band name from the Led Zeppelin song 'The Battle of Evermore'.
Song: Rock Away Blind
Artist: Lindsey Buckingham, Palo Alto, CA
Album: Seeds We Sow, 2011
Notes: The voice, the ever-nimble double-time acoustic guitar technique and the production, this could only be one artist. Mesmerizing cut from a largely overlooked album. Should be reunited with Stevie Nicks for a Mac reunion next year.
Song: Love You Less
Artist: Cassidy Ford, Leesburg, VA
Album: Not available, 2012
Notes: Fresh cut from a new Virginia-based singer-songwriter who's just 15, but with a remarkably mature sound. One of several fine, young tunesmiths signed to the excellent www.younggunspub.com.
Song: The Life Of Riley
Artist: Lightning Seeds, England
Album: Sense, 1992
Notes: Another catchy, chirpy hook-filled gem by Ian Broudie from Liverpool, England, aka Lightning Seeds - he just has that knack for writing, performing and self-producing bouncy pop nuggets. Now in his '50s, Ian still keeps his long-running combo active, but also issues solo work.
Song: Half Moon
Artist: Blind Pilot, Portland, OR
Album: We Are The Tide, 2011
Notes: Lovely horns blended into this that lost ruby, one of a couple of sterling tracks on last year's album by the indie folk duo formed in 2006 by Ryan Dobrowski and Israel Nebeker. They promoted their freshman album '3 Rounds and A Sound' by undertaking a 25-date west coast club tour traveling only on bicycles.
Artist: Emily Wolfe, Austin, TX
Album: Director's Notes, 2012
Notes: Highlight cut from her delightful maiden long-player issued in February. Emily is based in the ever-vibrant music town of Austin where she can often be found performing at the Saxon Pub. Influences include the National, Radiohead and Leonard Cohen. More at www.emilywolfemusic.com.
Artist: Family of the Year, Los Angeles
Album: Loma Vista, 2012
Notes: Note perfect, a sweet union of top notch melodies and smart lyrics. Lost song of the year?
Song: With A Little Luck
Artist: Wings, England
Album: London Town, 1978
Notes: Super synth-bleeding smash from way back, the rarely played full nearly six-minute version with one of the best hook-filled cheesey synth bridges in pop history. A guilty pleasure but worth a revisit, Macca at his pop best.
Song: Better Side
Artist: Lady Danville, Westwood, CA
Album: Operating, 2012
Notes: Sterling energy and well-crafted harmonies on this new outing by an indie-pop trio named after Danville in California. Their influences range from Simon and Garfunkel to Death Cab for Cutie to Rufus Wainwright.
Song: The Life
Artist: Gary Clark Jr., Austin, TX
Album: Blak & Blu, 2012
Notes: An atypical soul shuffler from his otherwise blues/rock fueled latest effort (and major label debut). He's a dazzling guitarist and A+ singer, though the hype has got a bit out of control. Marketed as a newcomer, but been recording for eight years.
Song: All I Know
Artist: Art Garfunkel, Forest Hills, NY
Album: Up Til Now, 1993
Notes: Originally written by the great Sir Jimmy Webb for the film 'The Last Unicorn' (in which it was then sung by Jeff Bridges) - but exquisitely perfected here by Art Garfunkel in his second stab at the timeless overlooked ballad.
Artist: Jem, Wales
Notes: A plaintive, absolute delight by the still under-appreciated Welsh songstress, Jem's restrained acoustic interpretation of Coldplay's mighty 'Yellow' - only available on an excellent Starbuck covers compilation.
Artist: Lights, Canada
Album: The Listening, 2009
Notes: Delicious poptronica with an easy sense of melody, the quirky Valerie Poxleitner who likes to go by the performing name of Lights. From her maiden album which is stuffed with similarly strong pop confections.
Artist: Passenger, England
Album: All The Little Lights, 2012
Notes: If you like Ed Sheeran, you'll like this. Few new releases contain more than couple of strong tunes at best - the latest log-player by Passenger has six and counting. Passenger aka British tunesmith Michael Rosenberg.
Artist: Jillian Edwards, Waco, TX
Album: Galaxies and Such, 2009
Notes: Engaging and beautiful vocal style with an enchanting musical sensibility, sorely overlooked songstress who should be better known. More at facebook.com/jillianedwardsmusic.
Song: Long Way Home
Artist: Bello, Madison, WI
Album: Bello, 2012
Notes: Sweet three-part harmonies and a strong organic Americana folk underbelly by an unsigned trio, Mike Droho, Scott Lamps and female vocalist and violinist Ida Jo, all based out of Wisconsin. Self-described as 'simple and pure. No tricks, no fancy machines, just songs about living and loving, striving and thriving; three people baring their hearts and minds through music.' More at www.idajo.com.
Artist: Tristan Prettyman, San Diego
Album: Hello, 2008
Notes: Now scoring with 'My Oh My', but it's just mad that this catchy acoustic bubbler wasn't an earlier hit. Tristan grew up around the beach and become a top surfer as a teenager before deciding to pursue a music career inspired after hearing an album by Ani DiFranco when she was 15.
Song: I Will Follow You
Artist: Nice Little Penguins, Denmark
Album: Alarmingly Happy, 2012
Notes: Breezy, peppy, '60s-inspired, retro-tinged pop-rock from a Danish group which is by far the happiest band in the world. Indie folk-pop trio comprising brothers Michael and Carsten Kolster and a third penguin, Bo Feierskov who've been playing together since 1983.
Song: Leave or Stay
Artist: Joe Gil, Los Angeles
Album: Leave or Stay (single), 2010
Notes: Terrific chorus on a lost single from two years ago by indie-pop folkster who is an architecture graduate from the University of Southern California with no formal music training. Check him out: www.joegil.com.
Song: Everything Has Changed
Artist: Taylor Swift with Ed Sheeran, Reading, PA
Album: Red, 2012
Notes: Co-written by the pair, Country music's hottest star in unlikely but winning unison with the emerging British songwriter (who was first showcased on L&F over a year ago with 'The A Team').
Song: Made Up Of
Artist: Barnaby Bright, New York
Album: The Longest Day, 2012
Notes: Blissful confessional folk-pop balladry by the married couple of Rebecca and Nathan Bliss. Hard working pair performing on average some 200 shows a year and logging up 40,000+ miles around the world. Well worth witnessing their stripped down peaceful brand of music in concert - dates always posted at www.barnabybright.com.
Song: Wish You Were Here
Artist: Delta Goodrem, Australia
Album: Child of the Universe, 2012
Notes: Too sad for words (and perhaps destined to become a new anthem for the loved ones of veterans lost in the fog of war) Written by the Aussie chanteuse about the loss a lifelong friend, a young man named Liam O'Flaherty who died in a motorcycle accident at the age of 24. Already a notable hit back home and a standout moment on her fourth CD.
Artist: Robbie Williams, England
Notes: 007-laced UK smash from the cheeky British popster, but couldn't catch a cold in the US. A household name in ever corner of the world - except on these shores - he's sold nearly 60 million records around the globe to date His label spent a fortune trying to break him over here a few years ago (but only Emily Boldon was listening).
Song: I Get Up
Artist: Quiet Hounds, Athens, GA
Album: Magaphona EP, 2012
Notes: Perhaps borrowing a couple of piano chords from Billy Joel's 'My Life' but a nice horns bridge on this fine rumbler. A deliberately mysterious outfit, an alt-rock quintet based in Athens, GA which wears masks to hide their faces. More at www.quiethounds.com.
Song: Good Days Bad Days
Artist: Richard Butler, England
Album: Richard Butler, 2006
Notes: Outstanding lost nugget from lead singer of the Psychedelic Furs, from his superbly crafted eponymous solo debut album which was described by the British newspaper, The Guardian, as 'an unexpected triumph'.