Song: Me & Tennessee

Artist: Gwyneth Paltrow & Tim McGraw, Los Angeles, CA/Delhi, LA

Album: Country Strong (2010)

Notes: Outstanding conscious coupling from Tim and Gwyneth, but somehow not even a hit on the country chart, let alone the main Hot 100 survey. A first-class Nashville nugget from the Country Strong movie, in which they also took the lead roles. The song was written especially for the film by Paltrow's husband, Chris Martin. Paltrow had an earlier hit from another movie, Duets in 2000, on which she paired with Huey Lewis on a lovely perky pop cover of Smokey Robinson's Cruisin'.

Song: Wake Me Up

Artist: Aloe Blacc, Orange County, CA

Album: Lift Your Spirit (2013)

Notes: Written by Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III and Tim Berglng, better known as Aloe Blacc and Avicii, and a number 1 record in more than 20 countries in Avicii's original form, but wonderfully reworked here in a solo acoustic version. Blacc, of Panamanian heritage who grew up in Laguna Hills in California, became an overnight success last year despite making music for almost two decades. He has a very wise business head and doesn't take any nonsense from the normally avaricious and deceitful record business. Married last autumn to the Australian rapper Maya Jupiter and they now have a daughter with the enchanting name of Mandela.

Song: Liquidator

Artist: Harry J All Stars, Jamaica

Album: Liquidator - The Best Of The Harry J All Stars (2003)

Notes: The delicious hammond organ runs played by session musician Winston Wright are just wicked on this rocksteady ruby from 1969. Harry J was Harry Zephaniah Johnson, a legendary Jamaican reggae producer and studio owner: his Harry J Studio became home base for several albums by Bob Marley in the 1970s and also hosted the likes of The Rolling Stones, Grace Jones and The Who. The ace rhythm section heard on this cracking number include Aston and Carlton Barrett who went on to become Wailers with Marley. Harry lost his battle with diabetes at the age of 67, passing away in April 2013, but left a remarkable and influential legacy. Chelsea Football Club have been playing this reggae rumbler before kick-off at their Stamford Bridge ground since the 1970s.

Song: Go Gentle

Artist: Robbie Williams, England

Album: Swings Both Ways (2013)

Notes: Some delicious horn runs and a spot of cool whistling gracing this old school pop ditty, universally ignored by all and sundry - although the Lebanese made it a Top 5 hit. A clever and simple affectionate delight written when his daughter was born with the promise to always protect and love her. In a recent interview Willams said, 'Go Gentle is a promise I'm making to my daughter. It was written when she first arrived on the planet and I'd been a selfish popstar for most of my life and then all of a sudden I've been asked to take care of this whole person. I still am scared that I'm not up to the task! One of the biggest pop stars on the planet over past two decades - he is reportedly worth north of 100 million - but he's never scored a hit in the US.

Song: Over You

Artist: Ingrid Michaelson featuring A Great Big World, Staten Island, NY/New York City, NY

Album: Lights Out (2014)

Notes: A new modern classic, sheer class, superior emotive genius on an insanely beautiful diamond recorded with A Great Big World - the duo of Ian Axel and Chad Vaccarino, who broke through big-time with what will prove to be this year's best-selling ballad, Say Something. The chamber orchestral arrangement which graces the song half-way through takes this gem to a different level.

Song: Bound By Love

Artist: Gran Bel Fisher, Sabina, OH

Album: Full Moon Cigarette (2006)

Notes: A well-crafted, pop-rock riffer from one Jesse Littleton, who's from the single-stop light town of Sabina, Ohio. Astonishingly he's only released one long-player to date, on which this number is housed, and which was hailed by the Associated Press as the 'most overlooked album of the year'. He flies well under the radar but reemerged in 2012 with one new cut. More at

Song: Recollection Phoenix

Artist: Willie Nelson, Abbott, TX

Album: The Great Divide (2002)

Notes: Interpreted with wizened class by the inimitable Mr. Nelson - so understated, so cool in its stripped down inflections - this terrific ballad was written specifically for Willie by Matchbox 20's Rob Thomas. They spent two days together just playing music to each other. Willie, who is Rob's idol, especially liked the line Judging by the silence you might think the road has made her colder' and decided to record it. One of three Thomas compositions on the album, all worth checking out.

Song: Moon Memory

Artist: Popcult, Denver, CO

Album: Popcult [EP] (2011)

Notes: Lovely strings kissing the underbelly of this number from a tight rock quartet fronted by Justin Renaud and based in Denver. They freely admit to being influenced by the Britpop glory of early Coldplay and Muse. Around for a couple of years, much of their music is available for free. Check out their website at

Song: Everyone's Waiting

Artist: Missy Higgins, Australia

Album: The Ol' Razzle Dazzle (2012)

Notes: Earnest and true as always from her third album and her first in five years which is littered with underloved gems. It hit number 1 back in her native Australia but came and went all too quickly over here. Co-produced by her friend and another fine songstress, Butterfly Boucher. A big time vegetarian, eco-warrior and political activist, she's heavily involved in trying to save the Great Barrier Reef down under.

Song: Seasons (Waiting On You)

Artist: Future Islands, Baltimore, MD

Album: Singles (2014)

Notes: Old school, nu-school synth pop with a modern rock twist from a new album. Fronted by Samuel T. Herring, the new wavers got together in Greenville, North Carolina in 2006 before relocating to Baltimore and are now signed to the top-drawer pioneering British indie label, 4AD, for this, their fourth album. 4AD was formed by music maestro Ivo Watts-Russell way back in 1979 and which has counted the likes of David Byrne, Camera Obscura, Iron & Wine, The Pixies and The Cocteau Twins on its amazing roster.

Song: Come Back Now

Artist: Cody Fry, Chicago, IL

Album: Keswick (2014)

Notes: Recorded on a microphone in the singer's living room, with no editing or overdubs, no artificial flavors, just one simple authentic take - and all the better for it. A former jingles writer now calling Nashville his home, he's currently touring with L&F alumnus Steve Moakler and indeed was in the backing band for another L&F favorite, Ben Rector, on his US tour last year. Check out current or future dates at

Song: Fall

Artist: Cider Sky, Los Angeles, CA

Album: Fall [single] (2012)

Notes: A catchy modern rock bubbler released a couple of years ago from an electro-acoustic duo based in Los Angeles fronted by a female singer from Hamilton, Ontario who goes by the name of Simon Wilcox. Her website states Simon WIlcox is a singer/songwriter with a boy's name and this is her website ( She's one of Canada's top contemporary songwriters, securing several placements for her tunes on TV and film soundtracks, including the Tobey Maguire flick, Brothers and the provocative HBO series, Hung. She's released a brace of solo albums and one EP.

Song: Finally Found Our Way

Artist: Amy Stroup, Nashville, TN

Album: Tunnel (2014)

Notes: Already a longtime L&F preferred vendor, the Nashville-based Stroup with one of several engaging cuts on her new sophomore set, which represents what she calls a process of healing and a place to express the small self-actualizing truths I've learned over the last couple of years. She is also one half of the Sugar & The Hi Lows with cohort Trent Dabbs - and they're currently collaborating with the Nashville Ballet Company for an original ballet set to the iconic music of Johnny Cash.

Song: Make Up Your Mind

Artist: CherryCase featuring Rebecca Roubion, Lexington, SC

Album: Make Up Your Mind [single] (2013)

Notes: An acoustic combo formed by leading light Jake Etheridge in 2006 and influenced by the likes of Ryan Adams, Dashboard Confessional and Coldplay, featuring a new L&F favorite artiste, the lovely Rebecca Roubion. Various worthwhile tracks available on their bandcamp page:, and his own website is also worth checking out, This weekend, an estimated 125 million people watched the annual Eurovision Song Contest, which this year included an Etheridge co-write, Calm After The Storm, performed by Dutch duo The Common Linnets.

Song: So Good To Me

Artist: Chris Malinchak, Brooklyn, NY

Album: So Good To Me (2013)

Notes: A big hit across the big pond last year though kept off the top spot by the dreadful, derivative, all-round unoriginal and damn tacky Get Lucky monster smash. Set on creating cool, modern electronic progressive pop, this American DJ and producer began playing piano at the age of three and became quickly obsessed with music. If you listen carefully, you should be able to make out the rather clever use of a sample of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's If This World Were Mine from 1967.

Song: From Nothing

Artist: Wild Ones, Portland, OR

Album: Keep It Safe (2013)

Notes: An intriguing indie-pop curiosity from a six-piece based in Portland, aggregated in 2010 but nearly disbanded in 2012 after guitarist Clayton Knapp blew his eardrum, drummer Seve Sheldon suffered a punctured lung and they were running out of cash. But they persevered and were signed up to the well-groovy Party Damage Records indie label and finally got their debut album out. More on them on the label site,

Song: Little Triggers

Artist: Elvis Costello, England

Album: This Year's Model (1978)

Notes: One of the most metaphoric, erudite and clever tunesmiths in rock history at his tongue-twisting best on a lost corker from his mighty 1978 classic LP which still sounds fresh today. The album was his second outing with his tight Attractions backing unit featuring the wonderful Steve Nieve on piano and all things keys related. The long-player stands at Number 98 on Rolling Stone magazine's Top 500 albums of all time. There's a really worthwhile deluxe version now available with loads of extra tracks and a live disc thrown in for good measure. He's playing selected dates in the US next month, just a couple of months before he turns 60. For more, check out

Song: Love Is Enough

Artist: Bandit Heart,

Album: N/A

Notes: A lilting, loving, slow waltz winner with a deft piano, banjo combination, sweet as pie, proving that more often than not, simple is best. Obscure track which arrived at the L&F offices anonymously, but it certainly made the grade for the vault. Any L&Fers listening that know more about this mystery act, please drop a line to

Song: Different Pulses

Artist: Asaf Avidan, Israel

Album: Different Pulses (2012)

Notes: Shades of Macy Gray in his vocal style - and nothing wrong with that - because astonishingly this voice belongs to a man - who doesn't mind that his vox is often assumed to be that of a soulful female. It's a huge compliment he said, I don't get bothered if they think it's a black woman, as long as the song moves them. This is from his solo debut, which followed three earlier longplayers with his band the Mojos. He scored an unexpected breakout smash a couple of years ago with an EDM remix of his Reckoning Song, a huge hit across Europe. Jerusalem born, the son of diplomats for the Israeli Foreign Office, who also spent part of his childhood in Jamaica.

Song: Candlelight

Artist: Paul Cook & The Chronicles, England

Album: Candlelight (2012)

Notes: No fuss, no bother, just a simple melody and an endearing vocal from an obscure young London-based singer-songwriter, with a tender treat released as a single to universal disinterest in 2012 on the Grandpa Stan indie label. A few other worthwhile tunes are available at - not much information on Mr. Cook, but plenty of music. His musical tastes include The Shins, Kurt Weil, Cass McCombs and Paul Simon and in an interview with Idol magazine described his music in three words - jangly, heartfelt and bollocks.

Song: American Tune (unfinished demo)

Artist: Paul Simon, Newark, NJ

Album: The Complete Albums Collection (2013)

Notes: The demo version of this extraordinary composition which saw the light of day on a boxed-set from last year, which also contained other demos and rarities - a privileged insight into the creative songwriting process of a certified genius. Lovers of classical music will know that Mr. Simon can't take credit for its melody. That belongs to Johann Sebastian Bach in whose St. Matthew Passion it appears as a chorale. Bach, in turn, requisitioned it from Hans Leo Hassler and his tune Mein Gmut ist mir verwirret.

Song: What Do You Want From Me'

Artist: Monaco, England

Album: Music For Pleasure (1997)

Notes: Major strains of New Order - and no wonder, this group was assembled by the group's bassist, Peter Hook. He teamed up with studio tape operator Paul Potts to form the band in 1995, and they went on to record just two albums together, though they reunited last year when Potts joined Hook's latest combo, The Light, which he formed after quitting New Order in 2007. This terrific rock chugger was once used in the hilarious and seminal hidden camera UK television series called Trigger Happy TV starring Dom Joly - which is at least ten times funnier than MTV's 'Punk'd'.

Song: Picture In A Frame

Artist: Tom Waits, Pomona, CA

Album: Mule Variations (1999)

Notes: Great music doesn't need to be any more complicated than this. How can one man impart so much while saying so little? The iconic tunesmith conceived this song while sitting in eight lanes of traffic on an LA freeway. If you're interested in top-drawer, fascinating musician websites do head over to - extraordinary images, words of wit and wisdom, superb videos and music - a real treat.

Song: Hurricane Jane

Artist: Black Kids, Jacksonville, FL

Album: Partie Traumatic (2008)

Notes: An indie pop weekend shuffler borrowing Sam Cooke's 'Another Saturday Night' lyric - though clearly bringing it forward a day from an indie-rock quintet based in Jacksonville, Florida, which is far more popular in London, England than on its home turf. They got together in 2006 and released their debut two years later. Since when - nothing, although their lead singer Reggie Youngblood did release the single Taylor Swift last year. (Apparently they took time off to get their college degrees.) They have some East Coast US dates coming up in August. For more go to

Song: A Night To Remember

Artist: Shalamar, Akron, OH/Los Angeles, CA/Chicago, IL

Album: Friends (1982)

Notes: So many contemporary acts have been jumping on the '70s disco bandwagon (think Bruno Mars and Daft Punk), but no one has come close to some of the original treasures, especially this drop-dead perfect dance floor percolator. As with many disco and dance acts, the key to their best music was always the songwriter/producer - often one and the same. In the case of Shalamar they were only at their best when overseen by the great producer Leon Sylvers III who brought the golden touch to everything he recorded. Shalamar's golden period was 1978 through 1983 when they scored a string of feet-moving hits - the quintessential lineup boasted Jeffrey Daniel, Howard Hewett and Jody Watley, who all went on to successful solo careers - but nothing matched their glory days as a disco unit. Check out for an extraordinary live performance by Daniel.

Song: Soft Pedals

Artist: Modern Skirts, Athens, GA

Album: All Of Us In Our Night (2008)

Notes: Breezy easy-flowing, off-beat, off-key, bit of a stoners 420 curiosity but still winning. A staple in the always vibrant young rock scene in Athens, still rated by Rolling Stone magazine as the Number 1 College Music Town in America - the venerable home base of the B52s, Widespread Panic and those R.E.M. retirees. The alternative rock quartet have been together for about a decade with three albums to date. More on them including a free download at

Song: When The Cold Comes

Artist: Peter Bradley Adams, Birmingham, AL

Album: The Mighty Storm (2014)

Notes: From his consistently literate new offering, the ever reliable Mr. Adams arrived on the scene more than a decade ago as part of the duo Eastmountainsouth, which released one perfect eponymous album in 2003. He's cut five delicious solo sets since 2006 - each one of them simply packed with understated, modest and thoughtful precious lost Americana gems. He's on the road at the moment. For dates, go to

Song: Four Strong Winds

Artist: Neil Young, Canada

Album: Comes A Time (1978)

Notes: The late, lamented Nicolette Larson graces this track with some lovely backing vocals, on a breezy acoustic roller from arguably Young's finest album. It saw a stunning returning to the easy but literate folk of his Harvest opus, and by far his most pastoral effort. It was the only track on the record not self-penned, but composed by fellow Canadian Ian Tyson, of the vintage folk duo, Ian and Sylvia. The great, sadly late J.J. Cale provides some signature electric guitar sprinkles on this lost nugget.

Song: Strong

Artist: London Grammar, England

Album: If You Wait (2013)

Notes: Remarkable poise and vocal maturity for her age - the youthful but brooding, ethereal vocal sound of the telegenic Hannah Reid fronting an up and coming trio from England. They assembled at Nottingham University a couple of years ago and have just one long player released to date, which emerged to rave reviews last autumn. Already big news in their home country - this album is platinum-selling back there, the group recently made its major US television bow on the Late Show With David Letterman and enjoyed a sellout two-week tour of North America. More at

Song: Miles Away

Artist: Years Around The Sun, San Diego, CA/Portland, OR

Album: Miles Away (2010)

Notes: An utterly charming and rather romantic one-off lost single from a few years back. Dylan Raasch and Ronnie Dudeck formed the minimalist acoustic quartet on the West Coast a decade ago, flying well under radar ever since though this lovely cut was featured in a Corona beer tv commercial in Australia a couple of years ago. More at

Song: Part Time Love

Artist: David Gates, Tulsa, OK

Album: Never Let Her Go (1975)

Notes: Someone fully committed to a relationship seeking the same from his part time love, asking her to put all her cards on the table, to settle down and be his one and only, his full-time partner - made all the more poignant by a melody from the other side of heaven by arguably the most melodic singer-songwriter of the 1970s. Somehow never a hit for its writer, but mercifully Gladys Knight had the good sense to cover it in 1975 and scored accordingly.

Song: You And Me Song

Artist: Wannadies, Sweden

Album: You And Me Song [single] (1994)

Notes: Influenced by the music of The Go-Betweens, The Clash and The Pixies among others, this now defunct Swedish band fronted by Par Wiksten had a brief moment in the spotlight with this catchy tune, which somehow avoided the Billboard Chart back in 1996 when it was reissued as a single following its original inclusion on their 1994 CD Be A Girl. For some reason it inexplicably became the go-to track for plot lines of murder and suicide in the British TV soap opera Coronation Street, although Baz Luhrmann used it more appropriately in his Romeo And Juliet movie. When the band folded in 2009, WIksten set out on a solo career.

Song: Just Kiss Me

Artist: Rachel Taylor, Boston, MA

Album: It Would Seem [EP] (2010)

Notes: A rather cute affectionate pop shuffler with a retro-electric guitar rhythm refrain from a Boston-based songstress and guitarist. She is an alumnus of that city's venerable Berklee School of Music and a founding member of the folk-roots trio, Maeve. Her most recent EP, Heartbreak Is For Everyone was produced by Peter Hayes of the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. For more on Ms. Taylor, check out

Song: Ghost In The Machine

Artist: The Fire & The Sea, Los Angeles, CA/Miami, FL

Album: Ghost In The Machine [single] (2013)

Notes: The close-harmony class and soul-searching of L&F alumni Kyler England and Adrianne Gonzalez, recently uniting as a new duo. They initially got together in 2008 as part of the quartet The Rescues, becoming known for their song My Heart Is With You, which was featured in Pretty Little Liars and last year England had a successful collaboration with DJ Tiesto on the track Take Me. Their maiden EP will emerge this year and this is a promising preview.

Song: Walk On The Wild Side

Artist: Joseph Arthur/Lou Reed, Akron, OH/Southampton, NY

Album: Lou (2014)/Transformer (1972)

Notes: A reverential version of the Lou Reed classic from a tribute album featuring twelve of the artist's finest songs. Arthur is currently on the road promoting the new record ( Seguing into the mercurial original, which was defined by Herbie Flowers' notable walking bass line. Flowers, booked for the session but not knowing for whom, suggested using his stand-up double bass and then overdubbed the electric bass ten notes higher. The standard pay scale for a three-hour sessionback in the early '70s was about $20, but because of the overdub he was paid $40. Undoubtedly money well spent.