Song: Shed Their Fear
Artist: Yael Meyer, Chile
Notes: Born and brought up in Santiago, Chile, the 33-year-old singer-songwriter relocated at 19 to Boston to attend the esteemed Berklee School of Music, where she recorded her first album, 'Common Ground'. A multi-instrumentalist, now resident in Los Angeles, she has written and recorded music for several Chilean movies and much of her pretty melodic fare has been used in more than a dozen US TV shows. Just two further full-length albums to date including 'Everything Will Be Alright' from 2011, on which this lost melter is included, and 'Warrior Heart' from last year. More at www.yaelmeyermusic.com.
Song: Lord Franklin
Artist: Sinead O'Connor, Ireland
Album: Sean-Nos Nua, 2002
Notes: Lord Franklin' is a traditional English folk ballad which has been recorded by several artists including Bob Dylan. Originally known as 'Lady Franklin's Lament', the song documents the loss of Royal Navy officer Lord John Franklin during a daring and doomed expedition to chart the Northwest Passage in 1845. (Franklin's two ships were found last September near King William Island). It's from a sadly long-deleted Sinead CD comprising her beautiful treatments of a dozen or so traditional folk numbers. More at sineadoconnor.com.
Song: I Want To Break Free
Artist: Queen, England
Album: The Works, 1984
Notes: Remembered for the priceless video parodying the British TV soap opera 'Coronation Street' in which all four members of Queen dressed in drag, with the moustachioed Freddie Mercury strutting around doing the hoovering. Amazingly as strong a rock/pop belter as it was, it only reached #45 on the Hot 100 - no doubt in part due because MTV wouldn't play the video. Although Mercury wrote the majority of the band's signature hits, his fellow bandmates all managed to score Top 3 UK hits as writers - 'We Will Rock You' (Brian May), 'Radio Ga Ga' (Roger Taylor) and this track by John Deacon. The Robert de Niro-produced movie about Mercury's life has been delayed after Sacha Baron Cohen quit the project over reported creative differences with the group's remaining members. The equally brilliant Ben Wishaw has now stepped in to play the role - a better decision than May and Taylor's attempts to replace Mercury with the likes of Paul Rodgers and Adam Lambert in their live performances.
Song: Pale Rider
Artist: Field Report, Milwaukee, WI
Album: Marigolden, 2014
Notes: From their sparsely elegant introspective sophomore long-player, one of the year's best, it neatly mixed some electronica flourishes to the otherwise rootsy Americana fare. They're a six-piece folk outfit from Milwaukee firmly led by a chap called Chris Porterfield, hence the band's anagrammatical name. He was originally in a band named DeYarmond Edison fronted by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, before putting Field Report together while recording their 2012 self-titled debut. Personally invited to tour by the likes of Aimee Mann, Counting Crows and Emmylou Harris, they're playing half a dozen dates this month before heading to the UK to introduce their music to a new audience. More at fieldreportmusic.com.
Song: Anymore of Two
Artist: Mindy Smith & Matthew Perryman Jones, Long Island, NY/Levittown, PA
Notes: L&F alumni trading beautiful vocals on a tender winner, a one-off single which came and went unnoticed in January 2013. Smith, who grew up in Long Island, eventually ended up, naturally, in Nashville. Her early career was strongly supported and nurtured by Dolly Parton, indeed her breakthrough recording was a cover version of Dolly's 'Jolene'. She's released five albums since 2004, and was instrumental in the release of last year's 'Shelter Me' compilation, bringing together the likes of Peter Bradley Adams, Trent Dabbs, Kate York and Perryman Jones, to contribute tracks to help animal shelters and pet adoption, highlighted in the PBS series of the same name. Since performing his first gig at the venerable Eddie's Attic acoustic venue in Atlanta in 1997, Perryman Jones has produced a collection of ace music, but still remains largely unknown. Originally from Pennsylvania but also based in Nashville, he has had dozens of song placements on TV shows over the past seven years including 'Private Practice' and 'Bones'. He's also one of the original members of the 'Ten Out Of Tenn' collaborative. More at their respective websites - mindysmithmusic.com and mpjmusic.com.
Song: You & Me
Artist: Disclosure featuring Eliza Doolittle (Flume Remix), England
Album: Settle, 2013
Notes: A cunning remix by Flume of a recording by two long-time L&F preferred vendors with this tightly squeezed electronica winner which was used to empathetic effect in a Lacoste TV commercial last year. Disclosure of course has broken out big time over the past couple of years as one of Britain's finest and most in-demand electronic outfits - they're the groovy English electronic duo of young hipsters and siblings, Howard and Guy Lawrence, while Ms. Doolittle's real last name is Caird - a Londoner in her mid-20s, and the daughter of John Caird, a reknowned theatre director whose work has been seen at both the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre, and Frances Ruffelle, an actress who won a Tony Award for her performance in 'Les Miserables'.
Song: It's That Simple
Artist: Act As If, Los Angeles, CA
Album: Steady, 2014
Notes: The gorgeous closing track from their recently released sophomore album. The band is a tight Los Angeles-based indie-rock quintet fronted by singer-songwriter Peter Verdell and featuring Sara Lindsay on keyboards. Verdell worked in A&R for Drive-Thru Records during the mid 2000s, before setting out to create his own music. In May 2010, his debut 'There's A Light' was released and the song 'About Saying And Meaning Goodbye' was used by Apple for its OS X Lion demo video. More at actasifmusic.com.
Song: Feeling Good
Artist: Nina Simone, Tryon, NC
Album: I Put A Spell On You, 1965
Notes: Never a hit in the US despite 50 cover versions by the likes of Julie London, Freda Payne, Sheryl Crow, Muse, Michael Bubl', eels and George Michael, the iconic standard was composed by English songwriters Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley for the 1964 musical, 'The Roar of the Greasepaint - The Smell of the Crowd', which starred Newley. The irrepressible North Carolina native, known at 'The High Priestess of Soul', passed away in 2003 at the age of 70 in France, but her legacy continues and later this year Netflix will air the documentary 'What Happened, Nina Simone?'.
Artist: Weepies, Cambridge, MA
Album: Say I Am You, 2006
Notes: So many delightful undiscovered acoustic numbers just lying in the vault from the married duo of Deb Talan and Steve Tannen. They're originally from Cambridge, Massachusetts, where they were both solo artists until they met at one of Tannen's shows at Club Passim. Their debut album, 'Happiness', emerged a couple of years later, since when there have been a further three albums. Their music making has been put on hold with the news that Deb had been diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2013, but has been in remission since last June. More at theweepies.com.
Song: Never Be Your Man
Artist: Tom Lark, New Zealand
Album: Tom Lark EP
Notes: A sprightly winner from the antipodean tunesmith's upcoming EP. Not much is known about young Tom, other than he's from Christchurch in New Zealand but is now based in Australia. He describes himself as a 'bedroom born alt-pop' musician and just getting started, with a couple of singles on iTunes and some free songs available on Soundcloud. More on him at tomlarkmusic.com.
Song: You'll Lose A Good Thing
Artist: Barbara Lynn, Beaumont, TX
Notes: Recently reissued on vinyl where it has clearly always belonged, a lost soul sapphire which was a Top 10 hit from way back in 1962, recorded at Cosimo Matassa's legendary J&M studio. Unusually for the period when she broke through, Lynn wrote nearly all her own songs and is also a fine southpaw guitarist. Born and, remarkably, still based in Beaumont, Texas, now in her 70s she's toured with all the R&B greats over the decades. In a recent interview, she said, 'Some people call me a legend, and sometimes I feel like I did pave the way for the women playing now. I'm not a bragger. These young women today, they are fantastic. It's a new generation and I love it. I just thank and praise God for the talent he gave them.'
Artist: Gregory Alan Isakov, South Africa
Album: The Weatherman, 2013
Notes: One of so many lost pearls housed on his disgracefully underloved 2013 opus, recorded mostly in solitude outside the quiet mountain town of Nederland, Colorado. It was a stripped down, literate, clean, melodic, organic affair - no fuss, no bother, just good music throughout and a mostly quiet, pensive collection of which he said, 'I think the songs I chose are about noticing the beauty in normal, everyday life. I wanted to make something that felt genuine. We recorded everything with analog gear and mixed it on tape, which gives the songs a raw and vulnerable feeling.' He's back on the road this week with a six-week tour through to the beginning of March. More at his splendid website gregoryalanisakov.com.
Song: Prayer In C
Artist: Robin Schulz & Lilly Wood and The Prick, Germany
Album: Prayer, 2014
Notes: The rather nifty radio edit of a track already huge all over Europe, but still a hit-in-waiting over here. The in-vogue German DJ, remixer, producer and all-round clever chap added his magic to a song originally recorded by French-Israeli folk-pop duo Lilly Wood and The Prick in 2010. Still in his 20s, he came to prominence last year as the electronic whiz behind the Mr. Probz smash, 'Waves' and his album is full of similarly smart remixes and updates, including his dazzling edit of Coldplay's 'A Sky Full of Stars'. He has a few West Coast dates coming up this week. More at robin-schulz.com/en/.
Song: My Silver Lining
Artist: First Aid Kit, Sweden
Album: Stay Gold, 2014
Notes: This delicious folk-pop ditty from the sister act of Johanna and Klara Soderberg picked up airplay on the more tasteful radio stations last year. They became critics' darlings a couple of years ago and good to see that Columbia Records snapped them up for their third album. They finished a successful US tour back in November. More at thisisfirstaidkit.com.
Song: Winds of Change
Artist: Fitz & The Tantrums, Los Angeles, CA
Album: Pickin' Up The Pieces, 2010
Notes: The lead-off single from the debut album by an LA-based neo-soul/indie pop combo fronted by one Michael Fitzpatrick and featuring the fabulous co-lead vocals of Noelle Scaggs. Founded in 2008, the band was hailed by Rolling Stone magazine as a band to watch in 2011. Their second album, 'More Than Just A Dream' followed in 2013 and the single, 'Fool's Gold' last year with a new long-player on the horizon. Their quirky but accessible catalog has been much used in TV commercials over the past couple of years including spots for Wells Fargo, Reebok and Argos. More at fitzandthetantrums.com.
Artist: Tyler Hilton, Palm Springs, CA
Album: Forget The Storm, 2012
Notes: In a dual career as a musician and actor - he appeared in One Tree Hill and played a young Elvis in the movie Walk The Line' - Hilton's musical output has been sporadic, with a gap of eight years between his second and third albums, although November saw the release of his new album 'Indian Summer'. This track features the sweet harmonies of Taylor Swift's backing singer Elizabeth Huett. Recently engaged to his lovely Canadian girlfriend, actress/singer Megan Park, find out more about him at tylerhilton.com.
Artist: Chris Rea, England
Album: Shamrock Diaries, 1985
Notes: A lovely lilting roller written for the British singer-songwriter's daughter. Some J. J. Cale influences are evident throughout his work, especially on this number. A proud Yorkshireman from the north of England, he initially worked for his father's ice-cream business before picking up the guitar at the relatively late age of 22, serving his apprenticeship in a couple of blues rock outfit before launching his solo career in 1977. He's released an astonishing 25 albums since then, of which only one is available in the US but he's a pop/rock staple around the rest of the globe. More at chrisrea.com.
Song: Old Skin
Artist: Olafur Arnalds featuring Arnor Dan, Iceland
Album: For Now I Am Winter, 2013
Notes: Hypnotic and beautiful - hard to believe from this tender treat that the artist was formerly a drummer for hardcore metal bands Celestine and Fighting Shit. He's a 20-something Icelandic multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer with a very diverse canon already under his belt. In addition to his metal work, he scored a ballet called 'Dyad 1909' in 2009 and contributed a track to the 'Hunger Games' franchise the following year. He also notably provided the deft audio accompaniment to the unmissable original 'Broadchurch' UK TV drama series in 2013. More at olafurarnalds.com.
Artist: Coldplay, England
Notes: The unmistakable sound of Coldplay on a typically robust and melodic winner, the only non-instrumental track from the recent Angelina Jolie-directed 'Unbroken' movie, otherwise scored with aplomb by Alexandre Desplat. The band have recently announced their next album will be their last, but in the meantime is hoping that they can add to their Grammy total next month with three nominations. More at coldplay.com.
Song: You Will Find Me
Artist: Andrew Ripp, Palatine, IL
Album: She Remains The Same, 2010
Notes: A first-class lost nugget from a singer-songwriter who emerged in 2008 with the album 'Fifty Miles To Chicago'. He followed it two years later with 'She Remains The Same', from which this track comes, since when there have been two more albums, the most recent being last year's 'Simple'. In 2009 he performed for US military personnel in the United Kingdom, Belgium, Norway, Germany, Italy and Turkey, as part of the Armed Forces Entertainment division of the Department of Defense which has now been operating for 60 years and which hosts some 1,200 shows a year. More at andrewripp.com.
Song: I Am A River
Artist: Foo Fighters, Warren, OH
Album: Sonic Highways, 2014
Notes: The splendid final song from the last episode of the first-rate 'Sonic Highways' series on HBO which was conceived and executed with his usual exuberant intelligence by Dave Grohl. If you missed it, it was an ambitious but ultimately riveting eight-episode series documenting the Foo Fighters travelling to eight legendary recording studios in eight American cities, surveying each town's rich music history and then recording a new song in each of the studios, each one specifically influenced by what they'd seen and heard. The band soon hits the road for a series of dates around the world, which won't hit these shores until July. More at foofighters.com.
Song: Nonfiction Love Song
Artist: Jillian Edwards, Dallas, TX
Album: Galaxies And Such (EP), 2009
Notes: Beautifully crafted harmonies, dreamy lyrics, clearly too good for the general cognoscenti, from a Texan singer-songwriter who relocated to Nashville after she graduated from Baylor in May of 2011. Check her out on facebook - just add jillianedwardsmusic. On her fbook thing, she says 'I want to make music forever and ever, even if it's in coffee shops until I'm a cute, little old lady.'
Song: The Man Comes Around
Artist: Johnny Cash, Kingsland, AR
Notes: A lost classic by the late, great Johnny Cash and one of the last compositions he wrote, the signature moment and title cut of his final album, produced by Rick Rubin. Littered with biblical references: two guitars, a piano, an electric organ and some soul-shaking trademark vocals and that's all you need. Much used, and rightly so, in more than a dozen film soundtracks and TV shows, needless to say it never troubled the Billboard Hot 100 despite being one of the finest recordings of 2002.
Song: Thinking Big
Artist: Martin Gallop, Canada
Album: Most Beautiful Song, 2014
Notes: Lost & Found's Song of 2014: on the face of it merely an unassuming little folk ditty - but a close listen reveals unmatched quality - remarkable that after 100 years of popular music composition, a musician can still compose such a simple, lilting, beautifully modest tune married to such kind-hearted and romantic lyrics which have never before been thought up before. This A+ acoustic shuffler comes from a Canadian born singer-songriter, who at the age of 20 left his birthplace and travelled to Germany to pursue his craft. In 2000, he won the Canadian National Songwriting Contest and used his prize money to record his debut album 'How Much Is The World'. He's released four lovely albums to date, the most recent being last year's 'Most Beautiful Song'. He now lives full-time in Berlin. More at facebook.com/martingallopofficial.
Song: 100 Days 100 Nights
Artist: Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Augusta, GA
Album: 100 Days 100 Nights, 2007
Notes: Sounding for all the world like it was recorded in the mid-'60s, but actually nailed as recently as 2007, an old-school belter recorded using analog equipment in the soul-reviving Daptones Records in-house studio. Formerly a backing singer for another underrated L&F soul alumnus Lee Fields, Jones teamed up with members of the soul-revival group, the Soul Providers, to form Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings in the mid-1990s. Devoted to faithfully recreating the R&B funk sound of the '60s and '70s, they've built a loyal niche following ever since with six soul-stuffed long players available. They have a couple of upcoming dates next month and are hoping their Grammy nomination for Best R&B Album brings them a win. More at sharonjonesandthedapkings.com.
Song: I Will Follow You
Artist: Rivvrs, San Francisco, CA
Album: Hold On [EP], 2014
Notes: Fresh-as-a-daisy, catchy and replete with the perfunctory foot-stomping lads chorus which is becoming a tad tiresome (Mumford & Sons are squarely to blame for that trend). Rivvrs is the performing name of folk-pop tunesmith Brandon Zahursky, who's based in San Francisco where he's developing a loyal following. More at rivvrs.com where you can download this song.
Song: Fallen Angel
Artist: Robbie Robertson, Canada
Album: Robbie Robertson, 1987
Notes: Way ahead of its time with delicious world music flavors and rhythms, with the splendid aural concoction made all the better by a sterling guest turn from Peter Gabriel on co-vocals and keyboards and superb drumming by World Music great, Manu Katch'. Robertson, The Band's primary songwriter, wrote the song about his former bandmate Richard Manuel who died the year before Robertson released his debut solo album, the self-titled opus produced by the ever-creative Daniel Lanois which came out in 1987. Robertson has never had a hit single in the US, although Rod Stewart had a smash with his composition 'Broken Arrow' in 1991. Although he hasn't released any new music since 2011's 'How To Be A Clairvoyant', The Band was inducted into the Canada's Walk of Fame last month. More at robbie-robertson.com.
Song: Everyone Says Hi
Artist: Claudia Brucken, Germany
Album: The Lost Are Found, 2012
Notes: A fleshed out synth-pop treatment of a song written and recorded by David Bowie for his 2002 album 'Heathen'. Formerly the lead singer of Propaganda and Act, she began releasing solo material in 1991. If the electronic back-drop to this number sounds very Orchestral Man in the Dark it's with good reason - it was produced by OMD co-founder Paul Humphreys, who was Claudia's professional and personal partner from 1996 until they separated in 2013. She signed with the esteemed Cherry Red label last year, releasing the album 'Where Else' in October. More at claudiabrucken.co.uk.
Song: Face In The Crowd
Artist: Lionel Richie featuring Trijntje Oosterhuis, Tuskegee, AL/Holland
Album: Just Go, 2009
Notes: Critics come and go but the ex-Commodore just keeps on going, untroubled by fashion, hype, what's hot or what's hip - he just simply creates great tune after great tune, this one coming from his under-appreciated 'Just Go' collection from 2009. He's set to make his first appearance at this year's Glastonbury Festival with the Dalai Lama opening for him, no less, and there's a likelihood that he will be in residence at The Venetian in Las Vegas. Helping out on this duet is Dutch pop singer, the unpronounceable Trijntje Oosterhuis, who will be representing the Netherlands in this year's Eurovision Song Contest in May. More at lionelrichie.com and trijntje.nl/en/.
Artist: Dee Carstensen, Rochester, NY
Album: The Map, 1998
Notes: Born in Maryland, she grew up in Rochester, New York, where her father was a biomedical engineer at the University of Rochester. At the age of eight, she was chosen by the Eastman School of Music to study harp with a harpist from the New York Philharmonic. She was spotted by famed vibes player Mike Mainieri, who subsequently married her in 1993, when her debut album, 'Beloved One' was released. She released a series of interesting albums through 2006, when she was diagnosed with liver cancer which subsequently required a transplant. In 2008, she wrote and performed 'Dance Grace Dance', with her husband playing flute and vibes, for two-year-old Grace O'Gorman, who had also been diagnosed with cancer. Nothing from her since, but the good news is that young Grace celebrated her ninth birthday last year.
Artist: A Lanky Swede, Sweden
Album: Soon, Soon, Soon, 2012
Notes: L&F featured a couple of songs from the same album a couple of months back from the strangely-named A Lanky Swede. He is in fact Ola Kl'ft, the leader of The Perishers, but now on what seems to be a permanent sabbatical from that band. He moved to Vancouver in 2010 and released his solo debut 'Soon, Soon, Soon' in 2012. The following year he was back gigging in Sweden, but there's no news of any new material.
Song: Don't Stop Me Now
Artist: Foxes, England
Album: Not available
Notes: A bluesy, jazzy, big-band reimagination of Queen's 1979 UK Top 10 hit recorded specifically for a BBC TV promo for the latest season of 'Dr. Who', in which Foxes will make an appearance. Foxes is the performing name of Louisa Rose Allen who was born in Southampton, a major port in the south of England. The 24-year-old, who won her first Grammy as the featured vocalist on Zedd's 2013 hit 'Clarity', which was named Best Dance Recording at last year's awards, is now based in London. Check out her fab maiden album 'Glorious' as well as the suitably stylish accompanying video clip for this number, filmed on board the Orient Express. More at iamfoxes.com.
Artist: Fink, England
Album: Hard Believer, 2014
Notes: Simple and repetitive but so effective, a persistently haunting track from the creatively ever-restless singer-songwriter/guitarist Fin Greenall. He got together in 2006 with Tim Thornton and Guy Whittaker in the leafy north London outpost of Hampstead to initially form a trio called Fink and he switches between the solo and band name. John Legend enlisted his talents for a track called 'Move' which appeared on the superb '12 Years A Slave' film soundtrack issued in 2013. More at finkworld.co.uk.
Song: The Great Escape
Artist: Patrick Watson, Canada
Album: Close To Paradise, 2006
Notes: A singer-songwriter/pianist, whose work maintains a consistent melodic melancholia and haunting thoughtful lyrics and vocals. Clearly reminiscent of Nick Drake with a little bit of Jeff Buckley and Rufus Wainwright, Patrick Watson is also the name of his band. He's lived in Canada since childhood though was actually born in California and incongruously began his music career in a high school ska band. More at adventuresinyourownbackyard.com.
Song: Snow On The Sahara
Artist: Anggun, Indonesia
Album: Snow On The Sahara, 1997
Notes: The refreshing cool beats of an Asian artist who has sold more records as an international performer than any other (PSY doesn't count), and yet she remains largely unknown on these shores. She is a talented and telegenic singer-songwriter born in Indonesia, then based in Paris for many years before settling in Montreal, where she has been for the past decade. This is her signature song, released on her first English-language collection. She has a loyal following overseas - and a few years ago was appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations. More at anggun.com/?lang=en.
Song: Every Night
Artist: Jamie Cullum, England
Album: The Art of McCartney, 2014
Notes: One of 42 tracks from a various artists compilation of Paul McCartney's work, featuring Brian Wilson, Billy Joel, Bob Dylan and Harry Connick Jr. among others. Arriving on the scene with a bang back in 2003 with his album 'Twenty Something', Cullum has assembled an impressive body of work, eschewing mainstream success which was his for the taking and instead covering a wild range of genres and career choices - among them hosting a weekly show on BBC Radio 2. He's currently touring the US, opening for Billy Joel on a few dates, promoting his latest album 'Interlude'. More at jamiecullum.com.
Song: Every Night
Artist: Paul McCartney, England
Album: McCartney, 1970
Notes: Written in 1968 while McCartney was on vacation in Greece, the song was worked on for the 'Get Back' sessions but ended up never being recorded by The Beatles. Instead it made its first appearance on his first solo album, recorded on February 22nd, 1970 and released in April of that year. The septuagenarian shows no sign of slowing down, still touring regularly and currently riding high in the charts on a collaboration with Kanye West. More at paulmccartney.com.