You Sing, I Write: March 2009

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

You Sing, I Write Layout Revamp

Last night when I logged into my Blogger account I noticed a layout upgrade that I figured I should do since the blog hasn't changed too much over the past year. Unfortunately, while reformatting I lost most of my html and template design so I've been fixing it up little by little today.

The sidebar was the portion that needed the most work and thankfully I was able to post all the interviews and blog links that were previously displayed. I also added a poll to the sidebar (right after the interviews) that I'd love you to participate in, and even give me ideas for. The first poll question for this week is "Who was your favorite boy band?" Definitely a topic of much debate! (Backstreet Boys are mine in case you're wondering.) I love reading your comments and I really want this blog to be more interactive, so vote in the poll and leave me suggestions on what types of questions you'd like to see in the future.

As my readers, I really value what you favor on the blog so speak up! I've been talking with a bunch of friends about some tweaks I plan on making here and there, but I'd love to know your suggestions as well. Is there way too much text on the sidebar? Do you care about the Twitter updates, or should I just delete that? Send me your feedback so I make sure you keep coming back to You Sing, I Write!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Band of the Week: Shirock

With their soaring guitar textures and catchy vocal harmonies, at times comparable to that of U2's Bono, Shirock are well on their way to taking over the music scene with their debut release, Everything Burns. A solid release of well produced tracks and moving lyrics, the band's press release states, "Shirock makes music that capitalizes on the transformative power of rock & roll and its ability to move and inspire people," and I couldn't agree more.

While their pop-rock sound is arena friendly, it's the message behind the music that leaves the biggest impact. The intro to the title track of their album includes a moving monologue that states, "People today are trying to define themselves by what they get out of life; what they wear, how they look, how much stuff they have, what kind of car they drive. I've done a lot of funerals and never yet have they eulogized the person for any of that kind of stuff . . . It's all about relationships. Were they kind? Were they generous? Do they help others? . . . The people you touch are your real legacy. You're not defined by what you take from this world . . . You're defined by how you impact other people. It's been said there are only two ways to live. You can either love things and use people or you can love people and use things."

The Nashville-based quintet is doing a lot more than making music. Partnering with local charities working to solve homelessness and poverty, Shirock have created a non-profit organization called Everything Burns. Recently, all the proceeds from their February tour dates went to local charities.

Straight off showcases at Austin, Texas' annual South By Southwest music festival, frontman Chuck Shirock has talked about the songs on the album, stating: "They're our lives, our relationships, our friendships within the band. They're our pursuit of trying to figure out life; who we are, who God is, and how it all makes sense. It’s all of that put to music."

Having their music featured on MTV's "The Hills" and NBC's "ER," Shirock are making a name for themselves. With their touching lyrics and ongoing charity work, Shirock is setting a precedent to all emerging bands in the music industry and continues to branch themselves apart from the crowd.

For more on Shirock be sure to visit them on MySpace and their Web site and catch a show when they're in town!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ray LaMontagne on SNL

I fell in love with Ray LaMontagne's song, "You Are The Best Thing" a few months ago right before his album, Gossip In The Grain was released. Since then, the rustic singer-songwriter has been receiving rave reviews from the likes of Rolling Stone and even fellow singer-songwriter John Mayer, who has called LaMontagne, "so pure, it's arresting." Mayer continued his praise in a blog post writing, "I think Ray LaMontagne is as brilliant as any artist that has ever lived." Pretty strong compliment right there.

I'm super excited to see LaMontagne live this Thursday. As a preview to my upcoming concert review, I figured I'd post his recent performance on Saturday Night Live. You can view the videos below, I'd love to know what you think!

Watch LaMontagne as he performs "You Are The Best Thing" on Saturday Night Live.



Ray LaMontagne playing "Trouble" on SNL.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Follow My SXSW Adventures on MarieClaire.com

I know I've been overloading you with content from South By Southwest, so I'll give you a break this weekend. I'm exactly halfway done transcribing all my interviews, so if you haven't yet be sure to read my already posted interviews on Jason Reeves, Tyrone Wells and Meiko (click on each artist's name and it'll bring you directly to their interview).

In the meantime, you can also catch up on all my recaps on MarieClaire.com here. I still have to type up my interviews with Anya Marina, Dlugokecki and Parachute so be on the lookout for those next week.

And, to download some free SXSW music (yes, it's legal) from Tyrone Wells, Anberlin, Paper Route and more click here. With all this SXSW coverage it's almost like you were there with me! Any takers on attending next year?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Song of the Week: "Untouchable"

I don't know about where you live, but here in Jersey it's just over 60 degrees and the perfect weather to drive around with your sunroof and windows open blasting music. At least that's what I did today! I have to tell you, after being in Texas where the temperature was 80+ then coming home to 30 degrees wasn't the nicest transition, but it's okay because today made up for the past few days!

This brings me to this week's "Song of the Week," Luna Halo's "Untouchable." It is one of those perfect summer songs. After seeing them live and replaying their MySpace page over and over again, I cannot get this song out of my head! Turns out Taylor Swift must love it just as much as I do since she has covered it in the past. You can listen to both versions below. Which do you like better?

For a stream of Luna Halo's song "Untouchable" click here. You can also watch it on YouTube.

Below is Taylor Swift's acoustic cover of "Untouchable."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Q&A with Tyrone Wells

With close to 2,000 bands playing in Austin, Texas for the annual South By Southwest music festival it's hard to stand out as a musician. But Tyrone Wells makes it look easy. After seeing Wells perform, you won't be able to forget him.

Known by many for his inspiring live performance, Wells talked to me about his most recent release, Remain, whether he'd rather someone witness his concert live first or hear his album, and the inspiration behind some of his music.

"Music to me is not a way to see dollar signs; it’s an honest expression of my soul," Wells said. Now if only every musician felt that way. Read on for my exclusive interview with Tyrone Wells and be sure to download his song "More" as well as other breakout artists from SXSW for free on Amazon here.

Is this your first time at South By Southwest?
It is my first time officially, yes. A couple years ago I played for a distribution company as an independent artist that was distributing my record, but that wasn’t an official showcase or anything. So this is my first time really. I’m very excited.

Do you prepare for a festival differently than a regular tour?
Not really. I’ve toured so much that I look at it as any other show. The sets are so short so we have to do some thinking about all the songs we need to cut and everything.

How do you go about picking what songs to play?
That’s a really hard thing for me to do. To a certain degree, you play to the crowd and whatever you think will go over best, then you put your strongest forces in the front. It’s really only five or six songs is what it is.

Is there a different type of audience at a festival vs. your normal show?
This one specifically is. There are people that just come to watch, but a lot of it is industry people. They are very different than just someone who comes to listen to your music. This is different than when we play other music festivals in cities. That is great because there are people who are there to hear music and have a good time. But, I do love playing festivals, it’s great.

Are you more nervous at a festival like SXSW since there’s so much hype?
This festival, there’s a lot of buzz about it and people are like, “It’s so important.” But it’s been my experience that, realistically, everything in my career has just been one step at a time. It’s not like everything is going to change over night because of something that I do here. At least, that’s my perspective. I could be surprised and maybe my whole world could change, but for the most part I feel like it’s always a marathon and never a sprint and this is just mile 15 of the marathon.

So tell me about your latest record, Remain. This is your second major label release?
Yes, this is my second release on Universal Records, but I’ve done four independent releases. My fourth independent release got picked up by Universal and then my most current record on Universal was my second record that they’ve released. So, it’s my first time having a major label behind me when going in to making a record. It was a really great experience. I recorded some of the songs in London and worked with a producer named Martin Terefe who did Jason Mraz’s last record and James Morrison’s first record, and a lot of different artists that I really like.

How was the recording process different this time around?
I think the biggest difference is that for the first time I had more of a recording budget and therefore, I didn’t have to cut corners everywhere. In the past it’s been a shoestring budget so it’s really great to have a label behind me.

What was the inspiration behind the album? Did you do anything different on this release?
The last album I think I probably wrote 30 songs, but this current one I wrote 60 or 70 songs and tried to just pick the ones that I thought were the best, which was really hard. There are songs that I recorded that I’m so afraid are going to fall to the waste side, that I really love. In those terms, I wrote a lot more and I worked with three different producers this time instead of just one. This record was a lot more, I want to say epic or emotional lush in its production than previous works. My last record was definitely more sparse, this one has a more full band sound.

Would you rather have someone see you live first or hear your record?
That’s a good question. I guess I don’t mind how they hear me first as long as they’re listening. I think for me, the majority of my fan base has been because of live shows just because I’ve played a lot. Also, just word of mouth. Friends showing friends the music. It’s hard to answer. Either way, as long as they come and listen I’m grateful.

I love the lyrics in your song “More.” What was the inspiration behind it?
It’s funny. A little side note on that song, it almost didn’t make the record because I had written the chorus with a friend of mine. Loved the chorus but didn’t like the verses that we wrote. So when I was in the studio I was messing around with it and showed it to another friend of mine and we decided to take a crack at writing different verses and a different bridge. And we did right there on the spot and then recorded it that same day. So the verses and the bridge to that song were written the same day they were recorded, which lyrically and musically was a really cool thing that came together so quickly. It became the first single on the record, that’s the one that’s on the radio.

It’s really the age old search of mankind to find more meaning, whether it be faith in God or faith in humanity or hope for a better day and hope that we can see people loving each other in this world and coming together instead of always separating. Less selfishness and more togetherness. I think everybody who hears that song plugs their own life into it and whatever is more for that person is what they draw from it.

I met a girl who really wants to write screen plays and she adopted the song as her mantra. For me, it was the age old search for God and connecting to him and finding more meaning in that. I love playing “More” live.

What makes you stand out from the other bands at SXSW?
I’ve been asking myself that question. There are so many musicians here. Honestly, I’m doing my best to be really vulnerable and honest. Music to me is not a way to see dollar signs; it’s an honest expression of my soul. I think that’s true for a lot of artists, but it’s definitely true for me. I think something that’s unique about what I do is, I have people tell me all the time at shows that they cried or they were weeping or they were really moved by what I have to share. So, if you really want to cry come to my show. No [laughs]. People laugh a lot at my show too. I don’t know. It’s just an honest expression and I feel like it’s a good experience. I lot of people tell me that they walk away feeling really inspired and that’s the highest compliment that I could receive and I love that and I’m grateful for that.

What would you be doing if it wasn’t for music?
It’s really hard for me to say. I’m sure I could find several things that I would enjoy. I think maybe something in teaching or counseling. But, because there is music I guess I don’t have to worry that much about it. I would really like to be that guy that when he’s 70 he’s still writing songs because I love the process.

To listen to some of Tyrone's music and find upcoming tour dates, be sure to visit him on MySpace.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Third Eye Blind Debut New Tracks at Packed SXSW Showcase

By midnight Saturday festivalgoers were getting antsy awaiting Third Eye Blind's set. Their first-ever performance at South By Southwest, 3eb didn't disappoint. Taking the stage to screams around 1 a.m. the band debuted eight tracks off their upcoming release, Ursa Major, due out this summer.

After nearly two-minutes of instrumental, Stephan Jenkins took the stage at Stubb's exuding energy. Jumping and dancing around throughout his 15-song set, often teetering close to the edge of the stage, Jenkins threw roses into the crowd while singing first single off the album, "Non-Dairy Creamer." Not an entirely unexpected track, diehard fans sung along word for word. However, this wasn't the case with most of 3eb's set.

In fact, at points the crowd was almost silent bobbing their heads along to the heavy bass and percussion beats to new and unfamiliar songs. Though, from the look of the crowd around me, most were impressed with the new tracks. Known for his quirky onstage banter with the audience and unique lyrics, frontman Jenkins still has staying power after all these years.

Before introducing the audience to the new tunes, Jenkins told the crowd, "We have in fact finished our fourth album," to which screams erupted throughout the venue. Some new songs included "Bonfire," ballad "One in Ten," a song Jenkins played solo and said is about a recent crush he had on a girl who was a lesbian, and "Why Can't You Be." While the new music isn't a huge stray from what 3eb fan's are used to, it definitely is more rock heavy than earlier albums.

The energy at Stubb's was undeniable and when old hits like "Jumper" and "Never Let You Go" were played everyone was singing along. "We never got to play South By Southwest before," Jenkins told the crowd. He seemed almost surprised at the turnout and positive reception of the new tracks off the unreleased album, which he told festivalgoers will be out sometime this summer. "To have you all put out your hearts and energy tonight is not lost on us and we are thankful."

While many of the tracks are more politically influenced than showcased on previous albums, slower songs like "About To Break" sound refreshingly familiar. Last full-band song of the night was crowd favorite, "Crystal Baller" before the band ended the show with an acoustic sing-along.

Whether Third Eye Blind was playing their older hits or new tunes from their upcoming release, one thing is certain — their fan base is bigger than ever and they had the crowd screaming for more well after their 70-minute set was over.

For more info. on their album release and to listen to new tracks be sure to visit Third Eye Blind on MySpace and their official Web site here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Q&A with Meiko

I caught up with singer-songwriter Meiko shortly after her Wednesday afternoon showcase at South By Southwest. From having her self-titled debut album hit No. 1 on the iTunes folk chart to being a featured artist on the SXSW homepage, 2009 is definitely the year for this songstress and she couldn't be more content. “I’m really happy that things are being well received and I’m happy to be here again and I’m happy that I have fans. I’m going to keep on doing what I’m doing and keep on making music and hopefully I’ll have people to listen.”

Touring with the likes of Joshua Radin and the Hotel Cafe tour, Meiko appropriately describes her music as indie pop-rock folk. Read below for my interview with Meiko as she talks about South By Southwest, her music and adjusting from living in a small town in Georgia (population 808) to the busy city of Los Angeles.

Is this your first time at SXSW?
This is my third time. It’s been really cool. I don’t feel like a veteran really; I still feel confused as to where everything is. But I know that I really love Austin so it’s nice to be in the city and eat the BBQ and hang out with the locals.

Do you prepare for the festival any differently than your typical performances?
Not really. I just call around to all my friends and am like “Hey, are you in town? You want to play the show with me?” It’s just a cool time to get together with old friends and play music, which is pretty much what it should be.

What would your advice be for people who have never been to SXSW?
I would say get the wristband so you can go to all the cool shows that you want to and I’m sure it helps to be over 21. A lot of the places are 21 and up. Check the weather. I was packing all kinds of pea coats and big boots and stuff but someone told me it was so hot here and it was cold a couple weeks ago. So bring a lot of sundresses and girlie, cute stuff.

I read that you used to have stage fright.
Yeah. I don’t really anymore. When I started singing in public I was about eight-years-old and I was very, very, very freaked out. I always thought that people were against me. When I was singing I would think, “These people hate me” and “Why am I doing this to myself?” I hated performing in front of people, but it was something that I would make myself do. It was something I wanted to get over because secretly I enjoyed it, but I got so nervous.

When I moved to LA I asked a lot of people’s advice and they would say play as many shows as you can because that’s how you get over it. So, I took that advice and I played as many shows as possible — playing in somebody’s living room. Eventually things got better and I started really enjoying playing in front of people. I always take advice from my friends and one of them said, “Maybe you should say thank you after a song or try to say something and introduce a song” because I would just play song after song after song. That’s where it started that I was more comfortable and I felt like the crowd was on my side — when you have that open communication. I love talking to the crowd now.

Do you ever hold back as a songwriter because each song is like your diary?
If it’s anything super personal, I write in a way where the listener may take a completely different thing from it. I don’t give the whole story, but I give enough where it makes me feel satisfied that I have completed the song without giving too much away.

I love your song “Boys With Girlfriends.” What’s the story behind it?
I was really good friends with a guy. He was my best friend and he had a girlfriend that really got jealous and thought something was going on between me and him when there wasn’t anything. It was a very innocent and awesome relationship and she got in the way a lot and eventually she sabotaged my friendship with her boyfriend. I was very, very, very hurt by it. I don’t have my friend anymore, but I have a song. The even trade I say, which I don’t know if it’s that even.

You used to waitress at the Hotel Café in California and then eventually started playing there. How did that come about?
I played there once before I started waiting tables there and I met the owners and told them, “I love this place so much! One day I’m going to ask you for a job and you’re going to have to give it to me.” About a month after I said that to them I had gotten fired from waitressing at this Indian restaurant and I called the Hotel Café owners and said, “Hey, remember a month ago when I said if I needed a job for you to give me one? Well, I need one.” They were very cool about it and they hired me as a waitress and the rest is history really.

What’s your advice to people who want to make a career in the music business?
I always tell people to get a job. Get a job anywhere involving music and it’ll inspire you being around all that music and it really connects you with people. Not just networking and giving out your demos, but you actually establish friendships with these people and that’s what happened with me. When they needed someone to play or someone canceled they’d say, “Hey Meiks, can you fill in for so-and-so” and I’d be like, “Of course I can!” And that’s just the way it happened and it was awesome and I loved it.

One of your songs was featured on “Grey’s Anatomy.” Did you watch the episode?
I did! It was awesome! I’m a big fan of “Grey’s Anatomy” from the beginning so it was really cool. It is crazy to me how well songs are placed in shows like that. It was amazing at how good they are with what they do. I actually got to meet Katherine Heigl the other day. I didn’t have the guts to say, “My song was in your show.”

You’re signed on MySpace Records. Do you feel as an artist you need to be on a label?
No, I don’t think you need to be on a label at all. I think the cool part about these days is nothing is set in stone and there’s no exact formula for doing anything. I considered staying independent and not signing with a label. The reason I did sign with a label was because the whole reason I’m playing music and getting it out there is because I want as many people as possible to hear it. I figured I could only do so much by myself and it made sense to sign with someone that are marketing geniuses. MySpace.com has been insane for the music industry and so I went with them because I knew that that would help the awareness.

Do you have a dream collaboration?
Yeah. I would love to work with the guys from The Postal Service. It’s just so cool what they do and all that electronic stuff. That would be really cool.

Was there a moment that you thought to yourself, “Okay, I’ve made it”?
No, no! People are always like, “What’s it like? You’ve made it!” I don’t know if I really feel like I’ve made it. The moment that I do feel like that is when maybe I can sit in my backyard by the pool or something and, not necessarily money wise, but just where I can be comfortable and happy and proud of what I’ve done and I don’t think I’m done yet. I feel like I’m still truckin’ along.

What motivates you as a musician? When you were waiting tables, what kept you going?
Seeing everybody else living their dreams — that was motivational. I watched a lot of really cool bands come through there. It was cool to hear the different songwriting styles and the different personalities onstage. It was really inspiring to me and it made me want to go home and write and it made me want to play more shows. And what still motivates me now is seeing as many shows as I can see. Definitely with South By Southwest that’s what I’m going to do.

What’s your typical songwriting process like?
I try to carry a notebook, but I rarely write in it. I sit in my house. I have a lot of guitars so I keep a guitar out and about in every room, which doesn’t say much because I live in an apartment. But I keep one in the living room, keep one in the bedroom and whenever I have an idea or I’m bored I’ll just pluck away at something and then I just come up with something. It’s not like a certain time of the day, so I don’t really have an exact way of doing it.

You’re originally from Roberta, Georgia where the population is 808 people. How big of an adjustment was moving to LA?
It was really difficult. It was pretty scary to come from a tiny town where everyone knows you and you feel really safe. There’s no crime. And then you move to LA. It was very overwhelming. I was really scared to leave my house for a little while. In a small town you grow up with all these ideas of how big cities are. I’m thinking, “Oh, I’m going to get mugged.” And eventually I got out and I did wake up in the morning and get a cup of coffee by myself and I started meeting people and it got a lot better. It has taught me that these ideas that you grow up with aren’t always right. I go back home and I talk to my friends and they’re like, “I could never live in Los Angeles, it’s so crazy!” and that’s what I thought, but I did it and I love it now. I’m a big cheerleader for LA.

Be sure to give Meiko a listen on MySpace and catch a show when she's in town!

Monday, March 23, 2009

SXSW Mobile Updates

Have to be honest, it doesn't feel great to be back home when the weather is seriously 40 degrees colder than it was in Texas! While I'm working on typing up my 3eb review and Meiko interview, I thought I'd post a few pictures I took with my cell phone while attending South By Southwest. Everything from the plane shot (above), to my first taco and some bands I saw.

My first Texas taco platter at this cute little joint cleverly called Taco Shack. If you're thinking about planning a trip to SXSW next year this is a must eat.

Anya Marina playing at the Filter showcase a short while after my interview with her.

One of the guys from Virginia based band Parachute rocking Stubb's Saturday afternoon.

More of Parachute. For some reason my cell phone pictures came out a lot better than my digital camera . . . I think I need a new camera.

White Lies' set Saturday afternoon at Stubb's right after Parachute. Again, ditto on the cell pics.

White Lies again.

Stephan Jenkins of Third Eye Blind ending the festival Saturday at Stubb's around 2 a.m.

If that's not enough for you, be sure to read the rest of my blog as well as MarieClaire.com for my SXSW adventures and I'll type up these interviews as fast as my fingers will let me so stay tuned for more in the upcoming days!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

SXSW: Day Four Recap

Yesterday went much faster than I had wished. As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end and Saturday was definitely bittersweet. As much as I didn't want to leave Texas and the music heaven that is SXSW, I really don't think my body could have lasted another day of 10+ shows and endless interviews.

By Saturday I was feeling the stress of too much sun, standing endless hours for multiple shows a day and lack of sleep, but I didn't mind because I knew I'd be catching Third Eye Blind later that night. What better way to end SXSW then a 70-minute set by 3eb?

I barely made it up by 1 p.m. yesterday and spent the rest of the afternoon preparing for two interviews later that night. At 6 p.m. it was time to head over to Stubb's to catch Virginia-based band Parachute. With infectious pop melodies and heartfelt lyrics, the five-piece band have been making a splash in the Virginia music scene and it's only a matter of time until they'll be in heavy radio rotation. With a mix of pop rock gems and jazzier saxophone-infused songs, comparisons include Maroon 5 and an older, more mature Jonas Brothers. In fact, the band has played with the Jo Bros., most recently in Times Square for New Year's Eve.

Having their song "She Is Love" featured in a Nivia commercial and their debut full-length album due out later this year, Parachute is a band to definitely keep on your radar.

White Lies was up next at Stubb's and wowed the crowd with their atmospheric rock and heart thumping bass and percussion beats. A band on most festivalgoers' must-see list, White Lies reminded exhausted SXSW attendants what live music is all about.

Once their set ended I rushed back to the hotel to catch UK band Dlugokecki perform in the lounge. Playing emotional pop-rock songs, the band's set was nothing short of impressive with frontman Ben Dlugokecki's quirky onstage banter. The rest of the band proved to be just as comical when I interviewed them after their performance. A lot of talk about being President Obama's favorite band, wanting to be the first band to travel to space, and the difference between American and English audiences, each member was definitely a character. Stay tuned for the full Q&A soon.

After the interview I headed back to Stubb's where there was quite a line outside the venue to see 3eb. Indigo Girls were performing by the time I walked inside. Playing a nine-song set including new tracks from their upcoming independent record dropping next week, it was evident much of the crowd were fans as they were singing along word for word. I've never seen a band change guitars as much as this two-woman band did, but the crowd didn't seem to mind. Playing classic American folk, they had the Stubb's audience's attention.

At the airport about to board my plane back to Jersey, but I'll be sure to fill you in tomorrow on Third Eye Blind's solid 70-minute show last night as well as the songs they debuted off their upcoming release — due out later this year. Hope you can take the suspense until tomorrow to find out!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

SXSW: Day Three Recap

I woke up early Friday to head to Cedar Street Courtyard for my interview with Anya Marina. Before her set, Anya talked to me about the inspiration behind some of her songs, her recording process (which involved recording one song topless to get the right vocals for the song) and overcoming people's expectations of her not making it in the music scene. I'll be posting the full Q&A in the upcoming days, so check back for that.

Anya's performance was nothing short of enjoyable. The California native had all in attendance laughing along to her stories about eating goat milk yogurt for breakfast, quitting her job to be a musician, and visits to her therapist. Highlight of the set was stand-out single "Move You" and her acoustic cover of T.I.'s "Whatever You Like."

Next band up for Filter Magazine's showcase was the phenomenal Idle Warship. Truly a must-see the band, consisting of Talib Kweli, Res, and Graph Nobel among others, Idle Warship had every hand in the courtyard raised in the air during their energetic set. The Brooklyn/Philly/Toronto members had the crowd rocking so hard at one in the afternoon, you would have thought it was 1 a.m. on a Saturday night. Highly recommend catching them if you get the chance as their impeccable blend of rock, R&B and rap is impressive.

While Idle Warship was a hard act to follow, New Hampshire-based Wild Light held their own introducing some indie music to the crowd. Wild Light definitely had the indie diehards support in the audience while performing in the scorching Austin sun.

Next band I caught at the Filter showcase was Manchester band The Whips and boy did they have the crowd's attention. From the energetic fans surrounding me (most likely from Manchester), I felt like I was at a dance party with their computer generated electronica and strong bass and drum beats. Everyone around me was jumping with their fists pumping in the air. I headed out after their set, but still have their single, "Trash" stuck in my head.

Headed to catch Fanfarlo with the roomies after some much desired (and delicious) ice cream on 6th Street. Every indie music lover's band, Fanfarlo switched up the typical expected showcase with a variety of instruments — from clarinet to violin — they represented indie music at it's best at Emo's Annex Friday afternoon.

My favorite performance of the night goes to Jason Reeves. Playing at Live.Create. Lounge as part of VH1's Save the Music showcase, he impressed the audience with his heartfelt stories and adamant view on the importance of music in schools. Playing tracks off his most recent album, The Magnificent Adventures of Heartache (and other frightening tales), it is evident that he is a hopeful romantic as many of his tracks deal with relationships.

Before introducing "Someone, Somewhere" Reeves told the crowd the song is about "being in love and being hopeful when everyone is telling you it's not going to happen. We have to fight and stand up for that." With his hushed singing style towards the fade out of the track, you could sense the emotion in every song played throughout his set.

About VH1's Save the Music campaign, Reeves said, "What's happening in this building is so powerful. I believe music changes lives. It's one of the only truly beautiful things we have left as human beings. This is not letting music die. Please do everything you can to save music, otherwise we're all going to die."

The rest of the night was a bit of a blur as plans kept changing once realizing I couldn't catch a few bands I hoped to see (Lights Resolve, Tinted Windows, Lady Sovereign) but all wasn't lost. I caught part of Solange's set at the Convention Center. Dressed to the nine, seeing Solange and her band perform had that New York City lounge feel as the lighting and dance contribution by her and her backup singers was stellar. How she dances in those heels I'll never know, but she wowed the crowd with songs off her recent release. You can catch her set live on Direct TV so be sure to check your cable listings to be part of SXSW.

I was dying to catch Luna Halo's showcase after seeing them open for Switchfoot over a year ago. By far the best opening band I have ever witnessed, their blend of indie rock is impressive and their performance last night was nothing less than stellar.

Perhaps the most interesting venue to catch a show had to be Lisa Hannigan's set at 11 p.m. at the Central Presbyterian Church on 8th Street. While she's no doubt an impressive talent, the dimmed lighting and laid-back vibe definitely was soporific and after catching a few songs I headed back to 6th Street to catch Nashville-based band Shirock (see below).

What Shirock has been doing in relation to promoting their debut album, Everything Burns is inspiring. The band has launched a non-profit organization called Everything Burns as a way to encourage and enable people to help those in need by providing awareness of various charities throughout their tours. The idea behind Everything Burns is "not to get stuck in the mundane," said frontman Chuck. "Engaging in culture and getting involved [is what's important]" he continued. Truly a stand-up example to all musicians, I'm interested to see where Shirock will be in a few years.

Wow, totally didn't realize I caught 10 shows until I finished writing this post! Definitely the place to be for the music addict, SXSW obviously has the most versatile line-up you'll see anywhere. Didn't catch Metallica or The Decemberists unfortunately but the rest of the festival looks promising as I'll be seeing Third Eye Blind's performance tonight at Stubb's! Keep reading for updates throughout the rest of the weekend and into next week!

P.S. Hopefully I won't be losing all respect from you readers, but one of the highlights of the night had to be running into Chris Kirkpatrick from 'N Sync right off 6th Street. My inner 13-year-old obsessed boy band fan came out and I'm still regretting not taking a picture with him. I know, I'm a music journalist and gotta be professional but 'N Sync! Takes me back. Cue "Tearin' Up My Heart" . . .

Friday, March 20, 2009

SXSW: Day Two Recap

By the end of Thursday the craziness that is South By Southwest was starting to take a toll on everyone. Exhaustion hit, but good exhaustion from catching so many talented bands.

I started my day off with the roomies checking out the American Apparel sale before brunch (not much of a shopper so didn't wind up digging through the massive boxes that were there). Afterward, I met up with Tyrone Wells at his MySpace showcase for a quick Q&A. A man of many metaphors, it was refreshing to talk to someone with such a great view on life and music (see photo of his performance above). Stay tuned for the full interview soon.

Traveling by myself and going to most of the showcases solo has been a learning experience for me. I've covered shows alone before, but usually in New York or New Jersey where I'm familiar with my surroundings, so it's always a thrill to see a familiar face here in Austin.

After catching Tyrone's amazingly impressive set at La Zona Rosa (literally a 30-minute walk from my hotel — ugh!) I ate at The Parish planning on catching Lisa Hannigan's performance at 9 p.m. But, turns out I was at the wrong venue — major bummer. By the time I finished my food and realized this the line to catch her set was enormous so I figured I'd head to Stubb's and catch Gomez.

Change of plans. On my way to Stubb's I ran into the Lights Resolve guys and spent the rest of the night catching shows with them. It was so great to see familiar faces finally and I was glad to spend time with people I actually knew. First show of the night with LR was Liam and Me (definitely recommend catching if you're into energetic indie-rock pop) then As Tall As Lions then Paper Route. The drummer in Paper Route was phenomenal — I couldn't keep my eyes off of him! We ran into Joseph Gordon-Levitt on the way (Angels in the Outfield, 10 Things I Hate About You anyone?) Overall, a great end to the day. More to come in the next few days. In the meantime, be sure to follow me on Twitter!

About to head out to 6th Street to catch a night of shows, I'll have some brief show recaps for you tomorrow! Above is the view of 6th Street from my hotel window — the street is lined with tons of concert venues!

You can also read this post on MarieClaire.com.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Jason Reeves Talks SXSW

Definitely one of the most humble and down-to-earth musicians I’ve interviewed, Jason Reeves took some time out to chat with me when first arriving in Texas. His modesty is truly a testament to his character (sample quote: “I have a hard time coming up with things to say about myself. I’m just lucky that people want to ask because if they didn’t ask then I’d just be silent.”)

Perhaps most known for his co-writing efforts on Colbie Caillat’s debut album, Coco, Reeves’ latest release, The Magnificent Adventures of Heartache (and other frightening tales) is an impressive album, most notable for his strong, wear-your-heart-on-your-sleeve lyrics. Read below for Jason’s take on South By Southwest and be sure to give him a listen on MySpace and if you’re at SXSW, check out his showcases listed below.

Is this your first time at South By Southwest?
This is my third time. I came three years ago and then the year after that and I skipped last year, but I was never playing my own music I was just watching for the most part.

So this is your first year playing?
Yeah.

What is it about SXSW that attracts you as a musician?
Just the circus-like insanity of it all. Everybody comes here. The point to come is to play for people that you wouldn’t normally get to play with. For some reason, the fact that you’re playing at Southwest makes them more interested in you than they were before.

What would you tell people going to the festival to catch your showcase?
I’m a horrible salesman; I’m never going to sell anybody on myself. I feel like if they want to come watch me play, then my music is the reason they should come see it. I’m not trying to trick them into anything. I’m not a rock star; I’m just a boy that plays songs. If they like my songs then they can come watch.

What do you feel sets you apart from the hundreds of other bands that are showcased here?
I don’t know. You have to ask that question as to what sets yourself apart from the millions and billions of other people in the world. It seems like if I had to answer that I couldn’t get around the fact that I would feel like I was being an asshole by trying to separate myself in terms of, “Well I’m better than all the other bands because I do this.” I hope there’s something different in the way that I write or in the way that I sing that sets me apart in someway. Not in a better or worse scale, but just in a different scale.

Do you go about preparing for a festival differently than your own tour?
No. Actually, we’re at the end of the last leg of our own tour so it just feels the same. It’s still driving around in our van and unloading our stuff at a building and playing music. It’s weird being able to stay in the same city for more than a night though, so that’s what’s different.

What are you looking forward to most at SXSW?
Well, I was looking forward to seeing a bunch of my friends play, but I don’t think that’s going to happen now because I have to do so much. What I’m looking forward to is jumping in the river and eating BBQ. Those are two reasons I really wanted to be here.

You have so many interviews and showcases lined up. Do you get to enjoy the festival as a musician?
I have no idea what this is going to be like because we just got here about 10 minutes ago. I assume it will be more like a whirlwind where I don’t even get to notice what’s going on most of the time. I don’t think that it’s different from being at SXSW in general because it’s just crazy here. I have yet to see, so we’ll find out tomorrow or the next day.

What’s your advice to festivalgoers?
Be prepared to stand in infinite lines. Have patience. Get drunk to deal with the lines and eat as much BBQ as you can before you leave. Also, jump in rivers to escape the heat.

Where are these rivers that you’re talking about?
You have to go out of town. It’s not very far; it’s sort of out on the edges of town. There are a few rivers. One in particular that’s sort of turquoise that just looks like a magical turquoise lagoon that I remember jumping in last time we were here, so I’ll have to try to find that.

Do you have a favorite song you like to play during your set?
I like “New Hampshire” and “Gasoline.” Those are my two favorites.

Do you ever hold back in songwriting because you don’t want to reveal too much?
Well, that’s the exact opposite of what I’m trying to do. I’m trying not to hold back. That’s the reason I write. I feel holding back would only muddy it down and that would leave it less pure. I think that’s what I’m choosing to do. Being a songwriter is letting people know what’s up, which is a very weird idea. It’s not what normal people do. Everybody is so guarded and secretive with their problems and emotions and joys, but I think that’s also what causes all the wars inside of them. That’s the reason I started writing in the first place — to put that all outside of me rather than let it rage within.

Have you always wanted to be a musician?
I wanted to be Michael Jackson when I was a little kid for as long as I could remember. It wasn’t until I was 17 that I realized that I wanted to do this. When I started playing guitar and writing music I understood that that’s what I needed to do for now. I plan on doing other things, but for now its pretty much all I can handle.

Jason Reeves SXSW Showcases
:
Thursday at the Sheraton lobby (701 E 11th St) at 7 p.m.
Friday at Live.Create Lounge (503 Neches St) at 8 p.m.
Friday at The Victorian Room at The Driskill (504 Brazos St) at 10 p.m.

You can read this interview on MarieClaire.com here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

SXSW: Day One

South by Southwest is every music lover’s dream. On 6th Street alone the venues line up one after the other (and that’s only one street!). You can catch a pop band at one venue and right across the street there’s a hard rock band from South Africa playing.

You’ll be happy to know that this afternoon I successfully purchased a wristband thanks to my Twitter badge holder friend @CyndiHellen. In order to get a wristband you have to be with a badge holder and buy it off them. Weird, I know but that’s one thing accomplished and now I can get into any concert I want!

My roommates are great too! Two of them have been attending SXSW the past four years so they know all the secret spots first time festivalgoers aren’t aware of. For instance, there’s a 75 cent “airport flyer” bus from the airport to downtown Austin which saved me tons of $$$ on a cab. They also found a great taco place for lunch today, cleverly titled Taco Shack. Fellow Jersey girls (they actually live two towns next to me) I really lucked out on having some pretty awesome roommates to spend the week with.

I’m about to head out to catch Meiko’s performance at the Austin Convention Center and interview her afterwards, but here’s my tentative schedule from today. Be on the lookout for more interviews and live Twitter updates.

noon- lunch with the roomies @ Taco Shack

1 p.m. -caught The Gay Blades at Creekside Lounge

2 p.m. – waited in line and purchased my wristband

3 p.m. – interviewed Jason Reeves @ his hotel

5:30 – Meiko performance

7 p.m. – interviewing Meiko

8 p.m. – Billboard showcase

9 p.m. – The Elms showcase

10 p.m. – Lights Resolve performance

11 p.m. – Minature Tigers set

12:30 a.m. – Ten out of Tenn showcase

Still trying to figure out if I can make it past 1 a.m. stay tuned for my interview with Jason Reeves and his take on SXSW tomorrow!

You can also read this post on MarieClaire.com here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Follow My SXSW Experience on MarieClaire.com

In addition to interviewing bands for my site, I'll be blogging about SXSW for MarieClaire.com. You can check out my first blog post here, or read it below!

On a whim, two weeks ago, I booked a flight to attend the annual South By Southwest (SXSW) music festival in Austin, Texas. My first trip solo, I'm taking a few risks. For one, I don't know my roommates for the week (turns out we do have two mutual friends on Facebook so we're practically real friends, right?). Second little baby hiccup — I don't have an official badge to get around the festival yet. Just a few minor details . . .

Not your typical outgoing and in-your-face journalist, my friends have been telling me I'm being a bit ballsy since I'm flying all the way to Texas and have no idea how the week will transpire. However, I'm confident that I'll figure it all out and already have some great interviews planned with up-and-coming musicians showcased at the festival. So be sure to stay tuned in for those.

From a secret (or not so secret anymore) Metallica performance to a possibly haunted bathroom at the Driskill Hotel, I'm hoping to fill you in on the latest happenings at SXSW so you can enjoy them as much as I do while I'm there. I'll be sure to fill you in on all my musician spottings, shows I catch and exclusive SXSW interviews. You can follow my SXSW adventures on Marie Claire's Twitter as well. About to board my flight to Austin so next time you hear from me I'll hopefully have that whole badge situation figured out!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Band of the Week: Bell X1

Being that Tuesday is St. Patrick's Day I only find it fitting to feature an Irish band as this week's band of the week. Bell X1 have just released their album, Blue Lights On the Runway and have been receiving some impressive reviews.

Each song on their fourth release stands out on it's own, whether it's opening track, "The Ribs of a Broken Umbrella" with it's catchy musical accompaniment or The Doors-esque song and current radio hit "The Great Defector."

Named after the first aircraft to break the sound barrier, flown in 1947 by Chuck Yeager, Bell X1 have toured with many well-known musicians including Bon Jovi and Elliot Smith. Their last album graced No. 1 on Ireland's pop charts and their latest release is bound to do the same.

Six-minute track "How Your Heart Is Wired" showcases much emotion throughout the band's lyrics and the slow percussion beat only helps get the story across effectively to the listener. I'm not usually a huge electronica/experimental fan, but this track works for Bell X1.

Bell X1 is currently touring and promoting Blue Lights On the Runway so be sure to visit them on MySpace and catch a show if you like what you hear.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

South By Southwest Week Approaches

It still hasn't fully hit me that I'll be in Texas in less than 48 hours. I don't think I'll believe it until I land in Texas and its 40 degrees warmer than it is here in New Jersey! As a SXSW introduction, I figured I'd feature a few videos of some of the bands I have lined up to interview.

In the meantime, I'm still open to suggestions of bands to cover so if you haven't glanced over the lineup check it out here. I've heard rumors of a secret Metallica performance so I'm hoping to catch that as well as a performance by Third Eye Blind! We shall see . . . stay tuned to the blog and my Twitter for up-to-date information on what's going on at SXSW!

And now for the videos . . .

Anya Marina playing "Move You" on "Jimmy Kimmel Live."




Tyrone Wells performing "Sea Breeze."



Meiko's music video for "Boys With Girlfriends."

Friday, March 13, 2009

Song of the Week: "I Don't Know"

Lisa Hannigan has been getting quite some attention as of late. From being named one of Rolling Stone's Breaking Artists to touring with Damien Rice and Jason Mraz, Hannigan is one name that won't be disappearing anytime soon. The Irish folk singer has an airy voice with a little bit of edge to it. Her emotion-filled song, "I Don't Know" is a fanciful, yet romantic song about wanting to know more about someone who you seemingly know nothing about. Intrigued yet?

Watch Hannigan perform "I Don't Know" live on Colbert below and for more on her, be sure to visit her MySpace.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Watch Live All-American Rejects Concert

A few months ago some friends and I found out that infamous Oklahoma rockers the All-American Rejects would be playing a free NYC concert courtesy of Walmart and Axe. To watch the full six-song performance, click on the link here.

The Rejects just announced another leg of their tour supporting most recent album When the World Comes Down. If you like what you saw, be sure to catch them when they're in town! For more info visit their MySpace.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Reviews to Peruse

I've been reviewing a bunch of new albums over the past few weeks. Here are a few for you to peruse and if you like what you've read be sure to visit each band on MySpace!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

CompassionArt Releases Album to Charity

Just over a year ago I interviewed Martin Smith of UK band Delirious? about his most recent project, CompassionArt. The idea was in it's infancy, as musician friends of his were meeting in the upcoming weeks to write songs which would eventually become the album, CompassionArt, where all the proceeds are donated to charity. While this isn't the first time musicians have decided to donate a song to charity, it is a first for an album to take this route.

The versatile 15-track album features 19 artists from various musical genres, all united for one goal: creating freedom from poverty. CompassionArt will support four main charitable projects and 12 individual songwriter projects. In addition, a 50-minute DVD documentary is available upon purchase of the album. For more on the project, visit the Web site here.

I have received the album for review, but after reading fellow inReview.net writer Bert's review, I really could not have written anything better myself. Read Bert's write-up here.

For more on this great cause, be sure to visit CompassionArt's Web site or read my interview with Martin Smith here. What do you think? Do you hope more musicians follow this cause? I sure do.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Band of the Week: Jeremy Ezell and The Well Reds

I received a message via Jeremy Ezell on Twitter with a link to his band's MySpace page so I gave them a listen and liked what I heard. "Tragedy" came on first. With an eerie guitar intro leading up to Ezell's slow singing, I was intrigued and had to keep listening. The suspense grew well into the first minute and a half of the song with assistance provided by light percussion before the chorus entered and the music climaxed to a crescendo. Impressive.

Ezell's voice is familiar. His yearning is transferable to the listener, whether it's his aching in "Feeling Love" or frustration throughout "Tragedy." Jeremy Ezell and The Well Reds possess catchy choruses and infectious melodies, keeping the listener begging for more.

Ballad "Feeling Love" is relatable to many. Beginning with soft piano, Ezell sings, "Dreams don't turn out quite the way I want them to/Thoughts of you keep running through my mind/You're here tonight, you're here most of the time/Am I feeling, feeling love?/And is this feeling really love?/Am I feeling love tonight/Or am I just falling again?" The listener can feel the heartache and longing in his voice and accompanying music.

While "Forever Is A Breath" has that stadium friendly feel, "Believe In What You've Never Known" is a straight up rock song with soaring guitar textures and emotion-filled lyrics.

For Jeremy Ezell and The Well Reds, a relatively new band based in Atlanta, Georgia, one thing is certain, after a listen you're bound to have many of the lyrics stuck in your head and that's the mere hope of every band today.

Be sure to visit Jeremy Ezell and The Well Reds on MySpace and catch a show if you're in town.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

South By Southwest Bound!

After an immense amount of deliberation, I have decided to take a trip down to Austin, Texas for their annual South By Southwest (better known as SXSW) music festival! I've been debating this trip for weeks and after becoming unemployed from my full-time job back in January I wasn't sure if this would be the right decision. Alas, I think it will be a great opportunity to cover some shows, interview new bands and provide me with more inspiration for this blog and life in general!

Here's where YOU come in. Just around this time last year I went on tour with Army of Me and The Used and had tons of interviews from each band. I tend to transcribe the entire interview, because die-hard fans love to read everything about their favorite band. SXSW has hundreds of bands and shows for five days straight and to go around having 20-minute interviews with each band will be fun, but typing up each of those interviews will be grueling. What are you most interested in finding out? Do you like my exclusive interviews or do you like show reviews more? Or, would you rather me blog about my take on the behind-the-scenes setup of SXSW?

As much as this blog is dedicated to bands I enjoy and think deserve attention on the music scene, you are the people who read it and leave comments and I want to make sure I serve your needs so you can read about what you're interested in. Let me know how you'd like me to tackle SXSW. I'm SO psyched to go, but I want you even more excited to read about my crazy band stalking adventures while I'm there!

Here's a list of the bands attending. Who do you want to see covered? I'll be updating my Twitter constantly as well as Marie Claire's so you'll be able to follow me every second of the day if you so choose to. I have just over a week to prepare before I head to Texas next Tuesday, so let me know what will keep you most intrigued and glued into reading this blog! Thanks :-)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

New Death Cab For Cutie Video Released

Below is Death Cab For Cutie's new video for “Grapevine Fires,” one of the tracks off their Grammy nominated album, Narrow Stairs. The animated clip, directed by Walter Robot, was initially inspired by frontman Ben Gibbard’s up-close-and-personal encounter with 2007’s California wildfires. A moving video, you can see the toll it took on him below.



In addition, the band is set to kick off a spring tour in April with support from Cold War Kids, Matt Costa, and Ra Ra Riot. Check out their MySpace page for more info.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Song of the Week: "Live Your Life"

"Life is an interesting journey, you never know where it will take you," T.I. says introducing his music video. He continues, "Sometimes on the way to where you're going you might think, 'This is the worst time of my life.' But you know what, at the end of the road, through all the adversity, if you can get where you wanted to be, you remember whatever don't kill you will make you stronger, then all the adversity was worth it."

Cue Rihanna and the song begins. Listen closely.



I like the song so much I made it my ringtone. So, whenever someone calls me I'm constantly reminded, "Just live your life."

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Demo Review: Jamie Allen

After one listen to Jamie Allen’s demo, never in a million years would I have imagined it was written and arranged by a 13-year-old. With a voice that brings comparison to Carrie Underwood and talent that makes any 20-something musician jealous, the three-song demo CD, a mix of country and pop, is an impressive release that is just a glimpse into Allen’s bright future.

The Denver, Colorado native began taking singing lessons at the age of 10. Nearly a year later she performed a two-hour set at a local coffee house, her dad accompanying on guitar. Lucky for Allen, a radio disc jockey was getting a cup of coffee during her performance and enjoyed what he heard, asking Allen to appear as a co-host on his Internet radio show. One thing led to another and soon after Allen was in Phoenix, Arizona recording this demo release.

The three-song disc has welcoming versatility, truly a testament to Allen’s talent. Beginning with moving “Kisses from Angels,” Allen’s voice is soft, yet infectious. With a strong country vibe, she tells an aching story within her lyrics, begging the listener to pay close attention. As Allen belts out “I never was a young girl,” you can’t help but to believe her.

Second track, “Its a Girls Night” changes quickly from the more serious nature of previous song, “Kisses from Angels.” A bit edgier with a fun and danceable vibe, Allen’s honest lyrics are age appropriate as she never tries to be someone she isn’t.

Definitely a slumber party anthem, Allen describes a typical girls night that includes listening to Lil Wayne and, of course, calling boys. She begins the track singing, “Hair and makeup, popcorn and scary movies, scary movies/Drank pop sodas, my stomach don’t feel so good, not so good/Nobody has to cry, no boys can bring us down/Its a girls night/Stay up late calling boys/Its a girls night/Pillow fights making so much noise/ ’Cause its a girls night.” Simple and fun, if only life was like this everyday.

Last track, “Sugar, Please!” has a funky beat with fitting background vocals. Singing, “It’s my time/Not your time/I’ll be just fine without you” Allen gets her point across to a boy who just won’t leave her alone. At times reminiscent to an edgy Christina Aguilera, “Sugar, Please!” showcases Allen’s more soulful side, still with a hint of country-pop intertwined within the track.

Allen’s talent is evident on her release. One of the best demos I have ever heard, not to mention by a musician at such a young age, it won’t be long until Jamie Allen is a household name.

To listen to Jamie's demo visit her on MySpace. What do you think?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Musicians Take Over Television

It's been quite the week for avid music fans and television lovers. U2 has been a guest on The Late Show with David Letterman all week and they have managed to get every person in the room on their feet throughout their performances (watch below). I've been to a TV show taping before and it's definitely not conducive to live musical performances, but Bono's energy is so captivating.

Their latest album, No Line On the Horizon was released yesterday and has been receiving mixed reviews. However, like every U2 album, it's the lyrics and fitting musical accompaniment that make the greatest impact. Currently, Amazon is having a special MP3 deal for the album where you can purchase it for $3.99. For fans trying to pinch their pennies, check it out here. And to reminisce about how far they have come, listen to snippets of all their albums over the years on their Web site here. Watch the performance from Monday night on Letterman below.



Meanwhile, country pop songstress Taylor Swift will have a major role on this Thursday's episode of CSI. I keep seeing the previews and it looks very intriguing. The recent Rolling Stone cover girl has certainly had an impressive past year and by the looks of it, her popularity has only just begun. With her first headlining tour coming up this summer, you can bet this girl is here to stay.

Watch the preview of Thursday night's CSI episode below.


Monday, March 2, 2009

Artist of the Week: Lindsey Mae

Lindsey Mae is definitely an artist to watch. The 18-year-old singer-songwriter has been performing throughout Upstate New York since she was 15. Her breathtaking five song self-titled EP release was produced by Hal Cragin (A Fine Frenzy/Iggy Pop). Full of emotionally introspective songs with fitting musical accompaniment showcasing her soft, yet at times rugged vocals, Mae is one singer who is bound to make a splash soon.

A mix of acoustic pop, Mae's airy voice brings comparison to that of fellow singer-songwriters Colbie Caillat, Serena Ryder and Meiko. A remarkable release for any teen, what makes Mae stand out is her seemingly ageless wisdom within each track. The lyrics behind her songs are deep and filled with tales of love, loss and the confusion of both.

First track, "Cable Car," has a country vibe as Mae sings of heartbreak. "So call me back or call me crazy/'Cause only your love can save me now," she says. A strong storyteller, Mae draws the listener in with every word sung.

"Vitals" is a rugged and edgier track with darker guitar accompaniment. Her wavering vocals only assist in getting her emotion across within each lyric. "Papier Mache" may be my favorite track on the EP. A light ballad with soft piano and guitar intro that begs comparison to the refreshingly relaxed style of Jack Johnson, Mae's eased singing style asks for more than just one listen.

With a solid release at such a young age, I can only expect to hear much more of Lindsey Mae in the years to come. Be sure to visit her on MySpace to hear some tracks off the EP.

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