You Sing, I Write: April 2010

Friday, April 30, 2010

Song of the Week: "God Gave Me You"

I received an email about Dave Barnes' latest video "God Gave Me You" earlier this week and instantly fell in love with it. Maybe it was my sister's wedding approaching and the constant wedding talk over the past few weeks, but the lyrics and story behind the song really struck a chord. It makes sense though, considering he wrote the song as an ode to his wife, PopEater reports.

"I believe that people are built for community with each other. We often times take relationship for granted," Barnes said. "I wrote 'God Gave Me You' because I'm thankful for my wife, and how she makes me a better person."

I have a feeling "God Gave Me You" will become a popular wedding song. What do you think?

You can catch Barnes on the road promoting his latest release, What We Want, What We Get. For more, be sure to visit him on MySpace.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Meet the Artist Who Inspired Girls Who Rock

A few weeks ago, I told you about the benefit concert for She's the First I'll be helping with. She’s the First is a media campaign that promotes the importance of educating girls who would otherwise not have the opportunity to go to school. In the upcoming weeks I'll be announcing each artist performing at the June 10th show in NYC. Stay tuned!

This week, I chatted with Kelli Pyle, the singer who inspired the Girls Who Rock concert. With her sultry singing style and seductive dance moves, Pyle sings everything from R&B to blues, jazz and pop. Not to mention, she has shared the stage with Usher, Alicia Keys and John Legend. The Missouri born and bred singer now calls New York her home where you can catch her performing live. Read on to find out more on Kelli and what She's the First means to her.

What first sparked your decision to pursue a career in music?
I've always loved to entertain ever since I can remember. Music has always meant so much to me. When I was little I used to always ask my dad to turn the radio to the station that played 1930s and 1940s music and I would dance to it and feel so inspired. My mom said she used to play "P.Y.T." by Michael Jackson for me while I was in her tummy. I think it was something that I was born with. A natural love for music and to perform.

What inspires you?
This is a deep question because so many things inspire me. Something as simple as a flower, a poem, seeing the sunrise, nature, seeing others do good deeds. There are so many inspiring things around us everyday and I think sometimes we overlook them because we get so caught up in the hectic lives we live.

What are some of the obstacles you've faced?
I've had a blessed life, with good parents and a solid upbringing so that really set a foundation for my life, but I think I face the same challenges a lot of girls my age face. At some point in our lives as girls we face issues with self doubt hoping we can live up to the standard society has set for us. In the music industry the media paints a picture of "perfect women" and there is no such thing. So sometimes you find yourself comparing yourself to others and that's never good. I've learned that I'm exactly who I am for a reason I love every part of me! I'm 100% confident in who I am.

How did you overcome them?
I'm confident in what I do and the decision I make in life. I make sure that when I wake up in the morning I start off positive and I'm thankful for everything I do have. And with that I feel I can overcome anything.

What's your songwriting process? 
Sometimes it starts off as a poem, sometimes a melody, sometimes a good lyric, sometimes it's getting in the studio with talented people and feeding off their creative energy. It's all those wrapped into one big bundle that makes a good song.

What was your favorite subject to learn in school, besides music?
Anything to do with animals. I loved when we were able to study animals and nature and how the world works. I also really enjoyed nutrition and how it applies to the body. I'm passionate about eating organically and taking good care of my body so that was always interesting to me. I also really liked English, especially when we were challenged to write a story. Writing always came very natural to me and was very therapeutic. As a kid I remember writing many poems under a big white birch tree we had my yard.

What were you the first to do or what will you be the first to do?
I want to inspire people with my music. I know I won't be the first person to ever inspire someone with music, but I want to be the first to inspire someone in a way they've never felt. I want girls to feel empowered by what I stand for which is giving back, loving yourself, respecting this world we live in. This is why I'm so honored to be a part of "She's the First" because it represent the same things I do.

What's the next big thing happening in your career?
I'm working hard on promoting my Kelli Pyle album which is available and out now on itunes. I will be performing for "She's the First" benefit so I'm really excited about that. I'm taking steps everyday to climb this ladder of success and reach the top and I always want to make sure I enjoy the journey. I never want to lose sight of why I started in the beginning.

What's your favorite 'girl power' song?
I love the song "Video" by India Arie. I've listened to that song so many times to feel empowered. India Arie isn't your typical artist she is outside of the box and she is truly beautiful for that. That song allows women to really sing a song that says "Hey I'm beautiful no matter what." And I love that. It's a great thing to leave women with empowerment instead of degrading them like so many songs do in this day and age! I love it when she says "Go on and love yourself, everything is gonna be just fine." Girls need to love themselves so they can give back and love the world.

Why did you decide to get involved with She's the First?
It's an amazing cause. Girls are the future. If we can shape and mold them into strong women then the world will be a better place. Girls become mothers who set the foundations for our children. So if we start with putting girls first and giving them the love, education, and direction they need then we are securing a bright future!

Kelli Pyle's impressive debut self-titled album is available now on iTunes. For more on Kelli be sure to give her a listen on MySpace. You can catch Kelli live at Crash Mansion May 6. To find out more about She's the First, visit

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Q&A with Graham Colton

Video Credit: Wendy Hu

Last Thursday, I caught Graham Colton live when he was in Hoboken opening for Jason Reeves. After his acoustic set, I chatted with Colton for Hoboken Patch and learned about his songwriting process, upcoming release and what it's like touring with his musical heroes. You can watch the video below and read the complete interview on Hoboken Patch here.

For more on Graham Colton, be sure to visit his Web site. You can stream his EP, Twenty Something below.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New Music Seminar Introduces the New Music Business

At a recent industry night, I learned about The New Music Seminar, a two-day, three-night conference with the purpose to connect and inform music enthusiasts on how to achieve success in the music business. Whether you're an artist, manager, business executive, label or promoter, the seminar promises you will learn five things:

1. The secret to leaving your millions of competitors in the dust
2. How to turn your music dreams into reality
3. A whole new way to see the music business that will give you opportunities you never new existed
4. Simple strategies to build your touring business
5. The newest technologies and techniques to market yourself and manage your business

Each day includes numerous panels, presentations, mentoring sessions, live music and networking opportunities. Speakers for the NYC conference on July 19-21 include Pandora, Reverbnation, Myspace Music, CMT and many more. The Artist Movement “conducted” by Margaret Cho will feature superstar artists discussing how they got their break and tips on how to apply what worked for them.

I was intrigued, and sold by last year's video recap. I think you will be too.

A recent press release on the seminar stated: "Artists have never had so much power to control their own careers and build their success. This affordable event gives artists and their representatives the knowledge, tools and connections to step into the tomorrow’s music business today. Delegates all receive the New Music Business Guidebook filled with important do’s and don’ts by the experts, tips, information, forms and essential websites and blogs."

For more information and a complete schedule, visit Register by this Friday for the discounted early bird rate.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Band of the Week: 6th Street

With catchy melodies and moving ballads, electro pop duo 6th Street offer listeners much diversity throughout their danceable tracks. Whether it's the beautiful piano based "Angels Falling" or the fast paced "Try and Stop Love," Mike Miller and Grant Cook capture the listener's attention.

While their upbeat tracks are club friendly, it is their ballads that leave the biggest impact. "Angels Falling" begins with a delicate piano intro before Miller's soft vocals enter. A heartbreaking tale of questioning life, love and death, the song strikes a chord.

"Never Gone" follows suit with piano and amps up the energy with additional musical accompaniment providing a strong soundscape to the track. With what sounds like soaring string features and electronic beats in the background, the band bears striking resemblance to Owl City. Miller's vocals sound vaguely familiar and at times echo that of singer-songwriters Mat Kearney and Matt Nathanson.

Continuing to showcase their talent and ability as musicians by combining energetic beats with emotional vocals, 6th street give a new definition to the ballad. Hard to place into one genre, the duo provide a unique music experience.

Back from a recent stint of showcases at SXSW, the LA-based band will perform two New York shows this week. Tomorrow night, at Kenny's Castaways and Saturday at Arlene's Grocery. I have two tickets to giveaway for Saturday's show thanks to AMP3 PR. You can be in the running by adding the band on Facebook and Twitter and RT this blog post.

Just tweet, "@yousingiwrite I want to attend @6thstreetmusic's concert Saturday."

I'll pick a winner Thursday. Good luck!

Recommended: For fans of Owl City, The Postal Service, Mat Kearney, Matt Nathanson.

Related Links:
Artist of the Week: Ari Hest
Band of the Week: Hot Chelle Rae
Band of the Week: Athlete
Band of the Week: Murder By Death

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Poll of the Week: Which Interview Do You Want to Read First?

Over the past month, I've been all over New York and New Jersey meeting bands and various people in the music scene. Happy to report, you'll be able to watch many of my interviews in the upcoming weeks!

For this week's poll I want to know which interview you'd like to see featured on You Sing, I Write first. Feel free to leave additional bands you'd like me to cover in the comments!

Which Interview Do You Want to Read First?

Fridge Films
Graham Colton
Will Knox

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Song of the Week: "Wrong Baby Wrong Baby Wrong"

Photo Credit: Wendy Hu

One of the most beautiful voices in country, Martina McBride has been singing her heart out for nearly two decades. With uplifting songs that celebrate friendship and independence, her music strikes a chord, particularly to young women.

I was lucky enough to meet and interview McBride last summer at the CMA Music festival where she gave me advice to relay to women working towards accomplishing their goals and overcoming obstacles: "Perseverance and support. If you can get support from your friends or from your family, that’s important."

It's no surprise that current single, “Wrong Baby Wrong Baby Wrong,” is a song that celebrates the friendship and support girlfriends can have when the wrong guy is finally “gone baby gone.”

Watch the video below for "Wrong Baby Wrong Baby Wrong." I've included one of my favorite Martina McBride videos as well. What's your favorite Martina song? 

"This One's For the Girls"

Related Links:
Q&A with Martina McBride
Martina McBride and Former Miss America Speak Out on Domestic Violence
CMA 2009: Six Artists to Watch
CMA Music Festival Recap

Friday, April 23, 2010

Free Download of the Week: Athlete's "The Getaway"

Last month, I reviewed UK-based band Athlete's latest album, Black Swan. The group has been garnering quite a bit of attention and are featured as iTunes free download this week. You can watch their new video for first single, "The Getaway" below and download it via iTunes here.

Athlete return to the US this summer. See complete tour dates below.

MAY 31 Hoboken NJ - Maxwell's
JUNE 01 New York NY - Bowery Ballroom
JUNE 02 Cambridge MA - Middle East Downstairs
JUNE 03 Philadelphia PA - Johnny Brenda's
JUNE 05 Brooklyn NY - The Bell House
JUNE 06 Vienna VA - Jammin' Java
JUNE 07 Toronto ONT - Lee's Palace
JUNE 09 Chicago IL - Double Door
JUNE 10 Minneapolis MN - Triple Rock
JUNE 12 Denver CO - Bluebird Theatre
JUNE 14 Seattle WA - Crocodile Cafe
JUNE 15 Vancouver BC - Venue
JUNE 16 Portland OR - Mississippi Studios
JUNE 17 San Francisco CA - The Independent
JUNE 19 San Diego CA - The Casbah
JUNE 21 Los Angeles CA - Troubadour
JUNE 22 Phoenix AZ - Rhythm Room
JUNE 24 Dallas TX - Cambridge Room @ HOB
JUNE 25 Austin TX - Stubbs Bar-B-Q
JUNE 26 Houston TX - Walters On Washington
JUNE 28 Birmingham AL - WorkPlay Theater
JUNE 29 Atlanta GA - Vinyl
JUNE 30 Chapel Hill NC - Local 506
JULY 01 Pittsburgh PA - Club Cafe

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Artist to Watch: Amber Rubarth

Photo Credit: Wendy Hu

During Amber Rubarth's first night back in New York after touring Japan, she invited several friends to share the stage. Performing for nearly 90 minutes, Rubarth's girl next door charm and witty, emotion-filled vocals captivated all at the newly opened Stage 2 at Rockwood Music Hall.

Being familiar with the New York music scene, I quickly realized how close knit the singer-songwriter crowd is. Having interviewed numerous New York musicians, Amber Rubarth's  name has come up on several occasions as a source of inspiration. I quickly realized why last Friday.

Rubarth kicked off the night with the moving "In the Creases." With oboe accompaniment and her comforting vocals, the room stood still. Throughout the night musician friends took the stage to provide backing vocals, piano and guitar accompaniment or perform tracks of their own.

The rustic country-esque "This Is Real" showcased Rubarth and Peter Bradley Adams on vocals and Tony Maceli on bass while jazzy ballad "Full Moon In Paris" introduced Ian Axel on piano. French songstress Julie Peel took the stage for "Song to Thank the Stars," a track Rubarth joked about writing in France. "It's a lot harder to write a love song than a breakup song. So I only have one," she said.

Before crowd favorite Ari Hest took the stage, Rubarth concluded, "It's more like a party than a show tonight." And that it was. The audience, mostly filled with fellow musicians, didn't seem to mind.

Debuting her newest song, "Letter From My Lonelier Self," alone on guitar, Rubarth reminded everyone why they were there. With moving lyrics, "You'll hear the answers if you listen/When it's love don't wait to say what it is/And don't trade love for an aimless embrace of the wind/Please don't lose your love like I did," and her wavering vocals, the song struck a chord.

Original tracks "Pilot," written with Nate Campany, "Good Mystery," "Edge of My Seat" and the award winning "Washing Day," co-written with Adam Levy, rounded out the set with additional guest appearances. Ian Axel, Greg Holden and Ari Hest performed a few songs of their own before Rubarth and Hest closed the night with a cover of Tom Waits' "Hold On."

While Rubarth's touring schedule takes her to Europe next month, New York fans will be relieved to know Rockwood remains her favorite venue. "This is the greatest place I've ever been. Hands down. Expanded it's more beautiful then I ever imagined," she said.

Fellow singer-songwriter Nate Campany summed up the night. "Amber is a rare talent and we're all lucky to have her as a friend and inspiration."

For the latest tour dates and music, be sure to visit Amber Rubarth on MySpace.

Related Links:
Introducing the Vespa Experiment
The Vespa Experiment Recap
Q&A with Greg Holden
Artist of the Week: Ari Hest

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New Video Wednesday: Nikki & Rich, Sia and the xx

This week's edition of new videos are bands you should know. London based trio the xx have exploded onto the music scene over the past year and are sure to be 2010 festival favorites. Nikki & Rich haven't even released their debut album and they already have music critics and fans abuzz with their pop/doo-wop sound. And, Sia is like no artist out there. Just check out her latest music video and you'll see what I mean.

Nikki & Rich's "Next Best Thing"

Sia "Clap Your Hands"

The xx "Islands"

Related Links:
Q&A with Sia
Sia Interview Featured on Rolling Stone
Band of the Week: Nikki and Rich
Sia Interview on mp3

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Laura Bell Bundy Performs Tracks Off "Achin' and Shakin'"

The most energetic Walmart Soundtrack yet, Laura Bell Bundy dances her way into viewers' hearts. Her performances of each song off her debut release, Achin' and Shakin' are complete with a full band, cowboy backup dancers and gospel singers. Gotta love a country singer dancing in leather pants and cowboy boots.

For more on Laura Bell Bundy and her album, watch the preview below. To watch the full performances click here.

Related Links:
Meet Danny Gokey
Up Close with Norah Jones
Carrie Underwood on Walmart Soundcheck
Song of the Week: Fearless

Monday, April 19, 2010

Artist of the Week: Ari Hest

There is nothing I enjoy more than going to a concert and discovering new music. This past Friday, I attended Amber Rubarth's show at Rockwood Music Hall (review to come soon) and walked away with a list of several new artists to showcase. One singer in particular was Ari Hest. With deep vocals that bring resemblance to Mat Kearney, he captivated all in attendance while onstage.

Piano centered tracks like "Avalanche" accompany Hest's vocals beautifully. The piano never overpowers, and instead assists Hest's voice to soar in the perfect direction. "Stalking the Moon" continue to showcase his raspy vocals with light guitar picking. Throughout each song, it is the lyrics that truly move the listener. Accompanied with fitting melodies, Hest's descriptive lyrics transfer impeccably with his emotional vocals.

Ari Hest's tracks on MySpace don't do him justice, so I've included a few live performance videos below. For more, be sure to check out his Web site.

"Sleep Tonight"

"Broken Voices"

"I've Got You"

"When and If"

For fans of Mat Kearney, Tyrone Wells, Jack Johnson.

Related Links:
Band of the Week: Hot Chelle Rae
Band of the Week: Athlete
Band of the Week: Murder By Death
Band of the Week: The Young Things

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Save the Date: June 10 Benefit Concert for She's the First

My friend and colleague Tammy Tibbetts is the founder of She's the First, a global education campaign. She’s the First leverages the young women’s powerful platforms and networks on social media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube) to promote the idea that education gives every girl a chance to be “the First.”

I met with Tammy and Cynthia Hellen two weeks ago to discuss planning a benefit and quickly fell in love with the cause. The three of us are working together to host a benefit concert for She's the First on Thursday, June 10 in NYC. We're currently in the process of booking four to five female artists to perform, so if you have any suggestions, feel free to let me know in the comments!

Proceeds of the concert will  go toward sponsoring a girl in Tanzania via AfricAid. Recently, AfricAid piloted The Kisa Project, an initiative that gives a Tanzanian teen a scholarship and enrolls her in a two-year leadership training program. The girls take digital storytelling workshops and learn to share their lives with their sponsors through videos. Everyone who attends GIRLS WHO ROCK will be co-sponsors for a girl in The Kisa Project and be able to connect with her via throughout the year!

For more information on She's the First, be sure to visit their Web site and watch the video below. Tune into You Sing I Write for the latest updates and artist announcements. You can follow the makings of our benefit concert on Twitter here. Can't wait to see you all June 10!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Song of the Week: "I'm Alive"

I'm sure you all know by now I've become a huge country music fan after attending the CMA Music Festival last year. One of my current favorite tracks is Kenny Chesney's "I'm Alive" featuring Dave Matthews. A little pick me up for those days that have you wondering where you're headed, Chesney and Matthews put life into perspective with light guitar strumming and moving lyrics.

All you country fans, be sure to tune into the ACM Awards broadcast live from Las Vegas Sunday, April 18th at 8:00 PM ET/PT on CBS. Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, Brad Paisley, George Strait, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban and Zac Brown Band are up for Entertainer of the Year. You can vote for Entertainer of the Year here.

Related Links:
Q&A with Taylor Swift
Q&A with Lady Antebellum
CMA 2009: Six Artists To Watch
Hundreds of Fans Camp Out to Meet Taylor Swift

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Supergrass Split After 17 Years

Hailed by music fans and critics alike as one of the most underrated bands of the 90s, after 17 years and six albums, it has been confirmed that Supergrass will officially split after four farewell shows.

NME reports the band was in the middle or recording their seventh LP. No word on whether the album will be released.

“Thanks to everyone who has supported us over the years," said the group in a statement. "We still love each other but, cliché notwithstanding, musical differences have led to us moving on and of course we all wish each other well in the future."

Four farewell shows were announced for June. Tickets go on sale on Friday, April 16 at 9am (BST).

Glasgow Barrowland (June 8)
Manchester Academy (June 9)
London O2 Academy Brixton (June 10)
Paris La Cigalle (June 11)

I had the privilege of interviewing bassist Mick Quinn two years ago in Hollywood while visiting a friend. As part of my trip, she thought we should see a concert (of course!) so I set up an interview with Supergrass and covered the show for MTV's You R Here blog. My first interview on the West Coast, my friends dropped me off at the venue while they took a stroll down Hollywood's Walk of Fame.

I chatted with Quinn about the band's writing process, touring with the Foo Fighters, and recording his favorite Supergrass B-side backwards. Little did I realize, nearly two years later, I'd get an answer that would have me reading between the lines. But, it may provide relief for fans to know that though Supergrass have split, they won't stop making music.

When do you feel will be the time that you’ll think, “Alright, I want to retire”?
I don’t know if I’m going to retire. You could come to the end of Supergrass and what you could do with that, it’d be interesting to branch out and try other things and then maybe come back to Supergrass late in the stage. I’ve always been interested in listening to music certainly, and still very interested in music generally. You get pissed off at things and then you go and see someone else play an amazing gig and it just makes you happy about being alive.

So, maybe Supergrass isn't over after all. What do you think?

For my complete interview with Supergrass, click here. To read my review of their performance at Avalon in Hollywood  July 2008, click here.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New Video Tuesday: Featuring Dawn Landes, Kelly Clarkson, Michael Nappi

My inbox has been flooded lately with press releases and messages from bands about new releases, music videos and upcoming concerts. Since it's often difficult to blog about each artist individually, I decided to showcase new music videos every week that I think you'll enjoy. If I'm missing any must see videos, definitely let me know!

Dawn Landes' latest music video for "Young Girl" is a seductive track with catchy electric guitar and percussion accompaniment that's bound to get every listener stomping his foot. It perhaps is no surprise then, that the latest video off her album, Sweet Heart Rodeo, features cowboy boots, hats and appears to take place at a rodeo bar. Go figure.

Every time I turn on the radio I hear Kelly Clarkson's "All I Ever Wanted." More gritty than her previous singles, the track showcases an edgier sound for Clarkson. While comparisons abound to Pink and even early Spice Girls, Clarkson's signature singing style remains. Although it's an unofficial video, fans can go behind the scenes with Clarkson performing onstage and in the studio as well as see clips of a photo shoot  in action.

Back in January, I featured Michael Nappi as an artist of the week. At times, his relaxed vocals resemble Train frontman Pat Monahan. His newest video is a moving tale of the unraveling of a relationship and the impact that just one day can have. Take a listen to "7:26" below.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Ramblers Showcase New Tunes at Joe's Pub Wednesday

Brooklyn-based The Ramblers have been in the studio the past few months perfecting their upcoming release, Getting There. Wednesday night the band will debut the new album in it's entirety at Joe's Pub along with additional band favorites and special guest Amy Regan.

I first featured The Ramblers as band of the week back in September after catching their impressive live show. Blending soul, jazz, country and roots music they described themselves as "Jim Croce backed with Booker T. & the M.G.'s."

Frequent performers throughout New York, they're offering a contest to local fans. The 100th person to RSVP to attend Wednesday's show will win two free tickets and a signed copy of their latest album. For more information click here and to see The Ramblers live in action, watch the video of them performing "Picture of a Prayer" below.

Related Links:
Q&A with The Ramblers
Band of the Week: The Ramblers
The Show Goes On Despite Blizzard
New Artist to Listen For: Amy Regan

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Poll of the Week: How Do You Get Your Music News?

With Twitter now part of the everyday language and blogs taking over the Internet, I'm curious as to how music lovers get their news. Do you follow Justin Bieber trends on Twitter? Are you constantly adding new music blogs to your RSS feed? Let me know in this week's poll! Feel free to add additional outlets in the comments.

How Do You Get Your Music News?

Band Newsletters

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Watch Bon Jovi Concert Live From Your Computer

Jersey boy Bon Jovi kicks off his 2010 tour tomorrow in Dallas, Texas, and is offering fans something special. Tomorrow, Sunday, April 11th fans worldwide can tune in and rock out along with the group and their sold-out Texas audience, courtesy of a webcast powered by Ustream.

Along with four, live, streaming songs, the free concert webcast will feature a special pre-taped concert reel that includes footage of Kid Rock joining Bon Jovi on stage in Detroit, plus numerous Bon Jovi TV episodes.

To watch the band rock Texas starting at 5 pm PDT/6 pm MDT/7 pm CT/8 pm EDT tomorrow visit Ustream, or Facebook.

Additionally, if you're in a band and want a chance to open for Bon Jovi, be sure to visit to sign up. Music fans can vote for their favorite band through April 30th and the winner will get a 20 minute opening slot!

Friday, April 9, 2010

"The Runaways" In Theaters Today!

Will you be seeing The Runaways? Watch the movie trailer below and some additional footage from the band as well as clips from the film. Starring Twilight's Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett and Dakota Fanning as Cherie Currie, the film has all the critics buzzing. Love to know your reactions if you do see it this weekend!

Cherie Currie singing "Cherry Bomb" live in Japan in 1977

"Cherry Bomb" Dakota Fanning featuring Kristen Stewart

Thursday, April 8, 2010

PT Walkley Offers Versatility on Three-Song EP

PT Walkley is an artist who needs to be witnessed live. The first time I caught him in concert, I covered the show for Filter and was truly in awe. It was his record release and he had nearly a full orchestra of musicians and backup singers perfecting each song on his album from start to finish.

Having opened for Coldplay at Madison Square Garden, performed at All Points West and had his music featured in several commercials and films, Walkley has proven his staying power as a songwriter and performer. His latest three song EP (which he handed out to all in attendance at a recent show at Joe's Pub) will be showcased in Ed Burns' upcoming movie, "Nice Guy Johnny." The film premiers April 23rd at Tribeca Film Festival.

A slight departure from his previous release, Mr. Macy Wakes Alone, the three songs provide a much more upbeat rock sound. "What's What" kicks off the release with gritty guitar and seductive vocals. With additional piano and percussion accompaniment and Walkley's catchy "woah-oh-oh's" the listener is captivated right away.

"Something Else" switches gears and is more of a tongue-in-cheek love ballad. With quirky lyrics demonstrating the roller coaster tale of a relationship, Walkley intrigues. "Oh how we used to fight/We'd shout out loud 'til the laryngitis came in/You weren't my type/I didn't float your boat/I was broke and you were broken," Walkley sings at the start of the song. However, by the stories end, the character seems to have changed his tune. "Love is alive and well/Something else, something more/So much better than it was before," he concludes. With fast-paced percussion and Walkley's energetic vocals it's impossible to not tap your foot along by the song's close.

Last track on the EP, "The Radio," featuring The Blue Jackets is a much edgier rock sound than previously heard from Walkley. A track questioning the impact of radio and tastemakers, the song's aggression impresses. It perhaps is fitting then, that he name drops well known songs and musicians like Billy Joel and "Billie Jean" within the same line. "If you ain't Billie Jean or Billy Joel you're gonna come and go/On the radio, radio, radio," he sings. In the end, the song begs the question: Who is to say what belongs on the radio?

For more on PT Walkley, visit his Web site. You can listen to "What's What," "Something Else," and "The Radio" on MySpace.

Related Links:
Q&A with PT Walkley
Song of the Week: "The Lucky Ones"
PT Walkley Impresses at Album Release Show
All Points West: Music, Mud Wrestling, and Beer Gardens

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Video Wednesday: Featuring Cage the Elephant, J Lewis and Theresa Andersson

I've been receiving numerous emails debuting new videos from artists. Rather than hold off until the end of the week, I figured I'd feature some of my favorites today. There are plenty more out there, so if I missed any you've been diggin' lately be sure to leave them in the comments!

I interviewed Theresa Andersson during CMJ back in 2008 and was truly impressed by her performance. The one woman band plays multiple instruments throughout her set with the help of loop pedals. Watch her perform “Oh Mary” below. The video is the newest clip from her soon-to-be-released DVD, "Theresa Andersson: Live at Le Petit" due out April 24.

J Lewis blends pop, hip-hop, and R&B throughout his debut video "Dancin' For Me" featuring Flo Rida. His soulful vocals are sure to be a hit on the Billboard charts. Except his first album release later this year. Check out his music video below.

J Lewis Feat. Flo Rida - "Dancin' For Me" OFFICIAL Video
Uploaded by thatsfunny. - See the latest featured music videos.

Cage the Elephant sure know how to party. You can find them jumping from school buses, lighting fireworks and crowd surfing at a house party in their latest video "In One Ear." It may even inspire you to have your own house party...hopefully with minimal damage.

What did I miss? Which videos can't you stop watching? Leave them in the comments and maybe I'll feature some on the blog.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Watch Train Perform Live In San Francisco!

Their most recent single, "Hey, Soul Sister" has exploded on the charts over the past few months. In fact, it seems as if every time I turn on the radio or TV it's playing. Not that I mind.

In partnership with Walmart and Green Works, Train recently recorded a concert in San Francisco to kick-off Earth Month. Viewers can watch as the San Francisco natives play classics like "Calling All Angels" and "Meet Virginia" as well as newer tracks off their latest release, Save Me, San Francisco including "Hey, Soul Sister" and "If It's Love."

Watch a preview of the show below and for the complete six-song performance, click here.

Related Links:
Q&A with Train
You Sing, I Write's Top 5 Interviews of 2009
Poll of the Week: What Do You Want To Ask Train?
Saturday Song Addiction

Monday, April 5, 2010

Band of the Week: Hot Chelle Rae

With energetic, danceable tracks Nashville-based Hot Chelle Rae are bound to convince even the most shy wallflower to make their way to the dance floor. Combining pop rock and radio friendly choruses, their debut release Lovesick Electric grabs the listener's attention on the first track.

Forming in 2005, Hot Chelle Rae's name was inspired by one of the group’s most devoted female fans. Having toured with Third Eye Blind, The Rocket Summer, Sherwood, Black Gold and Reece, the band has been perfecting their stage show. With a catchy sound that is reminiscent to fellow pop rockers Boys Like Girls and killer guitar riffs it is hard to believe this is their debut release.

Tracks like "I Like to Dance" (listen here) and "Never Have I Ever" have an unfaltering energy while beautiful ballad "Bleed" show the band can switch things up and be more serious. A love song that holds striking resemblance to Boys Like Girls' "Two Is Better Than One," all Hot Chelle Rae need is their Taylor Swift duet. "I bleed my heart out on this paper for you/So you can see what I can't say/I'm dying here/'Cause I can't say what I want to/I bleed my heart out just for you," frontman Ryan Keith Follese sings with soaring musical accompaniment.

Watch Hot Chelle Rae's latest music video for "Bleed" below.

Recommended: For fans of Boys Like Girls, Metro Station, Fall Out Boy, The Killers.

Related Links:
Band of the Week: Athlete
Band of the Week: Murder By Death
Band of the Week: The Young Things
Band of the Week: The Bloodsugars

Thursday, April 1, 2010

What Would You Ask a Music Video Director?

Last month, I featured Hotspur's music video for  "Heads/Tails" as a song of the week (watch it below). A telling ballad questioning the future of a relationship, between the piano accompaniment featured throughout the song and watching a relationship unravel, the video strikes a chord.

I grew up obsessively watching music videos of my favorite bands and always wondered what a typical video shoot entailed. Tomorrow I'll find out when I interview director of "Heads/Tails," Josh Eisenberg. I've been preparing questions of my own, but I'd love to hear what you want to know about the process. Feel free to send me your questions in the comments!

Watch the video for "Heads/Tails" below.

For a behind the scenes look at the days spent filming the video, watch Hotspur Sound Engineer Alex Markides' footage below.


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