It is 2015 and that time of the year again when I feel like making a record ( 😉 ) of the musicians who have been really making me happy these past months with their musical offering. Of course there will be repetition from before, blame the musician. I come across these lovely people through gigs I play as a performing songwriter* or just gigs I attend as a press rep and music writer/promoter** and of course through albums sent to my radio show “I write the songs” as a radio presenter/producer*** and even by chance or through friends’ recommendations. What I love is that all these avenues give my playlists a diverse spectrum and I very much enjoy that, so here we go (by the way the numbering is barely to ensure I don’t go beyond the 17 promised, not an order!).
- Sidiki Dembele (Ivory Coast) – I had to entitle the live concert by Sidiki Dembele and friends “The Sidiki Dembele Experience”, because of the sheer energy, passion and happiness that emerged from each and every performer on that gig. What an entertainer, what a music master (yes, teacher), what a music lover! He can now be seen all over Facebook, utilising the money collected to create a future for a group of village children. A wonderful spirit on a hard working and talented musician: a great honour to have had him take part in my debut album. See article on his tour and the beginning of his legacy at http://www.1inmusic.com/the-brothers-tour-in-manchester-the-sidiki-dembele-experience/
- Judee Sill (USA)
Major thanks to Alan Walters for introducing me to a wonderful musician, in the music (Abracadabra: The Asylum Years) of whom it is a pleasure to wallow and that is what I am doing as I type this 🙂 Not even succeeding in having a favourite as yet, I think I love them all!
- Milk Carton Kids (USA) – From the vocal to the guitar harmonies to the melodies, these two offer beautiful Folk all throughout, goosebumps and all. Thanks to Peter from Peter and Leni for having me listen to their music.
- Canen (USA) – Why I am this excited about a 12-year old Jazzy voice? Because it is mature beyond its age and shows a glimpse of things to come. Because it sits on beautiful music like it belongs there. Because Anna Coogan wrote A Matter of time and Canen sang it. That’s why.
- John Ellis (England) – This musician gave me one of the best live experiences this year with his project. I did a review of it at 1inmusic but the experience itself cannot be quite put into words. Talking to various people at the end of it, it was fascinating how many perspectives were floating about, and for me, it was the strength of a composition that gave its audience a canvas for their own interpretation.
- Steve Pledger (England) – Lover, tick. Fighter, tick. Style, tick. Substance, tick. For more, see my review of his latest achievement at http://www.1inmusic.com/steve-pledger-striking-matches-in-the-wind/.
- Ange Hardy (England) – Featured on my radio show this year as she releases Esteesee, a homage to poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, this talented Folk artist has masses to offer, from lovely melodies to enchanting harmonies to beautiful songs. Sample some of her talent on this show’s podcast. I then went through her whole back collection: totally worth it!
- Roland Orzabal (England) – The songwriter of one of my favourite bands growing up. I wrote an article to sketch a profile, as a fan does https://worldsingersongwriters.com/roland-orzabal/, featured him as songwriter of the week on my radio show https://1inmusic.com/playlist-49-i-write-the-songs/ and what a pleasure to hear some of his songs given a facelift that does not deter from their original beauty and depth.
- Paul Fogarty (Australia/Germany) – If this man lets me do music with him, I will be on the moon. Inspirational, full of integrity and inner melody.
- Eska (Zimbabwe/England) – Unique voice signatures especially in the title track of her EP, Gatekeeper
- Father John Misty (USA) – extremely engaged, deceptively mellow and totally inspiring even when bored in the USA
- Jo Bywater (England) – Ok, I know I am obsessing now but have you heard “From riches to rags”? Now you see, can’t blame me now, right?
- Barbara (France) – I was 18 when I discovered Barbara. I was hungry for passion and taken halfway there by Chopin waltzes. Woman in black and on a piano, reminds you of anyone? She gave chanson an angle that even Ferré and Aznavour hadn’t. She had a cheekiness, playfulness that she could so easily and seamlessly mix with the highest seriousness speaking of the fire of love, its games, its murders… The voice is unusual for those who have not grown with French Folk but with her lyrics and piano gives a forgotten expression to the meaning of passion.
- Rebecca Cullen (England) – Lovely vocals and arrangements will draw you in, slowly but surely. Check out her latest EP on her website.
- Little Sparrow (England) – She released a single this year and from it comes the track Garden. Be transported.
- Tom Waits (US) – Tom Waits is a permanent listen in my audio library, but somehow he always manages to come back stronger and more charming than I previously thought he was. Revisiting his debut album Closing Time, it is a pleasure to see that he was only 23 when he released jewels like I hope I don’t fall in love with you, A little bit of heaven and every other track on that piano-based Folk-meets-Jazz-and-more magic LP. I am starting to think he has been my inspiration all along… hmm
- Fran Healy (England) I remember this girl and how her lyric and puns enchanted my mind. I had almost forgotten her and then she released Who am I waiting for?
This is why I don’t like making lists. It is obvious that there are more in my head and my playlists than that! For example, I just lately received new CDs (as usual) and so have started, for some, enjoying my future list (Daria Kulesh single, Kara’s LP, Sarah McQuaid fusions, the magic of Coco Mbassi, James Keelaghan’s First 25 years in music to list only a very few)! Didn’t I warn you? That is a list starting again already! Anyway, simply tune in to thethread.org.uk every Sunday 19.30 and hear the extended lists 😉
** publishing director of worldsingersongwriters.com and 1inmusic.com and Creative Director of VertiKal Life Magazine
*** on Canalside Community radio at thethread.org.uk