Did you finish your NANOWRIMO novel? (I almost did.) Did you survive shopping on Black Friday, or avoid shopping all weekend, or ‘buy local’ this weekend to protest the faceless consumerism of today’s holidays? Well, however you finished out November, it is over. I left home for a night last week to see a decidedly non-local band in concert, Celtic Thunder, and while I enjoyed briefly meeting them and chatting with them, I missed the dynamics of shows at local venues where the artists are just normal people who play music, not celebrities with guards and roped off autograph lines. So, this week’s list is made up of some lesser-known artists who would likely be playing smaller venues if they played shows in Fort Collins, plus songs from some of our local artists.
1. Poe (Haunted)- “Could’ve Gone Mad” – Poe is not local, but nonetheless very few people I meet locally know about this artist. My music blog champions local artists, but beyond that I hope to be a small influence towards improving the diversity of ‘available’ music, battling the shrinking world of commercial mainstream music by promoting a more diverse array of music and musicians here on the Internet. Poe is a great choice for folks looking for edgier, more avant garde tunes.
2. Cam Penner (Gypsy Summer)– “Driftwood” – Cam Penner is not local to Fort Collins, but rather to Calgary. His music reminds me of songs many of our local songwriters perform. Here is a song of his that is a nice metaphor for society.
4. Carrie Nation & the Speakeasy (Hatchetations)– “Andersonville” – History buffs, folk music fans and Americana enthusiasts should all be aware of this Wichita, Kansas band and its music. Here is a ballad about former Confederate prisoners-of-war camp Andersonville, also known as Camp Sumner, in Georgia. Lest we think all the prison camps with horrific conditions happened outside the US,
5. Ari Hest (An Intimate Evening at Rockwood Music Hall)- “Erica” – I came across this song back in February when I was putting together love songs for Valentine’s Day. Since I had plenty to choose from, this song had to wait lurking in a ‘holding’ list till I noticed it again. Ari Hest is another singer who reminds me of some of our local musicians, and I know he has performed shows with a few of my musician friends in past years, though he himself is from New York.
6. David J. Roch (Skin & Bones)- “Skin & Bones” – Another non-local artist, but one with some great songs. If you get bored or are looking for new music, sometimes spotify’s Discover feature actually does suggest music that is worth checking out.
7. Marian Call (Something Fierce)- “Coffee By Numbers (Faon’s Song)” – This song reminds me of my sister, who spends many hours hanging out at coffee shops writing and reading and people-watching. Marian Call, by the way, is not local to Fort Collins, but is instead a touring singer-songwriter from Alaska. And, she has a brand new album out, Pages from My Sketchbook.
9. Kent Gustavson (Stolen Shack) – “Liza Jane” – I got the lyrics to this traditional song stuck in my head after a Von Stomper concert at which they did “Liza Jane” for soundcheck. I had intended to add a recording of it with the lyrics I wanted to learn, but I got roped in by an instrumental instead.
11. Cheryl Wheeler (Pointing at the Sun)- “Grey and Green” – Cheryl is local, to New England, but she has been a working musician for decades. She doesn’t have an artist facebook page as far as I can tell, and her webpage is very basic. Nonetheless, her voice is gorgeous and she has some great songs on this album. Her voice reminds me a bit of Tracy Chapman’s, and also of some of the great alto jazz singers of past eras.
12. Jonae’ (Into the Blue)- “Las Abejas”
13. Kate Earl (Stronger)- “One Woman Army” – Having just read a book on feminism and art, plus a Tolstoy short novel that tried and failed to support a more feminist ideal, this song is a bit refreshing. In real life I know quite a few women who could relate to this stronger image of what it is to be a woman.
14. Christopher Jak (Leadfoot Lover EP)- “Strong Enough” – Christopher Jak is a local fellow, and a very attractive one at that. We don’t seem to have the right venues for the sorts of pop concerts where teenage girls can swoon at their favorite heartthrob singers, but this man would be the sort of singer those teenage girls could fall madly in love with. In person he is a quiet, reserved fellow, and even on stage he is not sexy-dancing across the stage, but if given the right crowds and a big enough stage, I’m sure he could prove entertaining enough to draw in all those ladies not already in love with him just for his songs and his voice.
15. Carrie Rodriguez & Ben Kyle (We Still Love Our Country)- “Love Hurts” – Christopher Jak sings a lot locally with a lovely lady by the name of Tara Keith, and I really hope they will have an album out in the near future (and available on spotify) that shows off their exquisite duets. In the meantime, this cover by Carrie Rodriguez reminds me a lot of Tara and Chris. And, for all those folks I’ve heard whining about how all of Taylor Swift’s songs sound the same and how she uses autotune and can’t really sing, rather than whining, check out Carrie Rodriguez (and all the other country voices on these lists) for some very nice singing.
16. Ruut (Glimpse)- “Heartbreak” – I try to keep myself discovering new music every week, and Ruut is an artist I came across on spotify fairly recently. Ruut reminds me a bit of R&B hits from the early 1990’s, mixed with a bit of the Wailin’ Jennys. Ruut is a local act out of Baltimore, Maryland.
17. Chuck Pyle (Affected By the Moon)- “Affected By the Moon” – Chuck Pyle will be playing a show at Avogadro’s Number in a few weeks for his next CD release. This guy looks a bit like George Donaldson, and I think George and Chuck operate on a similar wavelength too. Maybe if George ever has the chance he ought to play a show with Chuck Pyle? Oh, yeah, and Chuck is relatively local, though I don’t recall whether he lives in Colorado or Wyoming. He plays shows in Fort Collins regularly, anyway, though his songs have been performed by all sorts of ‘famous’ people, and in some circles he’s a minor celebrity, I guess.
18. Orla Fallon (My Land)- “Both Sides Now” – Speaking of George Donaldson, here is a song George performed on the Celtic Thunder Mythology tour that is ending this week. I wish Goerge sang more traditional or original songs at Celtic Thunder shows- he seems relegated to cheesy pop covers most of the time on those shows- but his cover of this song was quite nice. Orla Fallon’s version is just about as nice, not too insipid and with just enough dramatic expressiveness to suit the song.
19. Heather Masse (Bird Song)– “Mittens” – It sounds like such an innocent song from its title, but I doubt that the scene this song implies is rated G. At least, if I were inviting a man to stay in with me where he would be warm enough to not need his mittens and long underwear, I doubt I would simply be showing off my apartment’s central heating system.
20. Patti Fiasco (Small Town Lights)– “Crocodile Tears” – Patti Fiasco will be recording a music video at Hodi’s Halfnote this week, on Thursday, December 5th. There will be a second location for this same video in Wyoming, Alysia Kraft’s home state, so if you want to support this band, enjoy great music and possibly be immortalized on film, check out Patti Fiasco’s facebook page soon for more information. Alysia will be spending much of the rest of the winter where it is warmer (aka Texas), but after wintering in warmer places she’ll be back in time for lots more live shows next year.
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- Drifting Playlist (indiemusicheartbeat.com)
- Should We Encourage Listening to Music At The Office? (shoretelsky.com)
- Weekly 20 Songs Playlist: October 20 (ravenmount.com)
- Marian Call’s new album is out! (wilwheaton.net)
- K99 Playlist – December 2013 Top Songs (k99.com)
- PLAYLIST – Most Played 2013 – #10 – Starships by Nicki Minaj (solentlive.com)
- Weekly 20 Songs Playlist: Nov 30 (ravenmount.com)
- Weekly 20 Songs Playlist: Nov 3 (ravenmount.com)