Articles From Category “Indie Artist Spotlight” 8

In this blog, we take advantage of this "great time to go out and look for music." We will pick a different indie artist (roughly) every week, giving some background and context and introducing some of her or his work. We take "indie" to mean not signed by a major label but pursuing a career in music and not yet having achieved a "breakthrough" to major artist status. We are not limited by genre (with or without an "alt"), but will include independent artists who have an appeal to us, regardless of genre, style or age. We hope you enjoy. Let us know if you have suggestions.

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  • Since the post about Lera, she has become a minor phenomenon for her True Detective appearances, both for the spooky, highly stylized songs she co-wrote (Roseanne Cash/T-Bone Burnett) and for her short appearances as a drugged-out, hollow-faced, yellow-toothed bar singer in what a critic called the worlds's most depressing bar. In fact, she may have fared far better with the public than the show or its stars. Now, that notoriety is beginning to fade and her musicianship is getting serious attention. Her new video of My Least Favorite Life, earned a write up in Rolling Stone, at the link. See Lera Lynn's Soul-Baring Take on 'My Least Favorite Life' | Rolling Stone.

    Check out the video. It might not be what you'd expect.

    My Least Favorite Life

    For fun, the clip in the bar from the episode is below. Lera appears early on and intermittently.

  • "Things that do not go together: An upright bass and a dance beat. Crafting parties and honky tonks. New York and hillbillies. Instagram and romance. Tones harkening back to Hank Senior and a sound fresh enough to turn country music on its ear. Somehow, Curb Records newcomer Ruthie Collins doesn’t just bring those polar opposites a little closer, she connects them in a way that makes perfect sense.
    The effect is stunning – nowhere more so than on her debut single “Ramblin’ Man.”

    From Ruthie Collin's website-"Ruthie's Story"

    I found Ruthie, when I first heard her new EP, sitting comfortably near the intersection of Allison Krauss, the Dixie Chicks, Emmylou Harris, and Tom Petty. She also has at her command the old high, lonesome sound of traditional bluegrass. As the Huffington Post recently wrote, "Her ability to balance what inspires her, old or new, is so natural and so engaging that whatever you first discover about her is likely to lead to all of the…
  • I've been travelling a lot and fallen a bit behind. I've meant to post about John Moreland for a while, and can't do better than share the following from the Wall Street Journal. Sad songs make me happy, I guess. Moreland is opening for Jason Isbell during the fall and on his European tour in the new year. I'm looking forward to seeing them both next weekend!
    The Sad, Sweet Songs of Oklahoma’s John Moreland
    Singer-songwriter John Moreland is appearing this summer with Dawes, Jason Isbell and Patty Griffin

    ENLARGE John Moreland on Monday at the Mercury Lounge in Tulsa, Okla. Photo: Brett Deering for The Wall Street Journal
    By Steve Dougherty June 30, 2015 12:30 p.m. ET 3 COMMENTS
    As he introduced a tune titled “You Don’t Care For Me Enough to Cry” at a recent New York City club date, Oklahoma singer and songwriter John Moreland told the audience something he’d learned about the song: “It’s too sad for Dallas-Fort Worth morning television.”
    “They were like ‘Whoa,…

  • Singer Nikki Lane is currently based in Nashville, arriving by way of Greenville, South Carolina, New York and Los Angeles. She is nominated as emerging artist of the year at this month's Americana Music Awards. She's a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll and a little early 80's cowpunk. (Cowpunk was really a thing--you can look it up.) But her sound is truly her own. She likes driving rhythms, writes catchy hooks and can be alternately confrontational and funny.

    Nikki sometimes refers to herself as the Queen of the Outlaws, or the First Lady of Outlaw Country, and in attitude, by her own self-description, harkens back to Waylon, Willie and the boys. Her songs' protagonists are not all country music's good girls; in fact, some of them might well have caused Carrie Underwood to go looking for that Louisville Slugger. Her sound ranges from rock with sometimes a Motown flavor and sometimes a little punk, to something approaching traditional country. In some videos, Nikki…
  • "Little May met in high school - they uploaded their first independent single on Soundcloud and people became very excited. They create wonderful close knit harmonies, chiming ethereal guitars and rhythms that carry you along, but their lyrics are quite dark."

    Little May is a pop/folk/indie band formed in Sydney, Australia in 2012

    Featuring the story-telling talents of Hannah Field, Liz Drummond and Annie Hamilton; Little May is the tale of three friends who are fast making a name for themselves and winning hearts both locally and abroad.
    Heavily inspired by the likes of folk-loving friends, Fleetwood Mac, Mumford & Sons and Local Natives, the outfit make a notable nod to the likes of fem-folk trailblazers such as Julia Stone and Holly Throsby.
    Known for their dark tangle of raw lyrics, honest and haunting melodies and voices upon voices upon…
  • Let's start this way.

    You are a judge on The Voice and in the midst of the blind auditions.

    With chairs turned, you hear this:

    When you turn, you see this:

    Not what you expected? Here's what bassist Josh Phillips has to say about his first meeting with singer Paul Janeway:

    "'I'd been warned of what comes out of Paul's mouth when he opens it," Phillips says, "basically because it's a big surprise for most people.'

    "A surprise, he says, because the singer doesn't exactly look the part.

    "'Paul, according to all the reviews and stuff that are written of the band, he looks like your high school history teacher, or he looks like Drew Carey,' Phillips explains. 'Bottom line is that we're a bunch of kind of nerdy-looking white guys, and when this sort of earth-shaking soul roar comes out of his mouth for the first time, you can always hear the air being sucked out of the room.'"

    The first question is, who are these guys? They are a very unlikely combination. Janeway is a one-time…
  • While previewing songs from Kris Allen's album "Horizons"
    I heard a lovely duo that featured someone I didn't recognize by name or voice. (listen below)
    Kris Allen - Prove It to You [feat. Lenachka] (Official Audio)

    It was enough to peak my curiosity to find out more on.
    Who is this "Lenachka" ?

    Lenachka, real name (Helene Immel)
    Born in Germany, Helene is the oldest daughter of Russian/German immigrants and was 8 years old when she arrived in California. Her mother blessed her with the nickname LENACHKA, it is a common name of endearment used by Russian mothers. ( pronounce LEN - ACH - KA )

    How did she get on Kris Allen's song?

    In the first quarter of 2012, producer Charlie Peacock (The Civil Wars, Chris Cornell, The Lone Bellow) set a Google alert for the song “Safe & Sound” by Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars. Every morning he would listen to the dozen or more cover versions young artists had created overnight. On April 4th of that year he heard 18 year old Helene…
  • Update: June 17: Lera Lynn's recording of the True Detective theme, officially titled The Only Thing Worth Fighting For, was released yesterday to iTunes, Amazon and YouTube. See below for the YouTube posting.


    The role of independent labels and artists has probably never been more important than now, as radio formats and playlists seem more and more constricted and the means of music production and distribution are changing (yet again). One of the better known of today's indie artists explained recently that, despite his criticisms of commercial music, the music world is generally healthy:

    "I think for the listener, it's a really great time because there's so much music out there that's so easily accessible. You've got a lot of people doing really excellent work and you don't have to have $150,000 to make a great record any more. . . .

    "It's a great time to go out and look for music. It's not necessarily a great time for people who eat whatever they're fed. . . .