Monday, April 30, 2012

Rebecca Ferguson

Driving in to work this morning and KFOG played a song by Rebecca Ferguson, from a recent live appearance on the morning show.

Wow! talk about take your breath away, what a voice.

I guess she was the runner up on the UK version of X Factor in 2010.

She's a genuine Scouser, that is a Liverpudlian, that is she hails from Liverpool.

If you get a chance check out her album "Heaven".

No more fluff, check out the amazing music of this beautiful young singer.

Nothing's Real But Love Music video by Rebecca Ferguson performing Nothing's Real But Love. (C) 2011 Simco Limited under exclusive license to Sony Music Entertainment UK Limited

Too Good To Lose Music video by Rebecca Ferguson performing Too Good To Lose. (C) 2012 Simco Limited under exclusive license to Sony Music Entertainment UK Limited

Glitter and Gold Rebecca Ferguson performing her new tune Glitter & Gold live in Studio 10!

Check out her version of a Bob Dylan classic on the X-Factor.
Make You Feel My Love The X Factor UK Live show 5 Copyright music and lyrics reproduced by kind permission of Special Rider -- for original, exclusive performances by Bob Dylan.

Final X-Factor video today, a version I believe Chris Isaak would love.
Wicked Game

So we still have room for one more, a beautiful live track.
Shoulder To Shoulder Rebecca Ferguson acoustic performance at Wave 105

                                                         5 Bears

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sydney Wayser

Sydney Wayser is a French-American, New York-based singer-songwriter who plays guitar, piano and children's toys. Wayser grew up in Los Angeles, California, while spending her summers in Paris.

The Louvre and the Orangerie being only a few blocks from her apartment, she quickly gleaned much of French culture from her songwriter father, leading her to musical influences that include Edith Piaf, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Jacques Brel, among many others.

Her third album, Bell Choir Coast, was recently released.

Obviously a young lady with good taste in music, it's fitting she should be at SXSW this year.  I'm really enjoying this new album.

Here's track seven, lucky seven, on the album.

 Wolf Eyes

Dream It Up Sydney Wayser performs at Indaba Music's showcase at Bandpage HQ - SXSW 2012.
Produced by Indaba Music
Camera // Ian Perlman / Rishi LInley / Oresti Tsonopoulos
Video Editor // Oresti Tsonopoulos
Audio Engineer // Rick Louie / Josh Robertson

That same song was used by Billabong to promote their summer swim 2012 collection. Featuring model Zippora Seven from New Zealand. Couldn't resist it.

Sydney sings another of her great songs this time at Handsome Lady Records.


You can hear the rest of the album right here, and damn good it is.


released 27 March 2012
Produced & Engineered by Dan Molad
Additional Production by Sydney Wayser
Arranged by Dan Molad and Sydney Wayser
Recorded at Sounds Like A Fire in Brooklyn, NY
Mixed by Shawn Everett
Mastered by Jeff Lipton at Peerless Mastering, Boston, MA
Assistant Mastering Engineer: Maria Rice
Sydney Wayser - Voice, Background Vocals, Piano, Harmonium, Wurlitzer, Ukulele, Percussion, Synthesizers
Dan Molad - Bass, Electric Guitar, Background Vocals, Percussion, Synthesizers, Wurlitzer, Recorder, Melotron, Melodica
Zach Mangan - Drums, Percussion, Drum Loops
Peter Lalish - Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Bass, Gilles, Background Vocals
Evan Smith - Woodwinds
Jessica Wolfe - Background Vocals
Adam Tressler - Guitars on "Dirty Work"
Craig Brodhead - Guitars on "Wake Up"
Gabriel Duncan - Guitar on "This one goes out to Ethan Hawke"
Matt Davidson - Background Vocals on "Wake Up"
All songs written by Sydney Wayser except for "Dirty Work" written with Adam Tressler and "Wake Up" written with Craig Brodhead

                                                          5 Bears

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Christine Owman

Born in Malmö, Sweden Christine Owman lived a couple of years in the States as a child. She started playing the cello at the age of five, started to sing before she could speak and write songs before she knew how to spell.

Her latest collaboration is a duo with one of her own favorites - Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees, Queens of the Stone Age).

This young lady has started to build up a reputation of explosive live shows: headbanging to obscure movie projections from the 20s & 30s, playing the saw, the cello, the ukulele and singing through effect pedals.

I stumbled across her album "Spelling Words" and I'm in love with it. Just amazing, don't know how I missed it when it was released last year. But making up for it now.

Much of women’s pop and rock seems to be primarily directed at men, packaging femininity in ways that confirm or overturn male-generated stereotypes. Throwing Knives comes at womanhood from the inside, painting a far more complicated, conflicted view that may or may not appeal to the opposite sex. That it’s couched in beautiful, eerie melodies, sometimes delicate, sometimes ragged arrangements, and a dream-like vocal prettiness can only add to the conundrum. Christine Owman is certainly not going for the obvious.

“Spelling Words,” the first song on this 3rd full-length album from the Swedish singer/songwriter Christine Owman, begins in a tipsy saw of cello, a regular plink and plunk of banjo, the soft-focus drift of folky female vocals. Traditional sounds turn slightly askew, sheer sonic pleasure turns into something slightly darker and more eccentric, as Owman questions the very nature of human connection, fallibility of human communication. It’s an odd song, seductively soft on the surface but full of sharp, jutting angles, familiar-sounding but, once examined, contrarian and vaguely unsettling. It’s an excellent introduction for Throwing Knives, too, showcasing the wiry, unconventional intelligence of an unusual artist.

Spelling Words Song taken from the album Throwing Knives, released in Sweden Dec 2010. U.S release in July 2011.
Listen to the whole album on Soundcloud 
Song and video by Christine Owman.
 Music and Lyrics by Christine Owman.
Song is mixed and produced together with Ola Frick of Moonbabies.
Guest singer is Andi Almqvist.
Dancers are Betty Page and Sally Rand.
All rights reserved. RevolvingRecords

Check out a snippet of a song from the forthcoming collaboration with Mark Lanegan.

Christine says about it: "This is a little treat for you, just to get a sneak peek of what's going on. The song is called Familiar Act with guest vocals from Mark Lanegan. This tune is part of a forthcoming vinyl EP which will include another duo with Mark Lanegan".

Mark Lanegan has this voice that just blends so well with the female voice, remember Isobel Campbell?

Here's another song from the Throwing Knives album, again with a tremendous video. Maybe here is even a clue to the title of the album.

I Live I Die Song and Video by Christine Owman
Lyrics and music by Christine Owman
All rights reserved. RevolvingRecords

Here's an acoustic version of another track from this amazing album.
Sinners A wonderful performance for Balcony TV.

And now, just to see the comparison to a regular live performance, Christine is known for her astounding live performance, try and catch her some time.
The Agreement

One more from this album.  Again with the terrific videos.
Dance Song and Video by Christine Owman.
Music and lyrics by Christine Owman.
All rights reserved. Revolvingrecords

This one's so good you have to have the lyrics.  


She's the best damn woman that you ever saw
And she teases you to death
When her eyes are on you you'll do anything
To Make her eeeee for you the same.

And when you're closer now, you can see the drips, on her sweaty lips, the way she mimes the words to which she moves her hips

She's dancing baby but she's not dancing for you
I'm dancing baby but not for you

Dance til I fall asleep, until my legs are numb
and when I fall and can't get up I'll know I've just begun
Dance til I fall asleep, until my legs are numb
and when I fall and can't get up I'll know I've just begun

She's dancing baby but she's not dancing for you
I'm dancing baby but not for you

The best damn woman that you ever saw
Damn woman
She's the best damn woman that you ever saw
Damn woman
And she teases you to death
Damn woman
The best damn woman that you ever saw
Damn woman

She's dancing baby but she's not dancing for you
Damn woman, damn woman
I'm dancing baby but not for you
Damn woman, damn woman

                                                         5 Bears

Friday, April 27, 2012

Annbjørg Lien

Annbjørg Lien (born October 15, 1971 in Ålesund) is a folk and world music musician from Norway.
Annbjørg plays the ‘hardingfele’ (Hardanger fiddle), violin, and nyckelharpa.

Annbjørg Lien explores a broad range of traditions with true professionalism and playfulness. From her roots in Northern music she invites us on a sensitive and sparkling odyssey through a wide set of moods and styles. Annbjørg once again shows that she is one of Norway”s most innovative artists, combining new and traditional instruments and soundscapes.

Hopefully you remember the Hardanger fiddle from an earlier post about the amazing Valkyrien Allstars.
It is a beautiful instrument, in addition Annbjørg has a wonderful voice.

Check out some music from her most recent album, Khoom Loy.

Til "TIL" is written by Annbjørg Lien and Bjørn Ole Rasch from the album "Khoom Loy" by Annbjørg Lien.
Lyrics by Jakob Sande.
Produced by Bjørn Ole Rasch.
Recorded and mixed by Roald Råsberg at Kongshavn Studios for Grappa Records 2012.

And this of course is the title track
Khoom Loy

And finally today a truly moving tribute To Victims in Oslo Norway.

                                                         5 Bears

Heidi Harris

After yesterdays post for Creature Breath I was intrigued to find out more about Heidi Harris who had so much influence on Creature Breath.
Well Heidi hails from Brooklyn / New England.

She categorizes her music as "new weird america, folk, chamber folk".
Whatever genre you wish to put it in, it sure as heck ain't boring.
Interesting and cool would be my assessment. I'm digging it.
Here's a little sample from the album, complete with cool video.

Steam Roller with clips from: "Hep Cat Symphony" (1949) "Steam Roller" by, Heidi Harris played on cigar box guitar...

No this is the opening track from the album

"Though the music here can be categorized as folk, Harris also echos hints of blues legends such as Son House in addition to more abstract influences. Perhaps due in part to these wide influences, one is treated to a remarkable depth and variety of sound. The artist appears to embrace a simple DIY method of recording, in a comparable manner to PJ Harvey’s 4-track demos or Will Oldham’s earliest works. The music suits this stripped down method of capturing sound and rather than being found wanting in any way, the artist is revealed as a real talent." Review by, Adam Williams for Fluid Radio...

So why don't you check out the album right now. Brooklyn, New York/New England... all songs recorded and produced by Heidi in Sukisound Studio, Brooklyn.

                                                          5 Bears

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Creature Breath

And now for something completely different, the beautiful sounds of Creature Breath, aka Shawn Marie Westendorf.

This is what she has to say about her recent release.
I Am Creature Breathe would not have been possible without the beautiful efforts and vision of Heidi Harris, who created the bridge of opportunity and encouraged me to walk over it. Projecting gratitude and light to Heidi!
Thank you for believing in these songs and encouraging me to realize their potential. In addition to producing and mixing this album, Heidi’s contributions include supporting vocals, cello, theremin, clarinet, ambient percussion, piano, and laughter!
Also big Thank You! to all members of Little Bones, for helping me to realize the power of my own voice. To Elizabeth Deegan, for her inspiration, talent and keyboard/piano contributions on The Pull, Praire, and Darlin. To Unami and the farm family, PD, Dharam, and Tommy for inspiration, guidance and support in creating the space within for these vibrations to emerge. To the long hall of mirrors for your reflections.
To my parents for the gift of Music, my ancestors for the gift of their endless wisdom, sister for always listening patiently as I process and integrate, little brothers for shining their own lights, and countless friends who listened from the beginning, made pop songs with me, and contributed to growth and well being in so many ways! You know who you are! Thank you thank you thank you!
All that remains is for you to check out this beautiful album.

Spiral Arms Shawn Marie Westendorf (aka "Creature Breath") released her debut album "I am Creature Breath" on Oct. 31, 2011 via!
Album produced and recorded by, Heidi Harris in "Sukisound Studio" Brooklyn, NY.
"Spiral Arms" with backing vocals by, Heidi Harris
Video by, Heidi Harris with footage from "Hare and the Tortoise, (1947)" and "Deepest View of Space" NASA

Check out the rest of the album here.

                                                         5 Bears

Zara McFarlane

Welcome to the Smooth Silky and Soulful sounds of Zara McFarlane, this amazing young lady hails from London.
 In the very recent past Zara has collaborated with Denys Baptiste, Orphy Robinson, Soweto Kinch and Jazz Jamaica All Stars to name but a few.
Her appearances in the London Jazz clubs are renowned.
Her appearance on the Jazz Jamaica All Stars 2006 Motown-themed album Motor City Roots revealed a singer whose power was offset by delicacy, as was clear from her sensitive handling of Stevie Wonder’s My Cherie Amour.

All in all this gal has it all.
On October 6th 2011 Zara McFarlane performed a well received set at Momo in central London. Together with her accomplished band she wowed the enthusiastic audience with a flawless, confident live rendition of her album 'Until Tomorrow'. Truly 'a magical evening'. Until Tomorrow, marks Zara McFarlane's debut for Gilles Peterson's Brownswood Recordings.Backed by brilliant musicians; pianist Peter Edwards, double bassist Nick Walsh, drummer Andy Chapman and saxophonists Binker Goldings, Camilla George and Zem Adu. McFarlane comes into her own with an engrossing set that includes originals such as Chiaroscuro, Blossom Tree and More Than Mine.

A video featuring Zara McFarlane and her band as she performs 'More Than Mine' from her acclaimed debut album 'Until Tomorrow' on Brownswood Recordings. 
More Than Mine

And now a classic............
Night and Day

Brownswood Recordings latest signing Zara McFarlane performs live in London at the Pizza Express in Dean Street.

Zara is also appearing in this magical concept.

Three internationally known vocalists arrange and interpret their favourite Nina songs: Zara McFarlane, Gregory Porter and Sabrina Starke. The first album of Londoner Zara McFarlane, Until Tomorrow, came out last year. Gregory Porter was nominated for a Grammy Award (Best Jazz Vocal) for his debut album Water, and this was recently followed by his second album Be Good. Dutch artist Sabrina Starke moves graciously between soul, pop and jazz. 

This is one concert I'd love to attend.

Tom Jones

Tom Jones does Leonard Cohen, and does him proud.
He also does Tom Waits, can't wait to hear that, no pun intended.
I was never much of a fan in his early days, maybe it was the first wife screaming at him too much.

The old Welsh rocker has turned into a real bluesy type of singer in his later years. On a new album to be released next month he covers a load of classy songwriters, PM excluded.
See the list below.
Gone are the glitzy Las Vegas suits and the shimmies that used to get the knickers up on stage. This is the stripped down true artist, and I'm liking it.

Tower of Song Music video by Tom Jones performing Tower Of Song. (C) 2012
 Out Productions LLC, exclusively licensed to Universal Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Ltd

Seek and ye shall find.
Actually I take back the Tom Waits comment above, I'm not so sure I like this. I'll have to give it a couple more listens.  I guess it's not too bad, but it does sound more like the earlier Tom Jones than the bluesy Tom Jones.

Bad As Me

'Spirit In The Room' the new Tom Jones album will be released on May 21st

  1. Tower Of Song (L. Cohen)
  2. (I Want To) Come Home (P.McCartney)
  3. Hit Or Miss (Odetta)
  4. Love And Blessings (P. Simon)
  5. Soul Of A Man (Blind Willie Johnson)
  6. Bad As Me (T.Waits)
  7. Dimming Of The Day (R.Thompson)
  8. Travelling Shoes (V. Hall Ward)
  9. All Blues Hail Mary (J. Henry)
10. Charlie Darwin (Low Anthem)

                                                         2.5 Bears

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cold Specks

Cold Specks is 23-year-old Al Spx from Etobicoke, Canada, who now lives in London.
Describing her sound as 'Doom Soul', Cold Specks' music is steeped in the musical traditions of the Deep South. No wonder then that Al cites the Lomax Field Recordings and James Carr as influences along with Bill Callahan and Tom Waits. With a voice that evokes the 'spirit feel' of Mahalia Jackson and the visceral tones of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Cold Specks' sparse arrangements and chaingang rhythms stop you dead in your tracks.
Big thanks to Women Out Front for the intro.
Another in the long line of "where did they come up with that name?" Well worry  no more.
The book was Ulysses and the author was James Joyce and in Episode 10 - Wandering Rocks you will find:
Born all in the dark wormy earth, cold specks of fire, evil lights shining in the darkness. Where fallen archangels flung the stars of their brows. Muddy swinesnouts, hands, root and root, gripe and wrest them.
Great book, great place to look for inspiration.

This is some earthy dark bluesy sounds, I love it.
 I know this new album, I Predict A Graceful Expulsion, is going to be a regular in my Winamp player.

Holland Holland' taken from the forthcoming album 'I Predict A Graceful Expulsion' release 21 May (22 May US/Canada)
Directed by Olivier Groulx
Produced by Kokomo Workshop
Footage donated by Corbis Motion
Pre-order UK
Pre-order USA

Is it just me or does Jools Holland consistently bring out the best in musicians? Why is there no network or cable channel in the USA regularly featuring "Later With Jools Holland" on their channel?
If you want consistent good live music in a TV format, Jools is your man.
Lay Me Down Cold Specks performing Lay Me Down live on Later with Jools Holland 4th November 2011

One more from that same broadcast.
Old Stepstone Cold Specks performing Old Stepstone the b-side from her debut single 'Holland' live on Later with Jools Holland 1st November 2011.

I don't have a location for this track, but as always it is perfection.
Heavy Hands

Just to show how around the world she be going. Check out this appearance at Antone's in Austin Texas, for SXSW This was from a few weeks back.

Check out this interview with Cold Specks and hear some more of her beautiful voice.

Check out her current tour while she's in the States before she goes back to England.
I noticed she is at The Independent, San Francisco - Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 7:00pm.

                                                         5 Bears