Saturday, July 30, 2016

The New Acoustic Popular Music (Part 10) - The Singer Revolution - Second Part

By Don Robertson

Say Goodbye! to hard rock as it writhes in dying pain and bid Hello! to Americana, the new acoustic popular music. Thank God you have arrived. 

      In the previous articles of the New Acoustic Popular Music series, I discussed the emergence of new music that is widely divergent from the typical commercial offerings brought to us by corporate America. It is acoustic music that is mainly based on the roots music of Southeastern America. We find that it is innovative, fresh and young. Most of the musical members of this genre are under 30 years of age, or were when they started their careers. In this and the following articles in this series, I will continue to introduce this new generation of music.

     This is the second part of "The Singer Revolution". If you haven't read the first part, here it is. In this second part, I will showcase four Americans and one young lady from France.

Christina Perri
     This is American singer-songwriter, Christina Perri. Her song "Jar of Hearts" was a huge 2010 worldwide hit, with over 223,000,000 (two-hundred and twenty-three million!) Youtube views as I write this.
"Jar of Hearts" by Christina Perri

     This video features Christina with American grammy-award winning singer-songwriter Jason Mraz. This video, featuring no expensive over-production, is nearing 27 million hits at the time I write this article. This demonstrates the current popularity of real music from real talent, as opposed to the corporation-bred mayhem of so much music that has flooded the airwaves during the last few decades:
"Distance" Christina Perri with Jason Marz

Ryan Adams
     Twenty-year old Ryan Adams founded the alternative-country band Whiskeytown in 1994, and then began a solo career in 2000. Here he is on a 2011 Letterman show: 
"If I am a Stranger" by Ryan Adams

    The following song "Let it Ride" is performed by Ryan, seated with Neil Finn and Janis Joplin on BBC4's program Songwriter's Circle. The concept of three songwriters trading performances of their songs is a tradition from Nashville:
"Let it Ride" by Ryan Adams

Phillip Phillips
   American singer Phillip Phillips is a 2012 American Idyl winner.
"Gone, Gone, Gone" by Phillip Phillips

"Home" by Phillip Phillips

Nicole Atkins
    I find this Wikipedia entry for this young lady quite fascinating: 
Nicole Atkins (born October 1, 1978) is an American singer-songwriter. Her influences include 50s crooner music, 60s psychedelia, soul music, and the Brill Building style of writing. Atkins has been compared to Roy Orbison and singers from the Brill Building era.


"The Tower" by Nicole Atkins 2011

     The following is a clip from a 2013 Dave Letterman show:
"The Way It Is" by Nicole Atkins and the Sea 2013

Zaz
    Now after featuring the above four Americans, let's have a listen to Zaz, singing on a Paris street. Zaz is the name adopted by French singer Isabel Geffroy. When I first discovered this video back in 2011, there were very Youtube hits. As I write this, the total is nearing 50 million. To watch the same video with an English translation, just click here.
"Je Veux" by Zaz

    In the following two final episodes of "The New Acoustic Popular Music" I continue to present videos that I hope you will love and enjoy as I do. Part 11 features youth in bluegrass music, and Part 12, Ireland.

Enjoy the music. 

So for now, "Good music. Good Vibes." I'm Don Robertson.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The New Acoustic Popular Music (Part 9) - The Singer Revolution Part 1

By Don Robertson

Say Goodbye! to hard rock as it writhes in dying pain and bid Hello! to Americana, the new acoustic popular music. Thank God you have arrived. 

      In the previous articles of the New Acoustic Popular Music series, I discussed the emergence of new music that is widely divergent from the typical commercial offerings brought to us by corporate America. It is acoustic music that is mainly based on the roots music of Southeastern America. We find that it is innovative, fresh and young. Most of the musical members of this genre are under 30 years of age, or were when they started their careers. In this and the following articles in this series, I will continue to introduce this new generation of music.

     Solo singers with major talent and great voices have returned to the stage after the years of assault by hard-rock bands with crappy voices thatdrowned out by fuzz-tone guitars. In the next two posts I review the phenomenon of the new bred of solo singers.

David Gray
     English singer David Gray came along in 1993 when at 25 he released his first album. His first two albums were acoustic folk-music albums and were not commercially successful. However, with the release of his great White Ladder album in 1998, he reached commercial success.
"Babylon" by David Gray

Robbie Williams
    English singer Robbie Williams began singing with the band "Take That" in 1990. This band was known for the great single "Back for Good":
"Back For Good" by Take That 

    Williams left the group in 1996 and began a solo career. His first six albums all reached number one status in England. Robbie Williams is one of the most successful and highest-paid singers in the entire world, having sold over 75,000,000 records, yet he is scarcely known in the USA, where much good music had gone into status during the stranglehold that six huge entertainment corporations have had over the country's citizenry. If you live in America and haven't experienced Robbie Williams, check him out:
"Angels" by Robbie Williams from his great concert filmed at Knebworth in England

"My Way" Tribute to Sinatra in the Royal Albert Hall in England

Lara Fabian
     Here is one of the greatest (and most beautiful) singers in the world, and yet she, like Robbie Williams, has been unable to gain much attention in this country of ours, so distracted by the music offered by corporate greed. This will change, however, as more and more people seek out music that works well on the feeling level. She's from Belgium and sings in an assortment of languages. This great song (covered in the USA by American singer Josh Groban) was composed by Lara and is called "Broken Vow." If she doesn't get under your skin, then I don't know what would:
"Broken Vow" by Lara Fabian

     Lara is famous in Europe for her rendition of Serge Lama's song "Je suis malade." There are over 7,000,000 YouTube views on the following video at this writing, in case you are wondering if she is famous in Europe:
"Je Suis Malade" by Lara Fabian

James Blunt
   English singer James Blunt is awesome. From England, he burst on the scene in 2004 with his song "You Are Beautiful," which rendered him famous worldwide. In 2008 he sang at the great annual bastille day concert in Paris on the champs du mars below le tour eiffel: 
"Carry You Home" in Paris 2008 Bastille Day at the Champs du Mars with James Blunt

Ed Sheeran
   This young English singer began releasing recorded music in 2011 when he was 20-years old. This video "Thinking Out Loud" has had over one-billion hits while I write this:
"Thinking Out Loud" by Ed Sheeran

Bon Iver
     The American band Bon Iver is basically the work of lead singer Justin Vernon. Bon Iver's first album was released in 2007. In 2011 the band received four grammy nominations with two wins. This is great popular music on the path to the ears of the world:
This "Holocene" video from 2011 has over twenty-million hits at this writing

    The following session at AIR studios in England has had over six-million views. Please listen to Vernon's piano work on this video. This is truly new music:
Session at AIR Studios 

    I will continue with "The Singer Revolution" in the next episode of "The New Acoustic Popular Music" I will continue to present videos that I hope you will love and enjoy as I do.

Enjoy the music. There is a lot more to come.

So for now, "Good music. Good Vibes." I'm Don Robertson.

© 2016 by Don Robertson

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The New Acoustic Popular Music (Part 8) - Railroad to the Graveyard

By Don Robertson

Say Goodbye! to hard rock as it writhes in dying pain and bid Hello! to Americana, the new acoustic popular music. Thank God you have arrived. 

      In the previous articles of the New Acoustic Popular Music series, I discussed the emergence of new music that is widely divergent from the typical commercial offerings brought to us by corporate America. It is acoustic music that is mainly based on the roots music of Southeastern America. We find that it is innovative, fresh and young. Most of the musical members of this genre are under 30 years of age, or were when they started their careers. In this and the following articles in this series, I will continue to introduce this new generation of music.

    In this article seven different artists are spotlighted.

Railroad Earth
     This "newgrass jam band" is from New Jersey in the USA. They came together in 2001 and released their first album The Black Bear Sessions that year.
'Mighty River" by Railroad Earth 2011

Regina Spektor
    This is Russian-born American singer-songwriter Regina Spektor. She received her first piano training in Russia as a young girl. Listen to "Samson" that she recorded at age 26 in the year 2006. It has over 18,000,000 YouTube hits as of this writing:
"Samson" by Regina Spektor 2009

Widowspeak
    Widowspeak hails from Brooklyn, New York. This duo came together in 2010 and recorded their first album a year later.
"In the Pines" by Widowspeak

Passenger
     Michael David Rosenberg uses the stage name Passenger. He hails from England. David started Passenger as a band in 2003 when he was 19. He went solo in 2009, keeping the name "Passenger."
"Let Her Go" by Passenger

Glen Hansard
    Glen Hansard is an Irish singer and actor. He appeared in the films The Commitments and Once. His first album appeared in 1991 when he was 21-years old. In this video filmed in Albert Hall, he sings with Irish singer Lisa Hannigan:
"Falling Slowly" by Glen Hansard and Lisa Hannigan

Carolina Chocolate Drops
    This totally different group is from North Carolina. They perform as a traditional string band in homage to the state's once popular music genre. They formed in 2005. Five years later, their 2010 album Genuine Negro Jig won a grammy. 
A full session with the Carolina Chocolate Drops 2012

Graveyard Train
   Here's a completely different group. Called Graveyard Train, they are from Melbourne Australia.
"Tall Shadow" by Graveyard Train

     In the following episode of "The New Acoustic Popular Music" I will continue to present videos that I hope you will love and enjoy as I do.

Enjoy the music. There is a lot more to come.

So for now, "Good music. Good Vibes." I'm Don Robertson.

© 2016 by Don Robertson

Monday, July 18, 2016

The New Acoustic Popular Music (Part 7) - Civil Wars and Other Lives

By Don Robertson

Say Goodbye! to hard rock as it writhes in dying pain and bid Hello! to Americana, the new acoustic popular music. Thank God you have arrived. 

      In the previous articles of the New Acoustic Popular Music series, I discussed the emergence of new music that is widely divergent from the typical commercial offerings brought to us by corporate America. It is acoustic music that is mainly based on the roots music of Southeastern America. We find that it is innovative, fresh and young. Most of the musical members of this genre are under 30 years of age, or were when they started their careers. In this and the following articles in this series, I will continue to introduce this new generation of music.

Laura Marling
     Laura Marling is an English singer-songwriter who won the Brit Award for Best British Female Solo Artist in 2011. Her career had begun in 2006 when at age 16 she helped found a musical movement that was labeled "nu folk" by the British press. She was in the original line-up of the band Noah and the Whale, but she left that group in 2007 or early 2008. Her debut album Alas, I Cannot Swim was released in February of 2008.
"Ghosts" Laura Marling and Marcus Mumford

    In this video, Laura joins English singer and actor Johnny Flynn. Laura, Johnny, and the band Mumford and Sons are all considered primary members of the British musical movement that is helping to drive the new acoustic popular music:
"The Water" by Laura Marling and Johnny Flynn

Sons of Noel and Adrian
    This band is based in the seaside resort town of Brighton, England and are known for their live performances with up to 13 musicians on stage. They are founding members of the Willkommen Collective, a collective of bands from Brighton that also includes such groups as The Leisure Society, The Climbers, The Miserable RIch and Shoreline among others.
"Damien" by Sons of Noel and Adrian

Lulu and the Lampshades
     English group Lulu and the Lampshade (now known as the Landshapes) released their first album in 2009. They became famous on YouTube when they revived the great 1931 song "You're Gonna Miss Me" by America's pioneer mountain-music trio the Carter Family. They have received at this writing almost 6 million YouTube hits for this video where they used "cups" for rhythmic accompaniment. A full description of the background of the cups phenomenon that Lulu and the Lampshades created is fully documented on the webpage The History of the "Cups" PhenomenonI recommend this page because it gives us information about the folk origins of the music that many young musicians who are pioneering the new, positive acoustic music are interested in.
"You're Gonna Miss Me" by Lulu and the Lampshades

"Something New" by Lulu and the Lampshapes

Peggy Sue
     This young English band is simply called Peggy Sue. They are from Brighton and have toured with Mumford and Sons, The Maccabees, First Aid Kit and Jack White. Their first fully commercial record was released in 2010. This and two previous videos were produced by "Bandstand Busking," a London project that showcases musicians on some of the city's underused bandstands: wooden structures that were built beginning in the Victorian Era in various city parks and gardens to accommodate band concerts.
"The Sea, The Sea" by Peggy Sue 2009

The Civil Wars
     Back in the USA, the Nashville group known as The Civil Wars is a duo that was formed in 2008. They won four grammy awards before their breakup in 2014.
"Poison and Wine" by Civil Wars on Letterman 2011

Other Lives
     This Oklahoma band was formed in 2004 and released their first album in 2006.
"For 12" by Other Lives 2011

     In the following episode of "The New Acoustic Popular Music" I will continue to present videos that I hope you will love and enjoy as I do.

Enjoy the music. There is a lot more to come.

So for now, "Good music. Good Vibes." I'm Don Robertson.


© 2016 by Don Robertson

Monday, July 11, 2016

The New Acoustic Popular Music (Part 6) - Stave off those Shovels with Paper Kites

By Don Robertson

Say Goodbye! to hard rock as it writhes in dying pain and bid Hello! to Americana, the new acoustic popular music. Thank God you have arrived. 

      In the previous articles of the New Acoustic Popular Music series, I discussed the emergence of new music that is widely divergent from the typical commercial offerings brought to us by corporate America. It is acoustic music that is mainly based on the roots music of Southeastern America. We find that it is innovative, fresh and young. Most of the musical members of this genre are under 30 years of age, or were when they started their careers. In this and the following articles in this series, I will continue to introduce this new generation of music.


The Staves
    Here is a great group from England known as The Staves. They released their first album in 2011.
"Facing West" by The Staves

"Mexico" by The Staves

Shovels and Rope
   This duo is from Charleston, South Carolina. Their first album was released in 2008. Their 2014 album Swimmin' Time reached Position No. 21 on US charts.
"Birmingham" by Shovels and Rope

The Paper Kites
    The Paper Kites are from Melbourne, Australia. They formed in 2010 and their debut album States was released in 2013.
"Bloom" by The Paper Kites

"St Clarity" by The Paper Kites

Mike Farris and the McCrary Sisters
    Many music lovers in Nashville wonder when these local artists, Mike Farris and the McCrary Sisters, will become world-known. I judge that it won't be long. Amazing singers loved by the Nashville music community, they are opening the doors to both white and black gospel music to the world of popular singing. 

"A Change is Gonna Come" Mike Farris and the McCrary Sisters at the Station Inn 2008


"Mercy Now" by Mike Farris and the McCrary Sisters at the Loveless Cafe 2011

    Misattributed in the following YouTube description to the great Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the song "Ain't No Body Gonna Hold this Body Down" was actually penned by mountain-gospel singer Brother Claude Ely.
"Ain't No Grave Gonna Hold my Body Down" by Mike Farris and the McCrary Sisters 2008

     Negro spiritual "Oh Mary, Don't You Weep" originally recorded by Nashville's Fisk Jubilee singers in 1915. It became well-known in the black-gospel music world from two recordings, first by The Caravans in 1958, and then by The Swan Silvertones in 1959:
"Oh Mary, Don't You Weep" by Mike Farris and the McCrary Sisters 2011

In the following episode of "The New Acoustic Popular Music" I will continue to present videos that I hope you will love and enjoy as I do.

Enjoy the music. There is more to come.

So for now, "Good music. Good Vibes." I'm Don Robertson.

© 2016 by Don Robertson

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The New Acoustic Popular Music (Part 5) - From Horse Feathers to Vespers

By Don Robertson

Say Goodbye! to hard rock as it writhes in dying pain and bid Hello! to Americana, the new acoustic popular music. Thank God you have arrived. 

      In the previous articles of the New Acoustic Popular Music series, I discussed the emergence of new music that is widely divergent from the typical commercial offerings brought to us by corporate America. It is acoustic music that is mainly based on the roots music of Southeastern America. We find that it is innovative, fresh and young. Most of the musical members of this genre are under 30 years of age, or were when they started their careers. In this and the following articles in this series, I will continue to introduce this new generation of music.
Brandi Carlile
     From Washington State in the US, this young lady's first album was released in 2005 when she was 24-years old. Ten years later, the album "The Firewatcher's Daughter" reached top positions on US and UK charts.
"Dying Day" by Brandi Carlile

Horse Feathers
     Rock singer/songwriter Justin Ringle moved to Portland, Oregon in 2004 and began focusing on acoustic music. He joined with Peter Broderick in 2006 to create their first recording as a duo. Soon other musicians came on board, forming the band known as Horse Feathers.


Short Concert by Horse Feathers

The Melodic
     "The Melodic" is a group from South London. 
"Hold On" by The Melodic

The Vespers
     This band consists of two brothers and two sisters, all born and living in Nashville. Their first record was released in 2010.
"Will You Love Me" by The Vespers

The Trishas
     These four independent artists formed a band in 2009 and their first full album appeared in 2013. Because they live in different locations and are raising families, they get together for special occasions only.
"Against the Grain" by the Trishas

      In the following episode of "The New Acoustic Popular Music" I will continue to present videos that I hope you will love and enjoy as I do.

Enjoy the music. There is more to come.

So for now, "Good music. Good Vibes." I'm Don Robertson.

© 2016 by Don Robertson