On the unique occasions that I listen to contemporary pop radio (usually caused by CPR pledge drives), I'm always struck by the superficiality of the songwriting. The songs aren't always of bad quality, but their priorities lie more with fun, sugary sounds. That's okay, but much like a nutritional diet, balance is key. In case your portion of substantial songwriting is meager, here are ten underappreciated artists just waiting to be discovered at the library.
I go through phases of saturating myself in the canon of older songwriters; Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Nick Drake, Gillian Welch, and Patty Griffin are among my favorites. But I've been fortunate enough to come across great young songwriters of different genres whose words stick with me long after I've turned off the stereo.
I have a crush on Alela Diane. Hailing from Portland, OR, she’s a stunning storyteller, her songs painting gentle landscapes of love and nature. Her voice is lilting, both slick and scuffed, and is layered amidst steel strings and mandolin melodies. It's difficult to label her musical style, but she's...
July 14th, 2012 marked what would've been Woody Guthrie's 100th birthday. Although he passed away in 1967, his legacy is as vibrant as ever.
Like many of my generation, I was introduced to Woody in my elementary school music class. Along with songs such as "And the Green Grass Grew All Around" and "Rainbow Connection," "This Land Is Your Land" was a staple of our teacher's singing selections. Of course we sang the sanitized version which excluded the political verses. I don't remember knowing who actually wrote it but it just went into the mental category of "Songs Everyone Knows."
Maybe it's her background as a child immigrant from the former Soviet Union to America in the late '80s that informs her fascinating lyrics, but as for Regina Spektor's interesting musical compositions and gemlike vocals, it's got to be raw talent. Get on the library's hold list sooner rather than later for her new album hot off the press, What We Saw from the Cheap Seats.
After recently coming across Spektor's performances of the songs "Small Town Moon" and "Ballad of a Politician" from this album, aired on the Colbert Report, I immediately regretted having previously put off listening to her music.
It must be a daunting prospect. Your debut album exceeds all expectations of acclaim and now you're faced with trying to follow it up? Can you avoid the "sophomore slump" that plagues so many bands who find themselves in this situation. A batch of young artists are now releasing their second efforts with thick anticipation from the music world.
Holiday madness got you down? Take an hour off from your busy schedule and join harpist, Star Edwards in our Beehive. Relax and enjoy her soothing sounds on Saturday, December 4, at 2 p.m. at the Ross-Cherry Creek Branch Library.
Born today in 1970, Ani DiFranco is a Grammy-winning songstress, guitarist and songwriter. In 1989, she started her own record company, Righteous Babe Records. Her music is raw, empowering and brilliant.
Selected discography as owned by Denver Public Library:
Folk is a music of the people. While its history lies in the word of mouth conveyance of folklore, its present remains rooted in traditional music. Popularized in the 60s, Folk continues to thrive as new generations find their voice.