Indie Acts that are Awesome
Artists I've met or heard of in my travels that have a great sound, you'd love them.
Chris BelandI met Chris relatively recently at a house show we played together and we hit it off right away. His music reminds me of Paul Simon and has an effortless quality that belies its complexity and sound constructionWebsite
ShadowlandsShadowlands is probably my favorite local group. Composed of two husband and wife duos, their sound (self-described as etheral folk/pop) is unique and accessible and their songs range from fun to melancholy to almost experimentalWebsite
Rob LarkinRob is a good friend and a great solo performer but I've, unfortunately, never had the chance to hear him play with his band. His solo work, though, is like a mix between John Mayer and Jack Johnson, but more earthy and authentic (for lack of a better term) than eitherWebsite
Bob & WendyBob and Wendy are half of the aforementioned Shadowlands and they've been fixtures of the local music scene for longer than I've known how to play a guitar. They're the nicest and most genuine people you could hope to meet, with a great stable of folk songs to bootWebsite
Joe KoenigJoe is a super talented guy who plays the kind of awesome country music that feels authentic and doesn't make you cringe. The very first big concert I played was an opening set for Joe's CD release a few years back and I'm grateful to this day for the opportunityWebsite
Hilary & KateHilary & Kate are fantastic musicians, Kate actually recorded some violin on my studio version of "The Runaway" and "Amelia", and we've played a few concerts together. Highly recommendedWebsite
The Simple ParadeI met the Simple Parade briefly when we both had songs place in the top 3 at the 2014 New Times Music Awards, their track "Confetti" is super catchy and they're nice people, check 'em outWebsite
Dulcie TaylorDulcie Taylor is another local musician who's helped make our local scene as vibrant and respected as it is. We also met at the 2014 New Times Music Awards and her new album "Only Worn One Time" is just fantasticWebsite
Steve KeySteve is another local musician who's had a huge hand in building up the scene. He writes and performs excellent music and hosts Songwriters at Play Showcases all over SLO County, he also gave me my very first show at Linnaea's back in 2006. Thanks SteveWebsite
Randall LambAt a recent showcase I got the chance to just sit and talk with Randall, it was only a few minutes but he's got such a wealth of experiences and truly great stories, I'm anxious to hang out more. His music is great, his song "Smoulder, Sizzle & Burn" in particular stuck with me for days after the first time I heard itWebsite
My Inspirations & Favorites
These musicians have been shaping my tastes and my sound since I was just a kid, I can't imagine what I'd be without their music in my life.
The BeatlesI could talk about the Beatles all day long... suffice to say it's nearly impossible to overstate their importance to all modern music, and it is impossible to overstate their importance to me personally as musical influences.
Favorite Song - The Abbey Road Medley, "You Never Give Me Your Money/Mean Mr. Mustard/Polythene Pam/She Came In Through The Bathroom Window/Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End"
Elliott SmithThe world lost a magnificent songwriter when it lost Elliott Smith. He was very talented, very ahead of his time, and unfortunately, didn't get all the recognition he deserved while he was alive, which is true of a lot of artists. We miss you, Elliott.
Favorite Song - "Angeles"
Iron & WineI took my first road trip relatively late in life, I drove from the coast to Tahoe to spend a week at a cabin with friends and then I drove from Tahoe to Mammoth Mountain to spend a week with family. This trip took place right after my first major breakup, which seemed like a big deal at the time. My ex had my iPod so I had only two brand new CD's to keep me company on the 20+ hours of drive time, and one of them was Iron & Wine's "The Creek Drank the Cradle". I listened to it endlessly and that album literally changed my life as, on that trip, I decided to stop thinking about writing music and actually start writing. I came home with one new song, a lot of ideas and some newfound passion and dedication. Someday, hopefully I'll be able to say "the rest is history".
Favorite Song - This is kind of a cheat, but the live version of his song "The Trapeze Swinger"
Paul SimonPaul Simon! He's been making groundbreaking music pretty much non-stop since he was 15, back in the "good old days". His current albums aren't the genre-defying masterpieces of his youth, but they're also not phoned in in the way that a lot of other songwriter's later output can feel (*cough* Paul McCartney *cough*). I love almost 100% of Paul's output throughout the years, and I, incidentally, have been heavily influenced by his style.
Favorite Song - It's hard to choose... but I think I might pick "Born at the Right Time"
But down among the reeds and rushes
A baby girl was found
Her eyes as clear as centuries
Her silky hair was brown
Never been lonely
Never been lied to
Never had to scuffle in fear
Nothing denied to
Born at the instant
The church bells chime
And the whole world whispering
Born at the right time
QueenQueen. QUEEN! QUEEN!!! Here's what I'm gonna do for this section, I'm not going to talk about Queen, I'm just going to list names of Queen songs that will melt your brain with awesome-ness. "It's Late", "Bohemian Rhapsody", "We Will Rock You", "Ogre Battle", "March of the Black Queen", "A Kind of Magic", "Under Pressue", "The Show Must Go On", "Don't Stop Me Now", "Fat Bottomed Girls", "Flash's Theme", "Headlong", "Hammer to Fall", "I Want It All", "In The Lap of the Gods ...Revisited", "Prophet's Song", THE LIST GOES ON THERE ARE LITERALLY TOO MANY AWESOME QUEEN SONGS GO RIGHT NOW AND LISTEN TO THEM AND YOU CAN THANK ME LATER.
Sufjan StevensSufjan Stevens is an odd beast, he's one of the few musicians I feel you can really accurately describe as "unique". I, at least, can't think of any other musicians that have 5 Christmas albums, a song about John Wayne Gacy Jr., and a song titled "The Vivian Girls Are Visited In the Night by Saint Dargarius and his Squadron of Benevolent Butterflies". That cross section doesn't even begin to hint at the full bizareness of Sufjan's catalog, but even more interesting are his arrangements. Sufjan appears to play every instrument known to man, and is something of a musical/mathematical savant. I most often don't fully understand what's happening in his songs, but man do I love listening.
Favorite Song - "Chicago"
Death Cab for Cutie
Bon IverA friend (Joe Koening, actually) showed me a live video of Bon Iver performing his song "Skinny Love" and I loved it. Then I bought his album "For Emma, Forever Ago" and I hated it. Then a week later I realized it was incredible and I've never looked back. I don't think I'd call Bon Iver an influence simple because his style is so completely opposite mine, but he's definitely one of my favorite musicians to listen to.
Favorite Song - Still "Skinny Love"
The Postal Service