Artists That You Must Check Out, Part 1

Way back when orange headphones and cassette walkmans were the craze — yes, I’m THAT old — I was the only child in the house and kitchen clean up was my “thing.” I hated it then even more than I do now, especially during the holidays when we had a full house. To help get through it I would grab my walkman and power-through it listening to random songs I taped off the radio (104.7 WKYS was my joint!).

Needless to say, this need to listen to music while doing stuff I don’t necessarily like grew as I…well….grew — you can see me with headphones on while:

  • commuting
  • working out
  • participating in races (yes, my behind was jammin’ during my half marathon)
  • cleaning my place (especially the bathroom)
  • driving long distances (until the IPOD came about, I was known to make 3 or 4 mix CDs for the ride back to Massachusetts)
  • doing laundry
  • at work

This means, I go through music like a freakin’ meth-head goes through Drano. So, I’m always in search of new artists — new to me and/or new to the industry. Every Friday I’m going to talk about a couple artists that I have on my random playlists throughout the day. You may know them (esp. if you’ve made the mistake of asking me for music suggestions), and I’m loving you for that. I just wanted to help spread the word about. If you have suggestions — definitely post them. Let’s get the word out about musicians that are working their butts off, without the help of the bigwigs in LA and NYC (actually, I prefer singers/groups who I find out about via word of mouth).

Alice Smith — yes, I’m a walking PR person for her and no, I’m not on her payroll. I stumbled on her while in San Francisco years ago — Starbucks was just starting its free download program with ITunes and Woodstock was one of the songs the barista handed to me. The second I downloaded it I was hooked. I immediately downloaded For Lovers, Dreamers & Me and put it on auto-repeat for the next year. Yes, the debut album is that good — she was nominated for a Grammy for God’s sake!

Six years, and multiple concerts attended, later and Alice has come back with a fury with her latest album She — I am so happy for her as I see that she has a dedicated following, who kept her going during label mishaps (surprise surprise) by attending performances and even contributing to her funding campaign fort he latest album (I jumped on that in a heartbeat). I could go on about her for days…honestly, I think if I lived up in NYC, where she’s based, I would’ve been labeled a stalker. For real.

I’m very excited to see what Alice is getting some serious recognition — she was included on the Red Hot Rio 2 album with “Baby,” a really cute duo with Aloe Blacc, and the title song from her new album is featured in the Lovelace, movie coming out about Linda Lovelace.

Kenny Wesley — a/k/a The Soulful Nerd was introduced to me by Alice Smith. Well, she didn’t technically introduce us — but he opened up for her at The Hamilton last fall when she was promoting her new album. First, any man who can nerd hard like him gets props — and he nerds hard. But, that voice….wow. He did a cover of a Luther Vandross song during his set that made me stop in my tracks. I’ll be honest, I’m a Luther fan — his “Best of Luther-Best of Love” double CD set was my first CD ever — so when Kenny was talking before the song and mentions Luther, I paused…..why attempt to cover an icon? There were enough women there to start a riot.

Well, was I surprised — I forget which song it was, but I (along with rest of the over-30 crew) let out deep sigh and immediately gave him props. Kenny is the definition of independent artist — I immediately started following him on Twitter (had to send props during his show), and I bought his new album, The Real Thing, directly from him on the Band Camp website (I’ve included the Amazon.com link for ease of purchase).

Oops…time to get back to work

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About KJStJ

Proud nerd who loves music, animals and making the world a better place
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