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 link for ease of purchase).

Oops…time to get back to work


About KJStJ

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