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5 A.M // Amber Run

I didn’t do a “Favorite Finds of 2014” write-up. Trust me, I gave it plenty of thought. I even have a list compiled. I just never got around to pairing that list with videos and adding some words to breathe some life into it. If I had posted last year’s favorite finds, you can bet Amber Run would’ve been on it.

Check out this stunning single from their new album of the same name. I can’t wait until this Tuesday (April 21) when I can finally purchase this album and spend hours and hours falling in love with it. Such delicious anticipation.

And this one. Oh geez. Perfection? Yes, perfection.


Katelyn Convery’s *DEBUT* Album Needs a Lil Love


Hello lovelies, It has been six months since I’ve posted. It seems dramatic to declare a public goodbye to this blog, which I why I haven’t, but I’ve been tempted. However, the blog is never quiet. I still get submissions sent to my email. These pages get a modest number of views each day and from countries all over the world. It seems a wee impulsive to pull the plug, right? Plus, I always hope I’ll return to you. I have excuses a plenty for why I’ve stopped sharing music and musings. I’ve moved across the country — yes, AGAIN. I’ve started a new a business. My growing son continually places new demands on my time and energy. My passion for music that stirs my soul, and my need to take to the keys to tell you about it, has quite simply been trampled on by more pressing matters. It sucks being a grown-up sometimes. Priorities. Priorities. Well today, writing here has become a pressing matter. I need your help. Katelyn Convery, one of my dearest, most beloved friends, is in the process of making her first album. In order to have the means to bring this album into existence she’s partnered with Pledge Music and initiated a crowd-funded campaign. It’s been an exciting two months watching this process unfold. It started in Portland, Oregon, and has since relocated to Cape Town, South Africa. 24 hours remain and the campaign has not yet been fully funded. 9% to go as I’m typing this. If you aren’t familiar with how Pledge works, the artist sets the estimated amount to make the album, which become their “goal” and if they do not reach their goal, the accumulated “pledges” (promised funding) is not released. Essentially the campaign is considered unsuccessful and all pledges are returned to the party who pledged. It’s truly a phenomenal process, but not reaching one’s goal is devastating. You guys could be that 9%. Really. For $10 you can preorder the album and will receive a digital copy as soon as it’s finished – before it’s available on any other platform. That’s it. There are other options, of course. For $20 you can have a signed, physical copy of the cd and a personal thank you from Katelyn. And so on.

You can check all the goodies out here: www.pledgemusic.com/projects/katelynconvery/exclusives. Katelyn’s latest two updates include some in-studio footage and song previews: HERE and HERE. I’ve known this girl for nearly a decade and seeing her in the studio, working with a Grammy award-winning producer, gives me MASSIVE goosebumps. She’s like a sister to me… we’ve been through everything. I am positively bursting with pride. If you’re at all curious about our history or about how madly I adore this girl, you can read some about our adventures HERE (Scroll down to the 5th and 6th paragraphs). That’s it. That’s all I’ve got. We only have 24 hours left to raise the money needed and I know many of you will read this too late. For those of you who are reading this before the days end on 1/30, please click the links, please consider helping my cherished friend, an extremely talented singer-songwriter with the voice of an angel, chase her dreams. Reunited-in-Barcelona Namaste.


ALL WHO WANDER [feat: The Bronze Medal + Oscar & the Wolf]

Hello, my sweets. Are you still there? The silence in this room is deafening, I know. I’ve been negligent and I’m bored with making excuses. Am I busy? Truly, I am. I have traveled over 4,000 miles by car and another 1,500 miles by air in the past two months alone. Hello, Summer 2014. You’re looking … well, a bit blurry if I’m being honest. I’m silly tired. Outside of the perpetual exhaustion, all is well. A good friend, who is fully acquainted with my various levels of mania, recently reminded me that “not all those who wander are lost”. I thought it was pretty funny (that would be the “silly tired” kicking in) and wildly appropriate. Some of us have an insatiable wanderlust and we prioritize what’s important to us, right? Seeking has always been a major priority in my life, but I’ve spent this summer getting found. Traveling to the people and places I love the most. I’m certainly not lost.

You would think music would fit nicely into all of my travels and it has, but to sit down and spend some time here in these pages— to delve into the melodies that turn me inside out, that takes deliberate intention. Not to mention a quiet space to ponder. Once in awhile a song or band will assault me, breaking whatever reverie I’m indulging in and send me racing to these pages. It’s so powerful I simply must share. Obviously that hasn’t happened in awhile. I’m loving all the same stuff. My road trip music has been: Mighty Oaks, Bastille, To Kill a King, Ben Howard, Jamestown Revival, Brother & Bones — fine tunes aplenty. But I’ve already written my heart out about these bands. Side note: I did catch Brother & Bones whilst in Los Angeles at the beginning of this month. Finally seeing them live was a massive treat. (See photo. Happy girl, indeed.) So while yes, I’m always listening to stellar music, I find myself STARVED for music that either a] makes me cry for no good reason (or because it’s so beautiful there’s simply no other reasonable response). Or b] It makes my heart absurdly and indescribably happy. An ear to ear grin never hurt anyone, right?

So. I sit here now in a quiet space. I have retreated from the delicious chaos of the day. I have consciously designed a clear mental image of sharing something spectacular with you, something that elicits an emotional response like mentioned above, and after meditating on that desire for a bit I think I’ve managed to call it into being. At least the following feels right to me. And I need this. I hope you do, too.

No strangers to my little musical diary, The Bronze Medal crossed my radar in 2011. They were a catalyst for starting this blog, alongside the others who made my Favorite Finds of 2011. I also featured them in a guest post I wrote for the blog songsfortheday. If you’re not immediately sold on this band I implore you to check out their song “Milk” (click the songsfortheday or Favorite Finds link) or hunt down their song “Furrows” and then come back to this song. Oh so good.

Oscar and the Wolf were also featured in my Favorite Finds of 2011. I’ve been digging on this band for a long time and it’s magical to hear some new tunes. The first is gentle and melancholic and the second makes me grin like a Cheshire cat. Winning.

Find The Bronze Medal: Facebook/ YouTube
Find Oscar & the Wolf on Facebook/ Website

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Joy Williams [does] Duran Duran — MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 17)

MIMFL - Vol 17

Cover songs are often a controversial topic among music lovers. I see both sides of the topic, but I myself am very PRO-cover. Inspiration is found in nature, in a kind word, in a thoughtfully penned poem, in the laughter of children. Different things inspire different people at different times, but I think music is universally the most inspirational medium. Musicians who are just starting out hone their craft by learning covers that inspire them, songs originally played by people they admire. I love that! I love the respect and reverence you can hear in a thoughtfully done cover. I especially adore it when a song is reworked and has new life breathed into it. [original source]

Some songs need little to no intro. This is one of those songs. The only verbal offering I have to describe this is flawless.

and the original

check out the previous songs in this series

MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 1) • MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 2)
MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 3) • MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 4)
MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 5) • MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 6)
MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 7) • MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 8)
MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 9) •MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 10)
MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 11) •MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 12)
MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 13) • MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 14)
MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 15) • MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 16)


Post SXSW 2014 | the official wrap-up

4yrsSXSWIt’s been more than a month now since South-by came and went, I guess it’s about time I told y’all about it. Yes? In my pre-game post I shared 30 bands I was hoping to see at the annual South by Southwest festivities; it’s always kind of a coin toss as to which bands you actually catch. I only saw 13 bands shared in that post. So in this post, I will cover the 36 bands that soundtracked my 2014 SXSW.

This post has been a challenge to write. I’ve been SXSW’s biggest fan for a number of years now. I’ve shared in previous posts how it’s my happy place, my heaven on earth. 2010, 2011 and 2012 were LEGENDARY years. The bands, the memories made, the friends who shared it all with me — perfection. I’d come to expect the unexpected and respect that every year is different, but magical in its own way.

But this year was lacking the familiar magic and I can’t quite put my finger on it. Has it truly gotten too big, too corporate — was that the problem? Was it the devastatingly tragic nightmare that occurred just two nights in, casting a huge, ugly, black cloud on everything? Was it simply that three of my very best friends, who I consider SXSW staples, weren’t there this year? And as it happens, neither were any of my musician friends. Was it all of these things combined?

I need you to know I did see AMAZING music. I also shared it with some truly incredible friends. Cherished memories were made. But my impression during and my impression now, a month later, remains the same: what a shit-show. It felt like Mardi Gras — a non-stop, massive party with a staggering number of drunk people poised to spill their beer down your back, burn you with their cigarettes while shoving their way through the packed streets, and vomit on your shoes.

Let’s get back to the part about partaking in some truly phenomenal music though, shall we?

Mighty Oaks was, no surprise, the absolute highlight of the entire week. We saw them three times and I can’t wait for their return to the states. More, please.

My other top favorites were:

Hunter Hunted

Run River North
They made a fun SXSW compliation video, so I’m sharing that – but seriously, go check out more of their music.

To Kill a King



After much consideration I think I’m going to have to call this year’s “SXSW favorite find” a three way tie.

First up, Lily Kershaw. I’d like to point out …. she’s a girl! If you’re a first time reader, or simply missed this somewhere along the line, my ears are exceedingly partial to musicians of the male persuasion. My iTunes catalog is made up of 90% fellas and 10% ladies. And the statistics in these pages is likely even less than that. I say all this simply to highlight that Lily is the real fucking deal and we loved her enough to see her twice. She’s based out of LA; do your homework, go to a show, and fall in love – just like I did.

Next, Frances Cone. Holy crap, what do you know? Another badass songbird.

Rounding out this year’s SXSW favorite finds I give you, The Saint Johns.

I feel the need to call out the show that was the most unexpected/ most fun. We discovered this band because they followed Mighty Oaks at the German Haus showcase. Their presence was INCREDIBLE. Great sound, great energy, sensational in every way and the best part? I danced and danced and danced. That doesn’t happen often enough. Thank you, HVOB.

Those were my highlights. The best of the best. We saw TONS of great music and I will list the rest below. If I take the time to sift through YouTube and add videos for each artist this post will never go live. A few of these bands were highlighted (with videos) here: South by Southwest | 2014


Andrew Belle
Kishi Bashi
Jamestown Revival
(^These first three would have definitely made it into my top faves if I had managed to catch a full set, but I didn’t. Boohiss.)
David Ramirez
Elizabeth & the Catapult
Wild Child
The Suffers
Holiday Mountain
John Fullbright
Sweet Baboo
G. Love
Brendan O’hara
Dan Dyer
Caroline Glaser
Keaton Simons
Russian Red
Eric Hutchinson
Clear Plastic Masks
Apache Relay
Jeff Campbell
Rhett Miller


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Kishi Bashi [does] Talking Heads — MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 16)

Kishi Bashi © The Tiny Hobo — Talking Heads © Olaf Hajek

… … … Kishi Bashi © The Tiny Hobo …… …… …… …… …… …… …… Talking Heads © Olaf Hajek … … …

I had this great idea to do a cover series post featuring a handful of bands that we saw at SXSW, similar to the one I did last year in honor of my musical adventures in LA, but as I’m still struggling with putting together the official line-up from this year’s SX extravaganza, I think I will opt for simplicity and just share this Kishi Bashi cover.

It’s delightful and fully worthy of not having to share the spotlight with anything else.

Cover songs are often a controversial topic among music lovers. I see both sides of the topic, but I myself am very PRO-cover. Inspiration is found in nature, in a kind word, in a thoughtfully penned poem, in the laughter of children. Different things inspire different people at different times, but I think music is universally the most inspirational medium. Musicians who are just starting out hone their craft by learning covers that inspire them, songs originally played by people they admire. I love that! I love the respect and reverence you can hear in a thoughtfully done cover. I especially adore it when a song is reworked and has new life breathed into it. [original source]

[the original]

(P.S. ‘Burning Down the House’, by Talking Heads, was one of my favorite songs…. in kindergarten. Guess I’ve always had great taste in music. 😉 )

check out the previous songs in this series

MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 1) • MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 2)
MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 3) • MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 4)
MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 5) • MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 6)
MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 7) • MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 8)
MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 9) •MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 10)
MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 11) •MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 12)
MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 13) • MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 14)
MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 15)

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South by Southwest | 2014

© Jessica LoucksThis is one of those “better late than never” posts, right? I know I’m cutting it close, but as the music week of South by Southwest hasn’t begun yet – I think I’m okay. Here’s my list of bands I’m going to attempt to see this year. It’s always chaos trying to coordinate your “must-sees” with your friends’ lists, and then there are overlapping band schedules to deal with, and figuring out how to get from one venue to the next, aand it doesn’t help that every single day I’m discovering another “must-see” band is in town that I somehow previously missed… Basically to do SxSW right you need to have a clone. It’s a special sort of madness.

I missed South-by last year, but you can find 2012’s write-ups HERE  and HERE and HERE and you can see a bit of what I mean.

sxsw_shinymarbles* This post is dedicated to my loves who aren’t making the annual trek to Austin. South by Southwest is always a massive reunion and this year I will feel the absence of some of my favorite people on the planet.

** This post is also dedicated to Robin of Robin’s Music Portal. As usual I have been a master procrastinator and he dared me to write this post. Truly. A dare. It’s been ages since I’ve been dared to do anything! And I love a good dare. 🙂 Challenge accepted, dear sir.

All right — without further ado, and in no particular order, let’s dive into this glorious mess of sensory delights. I think you’ll find this list pretty eclectic. I don’t know how I’m ever going to choose!! (Well, yes I do. I will choose by not choosing. I will go wherever the wind blows… and try not to sweat the bands I miss seeing.)


There are no words for how excited I am to hear the new album live.












So beautiful it almost hurts. Just like I like it.





** I just got word that the Midi Matilda fellas ARE NOT going to make it this year, but I’m leaving this video here because it’s excellent.

Those of you who follow along with my chatter will know that I’m also over-the-moon about these guys coming across the pond.



I saw Noah Gundersen live for the first time last March at the Hotel Cafe in LA. His live show rendered me speechless, absolutely took my breath away.

In the same breath that I discovered Midi Matilda wasn’t going to make it to SxSW – I discovered Run River North will be there!! So much musical goodness! It’s a miracle I don’t spontaneously combust.

I really strive to see bands I haven’t seen or bands that don’t play the US often, but Seryn is too incredible to miss. If you haven’t seen this group live – make sure you don’t miss them next time they are near.



I’ve been waiting what feels like FOREVER to see these fellas. The time has finally come!

This band was in town last month and I actually won tickets to see them live and then had a bizarro medical emergency and couldn’t make the show. I’m excited to get a do-over!

Yes. Yes. Yes. YES. Really, is there anything else to say? It gutted me to miss Vance Joy and SxSW last year, but the gods have smiled on me and he’s coming back!

Most of these bands I’m featuring have new albums recently out or soon-to-be out and I’m trying to share new stuff, but I love this one of Wild Child’s too much.



March Ramblings & Nathaniel Rateliff

Ahhh… it’s March in Austin, Texas. Do you know what that means? It means South by Southwest is right around the corner. I’m trying to work up a little post featuring some of the artists I’m excited to see this year — but in truth I can’t focus. I know the silence in these pages would lead you to believe I’m not freaking out on the inside that it’s almost my favorite time of the year. After all I wouldn’t shut-up this time last year because Sx was not in the cards for me. I promise you, I am ELATED that it’s almost Christmas, uh, I mean SxSW (my version of Christmas). 🙂

It’s just that I have the worst case of Spring Fever. We’re having a wretched cold spell here and it’s not helping my frame of mind. Or my focus. I moved south with visions of a tepid winter: long sleeves, boots and scarves — no more. And while yes, I escaped the snow of Colorado, it’s been much colder than I had hoped. I mean, I own four winter coats and I’ve had need for them ALL. In Texas. Boohiss.

Nathaniel Rateliff’s latest album, Falling Faster Than You Can Run, has been keeping me warm. And sane. It’s also been distracting me from writing about South-by… and since my lil blog is getting lots of traffic from searches for “SXSW”, it seems I really should get on the ball. I’d say I’ll think about it, but I can’t think about anything while listening to this album. It’s pretty much my favorite thing on the planet right now and it’s an all-consuming listen. Multi-tasking? Uhm, no.

The entire thing undoes me in the most delicious way, but these two songs. Holy Apollo. The Mahogany Sessions has my whole-hearted thanks for these session vids.

I saw Nathaniel Rateliff live twice in 2012, both at SxSW and also in Boston. He was touring with Communion’s “Austin-to-Boston” tour. You can read a little about that: here.

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Kina Grannis [does] The Neighbourhood — MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 15)

MIMFL - Vol 15I couldn’t decide which of Kina’s covers to share with you. A good friend recently tipped me off to her cover of Lorde’s, “Team”. He knew I was already smitten with that tune and Kina’s version was, indeed, sensational. But then I listened to her cover of The Neighbourhood’s, “Sweater Weather”. Well, hell. Seriously?!

The tug-of-war began. I can’t post both, can I? However will I choose? I tested the waters with her cover of “Team” over on the ol’ facebook page and you guys LOVED it. Which was rather awesome, because now it’s already out there and I’m free to share “Sweater Weather” here. You’ll like it, too. I promise.

Although…. the harmonies on “Team” are out-freaking-standing. Like, woah. So maybe, I will have to post them both after all.

Cover songs are often a controversial topic among music lovers. I see both sides of the topic, but I myself am very PRO-cover. Inspiration is found in nature, in a kind word, in a thoughtfully penned poem, in the laughter of children. Different things inspire different people at different times, but I think music is universally the most inspirational medium. Musicians who are just starting out hone their craft by learning covers that inspire them, songs originally played by people they admire. I love that! I love the respect and reverence you can hear in a thoughtfully done cover. I especially adore it when a song is reworked and has new life breathed into it. [original source]

I loved “Sweater Weather” the first time I heard it. It’s an excellent jam. But there is something about this version that really brings the lyrics to the forefront and the result is undeniably hot. It’s slower. Deliberate.

All I am is a man. I want the world in my hands. I hate the beach, but I stand in California with my toes in the sand….

GAH. It’s so good. She’s so gooood. If you haven’t heard this, brace yourself.

The original

And then there’s this tasty morsel. Prepare for hair raising, spine-tingling perfection when Kina comes in at 0:28.

The original has already been featured in these pages: HERE

check out the previous songs in this series

MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 1) • MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 2)

MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 3) • MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 4)

MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 5) • MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 6)

MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 7) • MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 8)

MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 9) • MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 10)

MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 11) • MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 12)

MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 13) • MIMFL Cover Songs (Vol. 14)

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Favorite Finds of 2013

The drum roll has long faded, the fireworks are gone, too. 2014 is well underway. Let’s invent a new phrase for time flies, shall we? It’s absurdly overused. Time sneaks by me on tip toes. Time goes right while I’m looking left. Time is like a delightful breeze racing across my skin – a quick stroke, a gentle caress, a little rustle through my hair… and as quickly as it comes it passes and leaves me wanting more. I sneeze, I blink, I spend one sleepless night and a whole year is GONE. Just gone. I don’t know how to explain 2013. A LOT happened this past year. I mean, I moved from Colorado to Texas; it’s not like I was standing still. But somehow I feel like my time was spent just going through the motions, doing what needs to be done to get from where I am to where I want to be. A brick laying year. A traveling year. Traveling as in — in transit. Not traveling as in — exploring the world. It wasn’t a time vortex type year, where the whole year passed in a hasty blur. Instead, 2013 just evaporated. Gone without a trace — almost as though it was never here. Truly bizarre and a first for me. Sure we may occasionally have a forgotten year, but forgotten when it’s barely even passed? That’s peculiar. Considering all this, I am immensely grateful to bring you 10 INCREDIBLE bands that increased my listening pleasure this year — bands that prior to 2013 I had no knowledge of. If I have no other proof that 2013 existed, at least I have this. (Check out 2012 and 2011‘s. favorite finds.)

MIMFL - ff2013

MIGHTY OAKS Berlin indie-folk trio Might Oaks’ three members hail separately from the UK, US, and Italy, which may have something to do with their unique sound. ‘Just One Day’ is like a blissful journey through summers gone by, with a wonderful build up and intricately layered guitars throughout. I’ve previously featured that one HERE. Recently Mighty Oaks did a stunning session with TV Noir, which is how I discovered this beauty. It’s safe to say I am on pins and needles waiting for their LP due out by February’s end. Even more exciting, we’ll be having them stateside for SxSW. The brand new video for their new single, Brother, (out February 14th) hit the interwebs today. ALFRED HALL Synth pop duo Alfred Hall are the finest export to come out of Norway in recent years. Their exquisitely crafted songs are dreamy, uplifting, and insanely catchy. The dazzling ‘Foreign Coast’, with its sublime harmonies and beautiful guitar hook is a stand out tune, while the more up-tempo ‘Wild At Heart’ is a great candidate for a next single: both are featured HERE. The entire album is a daydream infused soundscape and one of my favorites releases of this past year. (*the birds chirping in the beginning of this makes me so happy) JOSH RECORD Folk-soul troubadour Josh Record released his debut ‘Bones EP’ back in February of ’13. Recorded in his bedroom on the rough South London estate he calls home, the title track showcases his angelic vocals, sweet harmonies, complex arrangements, and worldly lyrics. Josh has been previously featured HERE. He’s high on my must see live list. Stateside tour soon? Maybe?! A girl can hope. SLEEPY TEA Sleepy Tea are an Australian band, fronted by Tom Wearne, who produce dreamy acoustic pop infused with subtle electronics. Their lead single ‘Make Believe’ from their debut EP ‘The Place Where We Lay’ begins with a stripped down guitar over a filtered broken beat, with a delightful string section kicking in as the full beat drops, accompanied by some lovely synth lines sitting unobtrusively in the background to fill out the surreal soundscape. I featured Sleepy Tea’s ‘Make Believe’  this time last year when their debut EP hadn’t even been released, yet. I was anxious for new music then and the same holds true now — their 5-song EP was everything I’d hoped it would be and it went a long way to pacify me, but I’m ready for more. Patience has to be one of the hardest things about being such a avid fan. But hey, we can enjoy this tasty Tame Impala cover while we wait. LLOYD YATES The unique voice of Lloyd Yates projects a rare honesty and emotion, drawing inspiration from the unpredictable, occasionally chaotic natural beauty of his ocean home in Jersey. Prompting comparisons to Ben Howard and Bon Iver, he revels in the highs and lows of life, and this is evident in his songs. Lloyd found his way to me late in the year and I recently featured his, ‘Burn Baby Burn’ HERE. And don’t miss this treat by Bristol based, Loadstar [feat. Lloyd Yates]. EMMA LOUISE You’ve probably caught on that my listening tastes lean (strongly) in favor of a fella and his guitar, or some variation of… If you were to check my iTunes you’d see a mere 10% of my vast library is occupied by female fronted bands. But 21 year old Australian songstress Emma Louise was one of my listening highlights this year. The brilliant single ‘Boy’ from her sophisticated album ‘Vs Head Vs Heart’ reeled me in and solidified my undying admiration. Sadly I missed SxSW 2013, but I did catch Emma at The Hotel Cafe in LA, the week before — which I cover HERE. She was an absolute delight to experience live. NEULORE Neulore released their fantastic concept record ‘Apples & Eve’ back in 2010. In early 2013 they returned with ‘Shadow of a Man’, a spectacular single which brought this Nashville trio to the attention of the mainstream after appearing on the Grey’s Anatomy soundtrack. Neulore founds its way into these pages on my birthday last year — you can find that write-up HERE. I had hoped to catch them on the road with Andrew Belle this past fall, but I was in the midst of getting settled after my cross country move and couldn’t make my path connect with theirs. A SxSW rendezvous is in order! Mmmm. This one.  JOSH HOKE After releasing his amazing album ‘Ghosts & Glory’ at the beginning of the year (including personal favorite ‘Love Me or Leave Me Alone’ with guest vocals from Hannah Glavor), Josh Hoke, who’s recently relocated from my beloved Portland, OR, to Nashville, TN, returned with another offering in June, in the form of a 3 track EP entitled ‘Wait for Me’. This beauty is from it. VANCE JOY Australian singer-songwriter Vance Joy’s debut EP ‘God Loves You More When You’re Dancing’ is the product of years of plying his trade at open mic nights around his home town of Melbourne. While the entire EP is sensational I have a soft spot for ‘Emmylou’, which I shared HERE. I’m a sucker for the gentle beginning which leads into a thrillingly energetic climax. I’m over the moon that he’ll be at SxSW (again) this year! SIVU Sivu, aka James Page, is another artist in this year’s line up representing for London. I discovered him via his Soundcloud page which is chalk full of goodness: two EPs, a few free downloads and some really great remixes. He’s been previously featured in these pages RIGHT HERE. He’s also making the trek to Austin, Texas, for SxSW! It’s gonna be a killer year for music, my friends. Stay tuned to these pages for some vicarious living. SxSW is my CHRISTMAS and I will give you the full scoop. BONUS: noteable one to watch this year. Elliot Maginot *I’d like to extend a HUGE thank you to Johnny, a musician and wordsmith based in London, for lending me a few of his words and offering me some inspiration to finish this post! Without his help I might have managed to procrastinate another month.


Cheers to 2014, dear kindreds. May you live each day intentionally. Remember to step out from behind your keyboard. Put your phone down when you have coffee with a friend. Support the artists you love and pay for the music that fuels your soul. Say thank you and pause to make sure those around you know you mean it. Make eye contact. Laugh often and at the expense of no one. Give the gift of your time — remembering that our days, hours and minutes are numbered; spend them with those who fill you up and inspire you to be the best version of yourself. Dream big and take leaps of faith. Failure, while no fun at all, pales in comparison to the adrenaline rush of living boldly and with courage. I challenge you to love more fully than you did last year — a heart that expands never goes back to its original size. You can always love MORE and it’s worth the effort. I promise. I’ve heard too many whisper, “Maybe this will be my year” — it IS your year, all you have to do is drop the ‘maybe’. Embrace these days. Every single one is a chance to start over, to make a friend, to right a wrong, to learn something new, to say grace before a meal (and then savor it), to write a love letter or a thank you note, to befriend your body, to discover new music, to expand your mind by reading more, to share your light, to go where you’ve never gone before – but always wanted to . . . someday. Never forget, tomorrow is promised to no one.Namaste

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