Tag Archives: friday favorite

Friday Favorite: Marie Hines

single cover

single cover

I’ve been listening to Marie Hines for years now, and what’s more, I’m proud to say that I have contributed in a small way to her success by writing bios for her past three releases. I’ve been so impressed with the young Nashville singer/songwriter’s bright, blushing melodies from the beginning, but her newest effort, a collection of love songs called The Tide and the Sea, is as bold and mercurial as I have ever seen her, and I cannot praise it enough.

The Tide and the Sea begins briskly, a crisp breeze fluttering through spring grass, playful and steady. “My Love Will Never Fail You,” the expansive, glittering single, makes confident declarations on the origins of love with lyrics like, “I don’t believe in chance. I think it’s the choice we make, and I choose you for the rest of my days,” its melody expanding into broad, undulating layers of a soaring orchestral spectrum. “In My Arms,” co-written with fellow Nashville songwriter Justin Halpin, is a richly textured, sanguine tune with a spirited rhythm. The golden, ebullient “Always Been You,” another Justin Halpin co-write, boasts the title lyric – “You be the tide; I’ll be the sea. The rise or fall brings you home to me, brings you home to me. It’s always been you, love.” – and acts as the magnetic, whimsical cornerstone of Marie’s silvery tunes.

“Forever Falling for You,” co-written with Justin Tam of Nashville folk band Humming House, is a glowing, ethereal track with lyrics warm and hopeful: “We’ll build a house someday; we’ll build a home in the meantime.” And the lilting, dramatic “Forever Mine,” co-written with Justin Halpin and featuring background vocals by Marie’s new fiancé Ben Ringel of Nashville blues band The Delta Saints, swells and diminishes in arresting, elegant strokes, closing the album with an exultant, richly resonant ballad of halcyon love, repeating the chorus: “Oh my love, my life, always you and I, steady as we rise; be forever mine.”

Listen to the new single on Spotify, and look for the love song EP, The Tide and the Sea, on 02/12/13. I highly recommend her past work as well, Worth the Fight and HeartCrash in particular, and for more info about Marie, see http://www.mariehines.com.

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Friday Favorite: Abigail Washburn

beautiful

Abigail Washburn is an incredible woman, and she can play banjo like you wouldn’t believe, but that’s just one of a thousand things that make her a fascinating icon in bluegrass/folk music today. She led her whole life planning to be a lawyer in China. Yeah. Then one day, she picked up a banjo. And another day, she played at the International Bluegrass Music Assocation (IBMA) Conference in KY. And then she was an artist. Just like that. And thank goodness for that drastic re-route because the woman’s music is striking and rich, pastoral and elegant. Washburn’s 2005 debut, Songs of a Traveling Daughter, was called sparse and hauntingly beautiful, but her sophomore effort, City of Refuge, released just this week, is full-bodied and warm.

Washburn’s music seems to slip into one’s consciousness from worlds away. The strings’ accompaniment creates a gossamer film over each of her songs, diffusing their radiant luminosity to a gentle golden glow, allowing their harmonies to wash over the listener subtly, graciously. Washburn’s vocals are pleasant and feminine, falling somewhere between Norah Jones and Alison Krauss.

Highlights from City of Refuge include the title track, “Bring Me My Queen,” “Ballad of Treason,” “Last Train,” and “Bright Morning Stars.” I highly recommend listening to a few of these tracks on Abigail’s MySpace and watching this quick interview with Washburn herself about the making of the album:

For my official review of City of Refuge, see my portfolio.

Friday Favorite: Kate Nash

adorbs

Kate Nash has been a usual suspect on playlists of mine for about three years now. I heard her first on my Britpop Pandora station, just a few days before her debut album Made of Bricks came out in the UK, an album that reached #1 on the UK charts and eventually went platinum. I’ve been in love ever since.

Nash’s music feels like an adorably rebellious, wickedly sharp ode to the eclectic. Each song is cleverly penned and expertly played, both recognizable and unique. Even at 23, Kate Nash touches on everyday themes with playful honesty and subtle poignancy.

Kate’s most recent album, My Best Friend is You, is an even broader range of influences and sounds. From her first album, my favorite tracks are the single “Foundations,” “Dickhead,” “Skeleton Song,” and “Merry Happy.” From the new album, that was released in the US last May, my favs are “Paris,” single “Do Wah Doo,” “Take Me to a Higher Plane,” “Later On,” and “Pickpocket.”

I’ve never seen her live because she spends so little time touring in the States. I watch her MySpace pretty consistently, hoping against hope that she’ll stop somewhere even remotely close to Nashville sometime soon. Watch her first video from My Best Friend is You. Isn’t she just magnetic?

Friday Favorite: Foxy Shazam

they caraaaazy

Foxy Shazam, y’all.  They’ve been blowing my mind.  I can’t stop listening.  Ever since I saw them at a show at The End in Nashville earlier this week (which we actually went to to see Hollerado, whom I expounded upon in yesterday’s post), their self-titled album has been on constant rotation – on my alarm clock, a Pandora radio station at work, in the car, on my iPod while I work out….  I think it’s safe to say I’m obsessed.  And can you blame me?!  Their brand of glam funk rock is so utterly mesmerizing; it’s a kind of music rich and electric, magnetic in the fullness of their sound and the vibrancy of their performance.  Foxy Shazam is a six-piece from Cincinnati frequently compared to Queen, Meat Loaf, and The Darkness.  And that live show on Tuesday was, simply put, a spectacle.  I had never heard of them before, and I consider myself lucky for being at that show.

Now, I know that you guys trust my opinion in all things fabulous in the music world, but I say!  Don’t!  See for yourself!  You all just head on over to their MySpace, and listen to “Count Me Out,” the single “Unstoppable,” “Bye Bye Symphony,” and “Wanna-be Angel.”  Like right now.  Or no, wait.  Watch this totally insane music video of “Oh Lord.”  Then go, go, go!  HAPPY FUNK-ROCKIN’ WEEKEND TO ALL.

Friday Favorite: Band of Horses

the band... of horses

This Friday Favorite thing hasn’t been nearly as frequent a recurrence as I anticipated, but then again, I suppose I really only had the structure in place in case I needed prompting or a fallback. But I don’t have that problem (if there’s irregularity in posting it’s due to time constraints, not content).

However, the Friday Favorite seemed thoroughly appropriate in this case.  Last night, BOH played as part of Live on the Green, a fabulous free outdoor concert series that happens in downtown Nashville every Thursday for six weeks in September and October.  They were fantastic, and I haven’t been able to get them out of my head today.  I had really fallen in love with Band of Horses upon the release of Infinite Arms earlier this year, but seeing them live was definitely the cement.  It’s not just about the organic harmonies or the thundering drums.  It’s the earnest vocals, the artful lyrics, the buzzing guitars, the rollicking melodies and infectious rhythms.  Band of Horses isn’t Americana or folk or anything, but it’s not just alternative or rock either.  Their body of work is easy to listen to, difficult to classify, and highly recommended.

I remember discovering their first album in a record store; I was originally attracted to its cover art.  I love the font these use for their name and the present of nature in the designs.  Pictured below are the debut and the most recent albums, respectively (click to enlarge):

But of course, they’ve remained on frequent rotation because of their music.  Best songs include “The Funeral,” “The Great Salt Lake,” “NW Apt,” and “Factory.”  Hear a couple on MySpace, and watch this video:

I chose “The Funeral” to feature because it’s such a marvelous song, and it was also their first big hit.  But I suggest taking a minute to watch the video of “Laredo” (the single from Infinite Arms) too.  Listen and love, friends.