Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Acoustic Persuasion, of the Singer-Songwriter Variety

There's something to be said for acoustic music- just gentle guitar strumming and a voice.  Its a simple form of music, but one that manages to offer the soul moments of quiet calmness in the midst of every day craziness.  Listening becomes a restorative action, and can also be a stark reminder of how beautiful simplicity in music can be - there's a reason there are so many Sunday morning acoustic shows on radio across the country.  I've been in an acoustic state of mind lately, namely due to the random (or, perhaps, not so random) things I've been listening to- mostly, music of the singer/songwriter variety.

The words "singer/songwriter" evoke a particular type of music- often acoustic, although sometimes not.  Its distinction is its uncanny ability to somehow always take you back- to a time, a place, a feeling.   I suppose "singer/songwriter" can mean anything you want, but to me it means music that allows the true words and meanings of the lyrics to get across- actual poetry, set to music.  Its not everyone's cup of tea, and truthfully, it helps to be in an introspective type of mood when listening.  But if you aren't, this music will help you get there.

World Cafe Looks Back- 70's Singer-Songwriters
World Cafe recently marked its 20th anniversary, and celebrated in true World Cafe/David Dye fashion by combing through their archives for interviews with some iconic singer/songwriters.  The episode features interviews and live in-studio sessions from the pinnacle of singer/songwriterdom - Jackson Browne, Carole King, James Taylor, and Joni Mitchell.
Check it out HERE

Chris Pierce
One of the beauties of living in LA is that great music is everywhere.  Most of the time, it gets lost in the shuffle, but every once in awhile, something special pokes its head above the murmur of everything else out there, and it usually happens in a random a busker on Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, or, as was the case with this artist, in a yoga class.  Chris Pierce will fill your soul alright- with his velvety, wonderfully calm vocals, gorgeous lyrics, and stirring guitar. Check him out HERE. And here (starts just past the 1:00 mark):

World Cafe: Michael Kiwanuka
A British born son of Ugandan immigrants, Michael has opened for Adele and hails with a jazz background, but his music is starkly beautiful and pulls from some of the influences mentioned in the World Cafe 70's singer/songwriter piece. As a result his song "I'm Getting Ready" sounds somehow familiar the first time you hear it, in a quiet clear and stirring way.  World Cafe profiled him recently, which you can listen to HERE.

Toad the Wet Sprocket at Fuel/Friends
After initially compiling this list, I stumbled upon Heather's beautiful blog over at Fuel/Friends, who did a chapel session with Glen Phillips from Toad the Wet Sprocket.  I simply cannot say it any better than Heather, so head on over to her blog HERE for an acoustic and stunning performance.

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