Maybe it’s because I miss “Nashville” or maybe it’s because there are few people in New York who appreciate country music. Whatever the case, I’ve recently fallen hard for the spitfire trio that is Pistol Annies.
Country superstar Miranda Lambert joined the talented Ashley Monroe and Angeleena Presley to form one wicked group of women in 2011. More than just pretty faces, these girls’ songs are full of grit, twang and fun.
Although they just canceled June tour dates (Miranda will appear solo), I’m hopeful for another announcement soon that the tour is back on. Don’t they know I need boots & banjos in my life?
It’s a big risk sharing their stuff with my literally hundred readers, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take.
Just make sure you don’t fall too hard — they’re not as nice as they look.
My fave! I’ve contributed at least 700 of these views.
Who doesn’t love a little (albeit crazy) self-deprecation?
The video alone makes it worth a watch … and listen.
A sampling of favorites, courtesy of cleverly created YouTube channels:
“Wrong Song” – Juliette Barnes f. Rayna James
“No One Will Ever Love You” – Rayna James f. Deacon Claybourne
“Undermine” – Juliette Barnes f. Deacon Claybourne
Plus these guys:
- “I Will Fall” – Gunnar Scott & Scarlett O’Connor
- “Telescope” – Juliette Barnes
- “Buried Under” – Rayna James
Check out this week’s episode — the winter finale — to get yourself hooked too. “Nashville” airs Wednesdays on ABC at 10/9c.
I used to pride myself on knowing the artist behind every song to cross my eardrums, but I totally slacked when I first heard “Poison & Wine” on a TV promo. I found its source (much later) to be The Civil Wars: a duo of singer-songwriters, Joy Williams and John Paul White.
The pair met in Nashville at a songwriters’ camp and ended up in the same room as random partners — what can only be described as country-music kismet. Their songs are genuine and complicated, with little acoustic backup, while the music and lyrics stand on their own.
It’s completely refreshing in a world of digitized music, and mega-celebs like Taylor Swift took notice quickly. Swift announced her appreciation for their sound — inspiring millions to tune in — and she collaborated with the duo for “The Hunger Games” soundtrack to create “Safe & Sound.”
Nominated for various awards last year, The Civil Wars finally struck gold at the 54th GRAMMY Awards, with Best Folk Album and Best Country Duo/Group Performance (neither televised). They also introduced Taylor before she performed there.
Other songs to check out from The Civil Wars:
The Civil Wars are wrapping up the American leg of their current tour, with the remainder of the year being spent in Europe.
Smooth and sultry, like a good whiskey.
Plain and simple, I’ve fallen in love with Alex Ebert, frontman for Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. His past is storied, but whose isn’t? The voice makes up for the beard, and I can’t seem to get enough of these songs.
“Home” is easily their best-known hit, and it’s been stuck on loop in my pretty little head for days. You may recognize it from various commercials, including this adorable contest-winning tot from a Hyundai spot.
Laugh until we think we’ll die …
I could gush about this song for days, so I’ll just stop myself there and save you all. Oh, except check out this awesome doormat for just $40! OK, that’s all.
Never could be sweeter than with you
Other favorite songs include:
- “Janglin” – Also featured in many commercials and on “Gossip Girl” (so scandalous).
- “Carries On” – This one is perfect right before bedtime … ahhh.
- “Truth” – Do you have the beat on loop in your head yet? No? Listen one more time.
- “40 Day Dream” – Eerie lyrics over an upbeat tune = perfection.
The band is currently recording their next album, so no new tour dates have been announced. Keep your eyes peeled for updates, though.
You’re welcome for putting at least two tracks into your mental jukebox.
Seriously, I can live with the beard.
I have a total girl crush on Zooey Deschanel from her roles in movies like “Elf” and “Failure to Launch” (literally, the only reason I dug the latter). But this quirky beauty has another side gig, among movies, a hit TV show, Cotton commercials and being the face of Rimmel: indie band She & Him.
Paired with guitarist M. Ward, Deschanel’s voice soars through both original and cover songs that will make you smile. She has contagious energy, and Him is a showman through and through.
Some of my favorite singles include:
- “I Put a Spell on You” (I was obsessed with “Hocus Pocus,” but that’s a separate discussion)
- “Me and You”
- “Dream a Little Dream of Me”
Grooving to these guys makes even the worst Case of the Mondays pretty bearable. They may even turn this Scrooge into a fan of Christmas music … maybe.
I already know you’re going to judge me for how I found this band, and I’m OK with it. “Young Blood” from The Naked and Famous first hit my ears during a movie preview for “PROM.” Go ahead, laugh. The fact remains: I freaking love this song.
Featured in numerous TV shows (“Gossip Girl,” “Chuck” and “Awkward.,” to name a few), this song has a sick sound with sweet lyrics. The main talents are Thom Powers and Alisa Xayalith, but the band performs as a four-piece live.
Hailing from New Zealand, these guys have a vibe that is a little bit hipster, a little bit effortless cool.
And I dig it. A lot.
Trying to find the in-between, fall back in love eventually …
Check out these other singles from The Naked and Famous:
Their current album “Passive Me, Aggressive You” is pretty fab from what I’ve heard, and the U.S. leg of their tour ends next month.
To mark the end of an absolutely insane week, I just had to celebrate a songstress whom I’ve recently found. And yes, one person counts as a band I love. Just go with it.
Ellie Goulding is a self-taught singer and guitarist from the U.K. Learning from fellow musicians, she copied their styles and voices to perfect the craft. After winning a talent competition at university (how British do I sound?), she gained the confidence to perform onstage regularly.
I first heard Goulding’s unique voice when she performed on an episode of “Saturday Night Live” earlier this year. Her remake of “Your Song” gave me chills. The single was featured in British marketing in late 2010, and it’s no surprise that it was an instant hit.
Some other releases of hers I adore:
Goulding is signed with Polydor Records and has been nominated for numerous awards during her short time on the music scene. She just appeared at Outside Lands in San Fran and is currently traveling the U.S. on The Lights Tour.
Her talent is undeniable … just as her beauty is. Hope you like!