Monday, November 29, 2010

Maryanna Sokol

Althought it was only last week, I honestly can't remember where I discovered Maryanna Sokol.  But that won't stop me from sharing this talented singer-songwriter with you. As a daughter of a jazz-turned-classical guitarist mother and jazz trumpetist composer-turned-piano technician father who met at acclaimed Berklee College of Music, Maryanna rarely, if ever, entertained any option but to grow up to be a career musician. Her early childhood was spent studying piano, violin, voice, and guitar, and figuring out creative ways to get out of practicing for lessons. She composed her first music at the age of 3, when her parents encouraged every vocal improvisation and dabble on the piano as a “song.” After an obligatory but healthy obsession with The Beatles at a young age, followed by an active junior high and high school career in choir, orchestra, musical theater, and various local performing groups, Maryanna attended Southern Methodist University and Sam Houston State University in TX  In pursuit of her education, she re-visited the art of songwriting, soon composing catchy and clever songs that appealed to educators and students as well as hard-drinking, honest folk in bars. With influences ranging from Leonard Bernstein to Regina Spektor to the ever-growing hype over the impending end of the world, Maryanna writes songs that weave the unabashed soulfulness so often found in the classic Americana singer-songwriter style with discriminating pop sensibilities. Her debut album, “Landfill,”  is filled with infectious folky pop songs that all music lovers and especially fans of Ingrid Michaelson, Bess Rogers and Jenny Owen Youngs wil cherish.

@ New York, USA
♫ Acoustic, Folk, Pop
♥ Story Always Goes (mp3)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dark Dark Dark

A few days  ago when I asked a friend [click for his website] for new music I should not miss out on, he recommended me Dark Dark Dark. This Minneapolis based chamber-folk sextet began in 2006 as a collaboration between multi-instrumentalists and singers Nona Marie Invie and Marshall LaCount. These two inspired songwriters bring together disparate influences – including minimalism, New Orleans jazz, Americana, Eastern European folk, and pop – creating something altogether singular and absolutely epic. This diversity is their greatest strength. They use contrast - in texture, tone, and imagery - to build their own deeply-experienced world into the songs. For Wild Go, their beautiful sophomore album, which arrives October 5, 2010 they expanded the sound they captured on their 2008 debut, The Snow Magic. They’ve continued with the line-up that solidified on their critically-acclaimed Bright Bright Bright EP (March 2010), and pushed further with more nuanced arrangements and more personal content. Making Wild Go, an album you should not miss out on!

@ Minneapolis, USA
♫ Alternative, Folk

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ida Jenshus

There were months, even years that I visited daily, but with all the recent changes, most of them not for the best in my opinion, it's often if I even visit my profile more than twice a week. What has not changed is's sometimes brilliant 'artist recommendations'. A very recent example is today's featured Ida Jenshus, which was recommended to me because I listened to Dylan LeBlanc a lot lately. Ida Jenshus, who plays the guitar since she was ten decided at age seventeen that she wanted to be a musician. After winning a talent show at the Norwegian television, Ida soon released her debut album "Colors of the Sun" which featured eleven songs, written over a five year period.She already decided her music style was going to be along the lines of Alison Krauss, Nanci Griffith and Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons when she discovered them as a teenager. The release of her debut brought her many things like playing on country music festivals, community centers, churches and ski jumps all with her band, whoo she loves and who make her touring worthwile. Last month, two years after her succesful debut, Ida released a more personal and intimate sophomore album. "No Guarantees" features clearer country elements but is also heavier and rockier on the other hand. Ida also tried to stay closer to her live sound; not necessarily perfect all the time, but shows more nerve. Ida, for me is a perfect example that talent show winners can also be succesful, by staying true to themselves.

@ Trondheim, Norway
♫ Acoustic, Folk Pop, Country

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Gregory Page

Sometimes the love of music goes from one person onto the other, and Gregory Page is a perfect example of that very process, a friend of a friend of mine recommended Gregory to him and not much later that friend told that "I had to listen to this new artist" So, now it's my turn of pointing you to this amazing singer-songwriter, that should've been way bigger in the (music)world by now! Enjoy and don't forget to spread the love! Gregory David Page was born in England to Armenian and Irish parents who met while they were on tour with their bands en route to the Middle East. Page was brought up in North London into a musical family where he studied classical guitar and composition at Trinity College Of Music. Upon moving to America he began a series of odd jobs, namely as a cab driver and cook he also began tirelessly writing and recording his own brand of music. It's hardly an exaggeration to observe that the voice and music of Al Bowlly had a definite effect on Page's career. Mr. Gregory Page's new album "Promise of A Dream" a collection of his earlier albums, that was released for the European market, is one you should not miss out on.

@ San Diego, USA
♫ Jazz, Acoustic, Alternative

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Amy Seeley

This post has been in the queue forever, (for at leas a year) but the upcoming release of her new record Plum Coulee, is the perfect opportunity to post this now! Having been raised in rural Montana and now living in Portland, Oregon Amy brings the beauty of the isolated backdrop of her upbringing to life through her command of the piano. Her greatest influence has been the music of Tori Amos, together with the elegance of Sarah McLachlan and the quiet, folk elements of Iron and Wine and Sufjan Stevens. For the past three years Amy has been playing solo shows throughout Alberta, and in December took her songs to Europe for performances in the UK, Germany and Amsterdam. The miles have given way to a stunning and articulate interplay of emotions and geography. “The Trees Are Glad You’re Back” is the first full-length release by Amy, following up on her successful “Call It Life” EP released in 2005. Which was followed by her latest release Eight Belles.

@ Portland, USA
♫ Indie, Folk, Pop
♥ Mile Marker (mp3)
▸ Myspace
▸ Official Website

Friday, November 19, 2010

Benjamin Francis Leftwich

After two months of barely looking at it, I checked the mailbox of LMLI last week, and it was flooded wit 1500 new e-mails. (don't worry, keep them coming) The last few days I started organizing and reading the first bunch and when reading his e-mail and watching his first music video "Atlas Hands" Benjamin Francis Leftwich instantly became my next featured artist. 21-year-old Benjamin Francis Leftwich with his floaty, melancholic vocals leaving him somewhere between Jose Gonzales and Iron and Wine is influenced by Elliot Smith, The Beatles, Kate Bush, Ryan Adams, Sigur Ros and Bruce Springsteen. Benjamin released his debut EP 'A Million Miles Out’, last month. Produced by Ian Grimble (Mumford & Sons, Manic Street Preachers, Siouxsie & The Banshees), will be followed by a full length in March 2011. Although born and bred in York, Benjamin is of South African and Australian descent; he sees Sydney as a home-from-home and has been writing songs for the album there as well as in London. As a self-taught guitarist, Leftwich has had plenty of time to perfect his craft; he began playing at the age of ten and realised early on that song-writing was a natural means of expression to him. 'I like the way a song can grab you for a couple of minutes and take you somewhere, and how the different elements in a track can make you feel.' Growing up on a diet of The Rolling Stones and Nina Simone, Leftwich discovered Placebo, Bob Dylan and Elliot Smith in his teens and quickly began playing out on the York music scene. Written whilst in the secluded countryside of Southern France, the four tracks on ‘A Million Miles Out’ have a sense of hopefulness. Having previously played with Mercury-nominated I Am Kloot, Fionn Regan and Lisa Mitchell, Benjamin Francis Leftwich will be playing a string of shows across the UK later this year.

@ York, UK
♫ Acoustic, Folk Rock
♥ When You Were Young (mp3)

El May

Coming posts are old drafts that never got posted, but nontheless are definitely worth checking out! First up is the Perth-born, Sydney-raised multi-instrumentalist El May who recently returned to the stage in her native Australia opening for some brilliant acts including Feist, Explosions in the Sky and The Brunettes. Her first EP "Sound the Key Note" made me love her right away. And her selftitled debut album that can be fully streamed on Bandcamp HERE, only reinforced that feeling. El May spent a lot of time as a peripheral member of many stellar acts like Luna, Ben Lee, Crooked Fingers, Britta and Dean, ect. Lara Meyerratken fronts before starting her own band: El May. The Her indelible sense of harmony made a big noise (quietly) as the secret weapon on Ben Lee's Awake Is the New Sleep. Independent film lovers will recognize her song "Hero" as the one sung by Michelle Williams in "The Baxter."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dylan LeBlanc

Not too long ago, a friend introduced me to the music of Dylan LeBlan and I've been listening to his debut album ever since. LeBlanc grew up hanging out amongst the session musicians at Fame Studios. By age 7, LeBlanc was already learning how to play a picking style on the guitar and began writing his own songs when his father bought him a guitar for his 11th birthday. When he turned 15 he began to hone his songwriting by playing live whenever he could, often traveling hundreds of miles on his own to play to just a handful of people. His musical influences include Townes Van Zandt, Neil Young and Spooner Oldham. As soon as he was of legal age, LeBlanc was signed to Fame Music by Rodney Hall. Part of the deal was that LeBlanc got access to the studio, where he recorded his debut album. In early 2009, Rough Trade Records founder Geoff Travis was introduced to LeBlanc's music and signed him to Rough Trade. LeBlanc's debut album Paupers Field was mixed by Trina Shoemaker and features guest vocals from Emmylou Harris.It was released on August 23rd and quickly became one of my favorite releases of the year.

@ Shreveport, USA
♫ Folk Rock, Acoustic

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Staves

In the last few months, probabely even the last year, MySpace made way for facebook for, in terms of finding new music. The Staves is one of those new talents I stumbled upon on FB. I love folk (pop), female vocals and music from the UK and guess what The Staves has it all! The Staves are comprising of sisters Jessica, Camilla and Emily who blend their distinctive voices into beautiful, spell-binding harmonies, singing their delicately crafted songs with a folk-twist here, a nod to Americana there and a distinctly British sound. Their first release, the "Facing West EP" which was recorded at Highfield Studios, in Liverpool, can be ordered from their facebook page, it's also fully streamable HERE

@ Watford, UK
♫ Folk, Acoustic, Pop

Friday, November 12, 2010

Leonie Meijer

This post was supposed to be online five months ago but never made it online. Leonie Meijer is an ambitious musician from Amsterdam. She is primarily known for her beautiful renditions of current pop songs by various artists and performs throughout the Netherlands in various configurations. Currently she is working hard but writing her own songs. The first time I heard Leonie sing, was at a concert of Gianmaria Testa, and she blew me away! As a little girl soon became clear that the platform has a familiar place for her. At the age of 14 she began singing, and since then it is impossible to imagine her without music. She followed several courses such as The Academy of Contemporary Music (Lelystad) and the Conservatory of Amsterdam. Private vocal coaches have made Leonie since childhood continue to develop her beautiful voice to a level that Robbie Williams to get nervous. A few years later, in 2009, she gave her first concert in Theatre Theater Bellevue, Calotte Club, with its large repertoire, Dutch. From this collaboration emerged the song "Twijfel". "Kind in de mijnen" written especially for the Sunday Foundation, a foundation established by Sander de Kramer and Hugo Borst. This was so well received that she decided to challenge this year with the Grand Prix of the Netherlands to enter, and in March 2010 it was announced that she was selected are Quarterfinal! Janco van der Kaaden (percussion) and Robert Kramer (bass) accompany her here. In this contest will play Leon in English repertory. She now is a finalist in a dutch talent tv show called The Voice Of Holland, I am glad she is finally getting the attention she deserves. Can't wait till the day that I'll be able to buy her first album, that day will surely come!

@ Amsterdam, NL
♫ Acoustic, Singer-Songwriter
♥ Twijfel (mp3)
♥ Kind in de Mijnen (mp3)
▸ Official Website


According to the Slow Songfacts, Sarah spent the early years of her life in Pakistan, where her father was the chief-engineer of the enormous Tarbela Dam, 30 miles to the northwest of Islamabad. The youngest of seven children, living in an expat colony without TV or newspapers, Rumer and her family would often sing and write songs together. Her brother Rob gave Rumer her first guitar; which she taught herself to play, and on which, years later, she wrote all the songs on her debut album, Seasons of My Soul. The singer/songwriter spent her teenage years in Carlisle at Newman School before leaving at 16 to pursue her ambition. It has been a hard slog but years later she is finally hitting the big time and gradually becoming a household name. She now hopes her success will inspire other young people to follow their dreams. Having had her single listed ahead of its release on both Radio 2 and Magic FM, she is also preparing to support Jools Holland on his UK tour this autumn – the finale being a show at the Albert Hall.

@ London, UK
♫ Jazz, Acoustic, Pop

I'm back..

Hi everyone,

sorry for not getting back at you earlier, but I have been incredibly busy for my classes, and since I'm in my third year of my Psychology major, it's also really important to give it all the time it needs. 

That is why I decided to change things a little at LMLI, go back to the basics that was and still is sharing great music with you. Not in all posts I'll review the artists, but instead will copy some information for the ones that want to know a little about the artists, instead of only listening to the songs.

And that new version of LMLI will start TONIGHT!

Please still feel free to send your recommendations and promo's as it helps me to decided what to put on this blog. 

Thanks for your patience!