Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My Current Favourite Top 5 Indie Female Singer Songwriters (in no particular order)

The world of music has had a rough ride since the creation of Napster file sharing software in the late 90s. However, during the past 10-15 years one of the greatest things that has happened to the industry is the massive number of female singer songwriters blossoming in acoustic guitar/folk/country genres across the world. There are many of them around. The following are my current 5 favourites (I am a fan of many others but listen to various works by the following 5 regularly at the moment:

Jen Cloher: This talented Melbourne based singer/songwriter & her band of varying members "The Endless Sea" are undoubtedly one Australian music scenes best kept secrets! Jen Cloher's debut ARIA nominated album "Dead Wood Falls" in 2006 was a mixture of beautiful piano based ballads & luscious country based melodies full of personal experiences. Whilst I love listening to Dead Wood Falls in its entirety, my favourite tracks on the album are "Spring" & "Rain". The song "Rain" in particular could have & should have been a huge hit in the US country music scene and is a great example of Jen Cloher's powerful vocal range & melodic voice.

Jen Cloher recently released "Hidden Hand", the follow up to her firs album. Hidden Hand lyrics are more intimate & personal. whilst the album overall has more upbeat melodies, the country based feel of most of the songs make is an extremely enjoyable & easy to listen work. My favourite tracks are the title track "Hidden Hands", "Time among the Pines" & "Fear is like a Forest".

Tristan Prettyman: is a native of San Diego California & one of the most popular acts in the Live circuit in Southern California. If you happen to be travelling to San Diego & decide to check the city's live music scene, you won't be disappointed if you are lucky enough to see Tristan Prettyman. She has so far released two main albums (amongst other works such as EPs) are "Twenty Three" and "Hello....x", both of which are great acoustic albums full of great acoustic melodies & lyrics filled with personal experiences.

Katie Melua: This Georgian born British raised singer/songwriter is a mainstream name in UK & parts of mainland Europe. Her 3 albums "Call off the Search", "Piece by Piece" & ""Pictures" have collectively sold very well. Her signature song is "Nine Million Bicycles" from her second album, a song which caused a small scientific stir across Britain with its absolutely beautiful lyrics. Katie Melua's style is a combination of love ballads/pop & jazz genres making her music suitable for most occasions.

Natalie Merchant: is by most accounts a veteran of the music scene & a great talent with a soulful voice. She started as the lead singer of the US indie/folk band 10,000 maniacs in the late 80s & early 90s (a band well worth a listen). Her soulful voice inevitably took her to the solo path & some of you may remember her debut solo album in 1995 "Tigerlily" which was both a commercial & critical success & spun off the international single "Carnival". The reason I am including Natalie Merchant in my list of current favourite female singer/songwriters is because after 7-8 years of avoiding the spotlight, she has just released a new solo album "Leave your Sleep", which is about to be released in Australia.

Duffy: Yes, I know Duffy is yet to release a second album following her worldwide smash hit album "Rockferry" in 2007. And yes, the fiercely nasty rivalries in the British music scene will always be given plenty of oxygen by the tabloid media's obsession with comparing the likes of Duffy, Adele, Feist, Jem & Dido with each other. However, the combinations of Duffy's great voice, the beautifully crafted songs & clever production make Duffy's Rockferry one of the greatest albums of the noughties (and beyond) and hence why to this day it is still charting in parts of Europe. As a result she makes my current list simply because I have not stopped listening to it since I bought it nearly 2 years ago!

There are plenty of other very talented female singer/songwriters around, including in Australia of course. I hope this blog post wets your appetite to discover them & enjoy their plentiful collective talent!