Saturday, August 14, 2010

Recent Musical Discoveries

Some of my favorite YouTube videos recently have been from ITV's Transatlantic Sessions, featuring mixtures of American, Irish, and British musicians performing everything ranging from traditional American and Irish folk songs to modern folk and country songs.

Rosanne Cash recorded country standard "500 Miles" for her album The List, and this is just one example of what a fantastic interpretive singer she is. I think Cash has an unfair reputation of being someone who owes her career to being the daughter of Johnny Cash, but she deserves full credit for being a perfectly legitimate singer/songwriter in her own right. I'd definitely say that her albums Interiors (from 1990) and Black Cadillac (from 2006) stand proudly alongside anything her father recorded.

This is from one of the early Transatlantic Sessions back in the late 90's. Maura O'Connell is someone I discovered on YouTube, and this was my introduction to her. O'Connell's alto voice doesn't have the massive range that we see in most singers today, but she's got so much authenticity to her voice that it doesn't matter at all. (I love the pure, natural tone of her voice.) "Trouble in the Fields" is a song that most singers couldn't sell, but O'Connell completely sells it.

Despite an Oscar nomination at 26, a successful sister (Shelby Lynne), and a voice that could shame most singers in Nashville, Allison Moorer never quite made it in mainstream country music. "Send Down An Angel", a completely mainstream single she released to country radio in 2000 (and one of the finest singles in any genre of the decade), peaked at 66 on the charts. Her performance here is of the old sentimental Irish folk song "Carrickfergus". It doesn't require commentary.

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