Sunday, July 5, 2015

So Far, So Good 2015 (July 5, 2015)

July 1, 2007 - No More Kings - the first blog post of the Emerge Music Group.  Now, 8 years and over 400 bands later, it's time to change things up.  I haven't missed a week of posting in 8 years no matter what was going on in my work or personal life.  And while I won't be posting every Sunday as I have been, I will still be sharing my favorite new bands with anyone who wants to read about them so be sure to follow me on Twitter (@emergemusic) and keep an eye on our Facebook Page and Blog when there is more to share than just a quick tweet.

Thanks to everyone who has been part of this and read some of these - hopefully you've found some new bands/music that has made your day/week/life better.  It's been fun sharing all of these bands with you!

To round out 8 great years of blogging I am happy to share my mid-year "best of" list - "So Far, So Good 2015" - the best songs I've heard during the first half of the year. Some of these songs are brand new, some of them were just new to me.  Either way, I hope everyone can find a few songs to enjoy from this list!

So Far, So Good 2015
*Tracks are in alpha order by first name of artist/band.

  1. The Other Side - Aaron and Andrew
  2. I'm Ready - AJR
  3. Shine On - Alan Doyle
  4. Too Far - Alex G
  5. Noah - Amber Run
  6. Dial Tones - As It Is
  7. Wild Woman - The Ballroom Thieves
  8. Just The Same - Barnaby Bright
  9. Left The Broken - Bethan Leadley
  10. Winter Hymns - Charlie Simpson
  11. Wasting Water - Connor Zwetsch
  12. Boston Town - Della Mae
  13. The Way She Walks - Dirty Loops
  14. I Hear Your Voice - The Empty Pockets
  15. FourFiveSeconds (Cover) - Gentleman's Rule
  16. Like A Drum - Guy Sebastian
  17. Vintage - High Dive Heart
  18. Mad Mission - Honor By August
  19. Weapons - Hudson Taylor
  20. Let You Go - Irene & The Sleepers
  21. Hold On - Jared & The Mill
  22. Would You Know - Leah Capelle
  23. Shut Me Up - Lindsay Ell
  24. Other Suns - Magic Giant
  25. Billion - Mat Kearney
  26. Catch & Release - Matt Simons
  27. Necessary - Michael Tolcher
  28. You Life Me Up - Mikey Wax
  29. We're All In This Together - Sam Roberts Band
  30. Same As You - The Silent War
  31. Our Streets - Stokeswood
  32. Getaway - Strange Fiction 
  33. Love That Lasts - Tim Halperin
  34. Downtown - Whitehorse
  35. Middle of America - Will Hoge
  36. Mrs. Magoo - Witchita 
Have a great week and enjoy the music!


Sunday, June 28, 2015

High Dive Heart (June 28, 2015)

If there was a check list for what you need to be successful in the music business in 2015, High Dive Heart is getting a check mark next to every item on that list.  They are a duo that features great male and female lead vocals, their songs are catchy and upbeat, their music can easily be categorized as pop, acoustic or contemporary country, and they have that "Mumford-esque" quality at times that everyone is in love with right now.  Their first single, "Vintage" is one of my favorite songs of the year and is doing well on Spotify now which will hopefully translate to radio play soon. They have a 4 song EP available now on Noisetrade which I highly recommend. More music is coming soon and check out the video for Vintage below!

Have a great week and enjoy the music!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Bethan Leadley (June 21, 2015)

Lab Records has done it again.  I hop on to their website to make sure I haven't missed any new signings or releases and there she is - Bethan Leadley (or "Musican Bethan" as she's sometimes listed).  A few youtube videos and iTunes samples later and I'm downloading her EP "New Kinda New" and loving each of the 4 songs.  I don't know a lot about her - she's British, she can sing, she can write and she has that special quality in her voice that got me hooked quickly.  Looks like more music is on the way in the near future but for now check out "Left The Broken" and see the video for "Safe Lined" below.

Have a great week and enjoy the music!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Stokeswood (June 14, 2015)

Atlanta based Stokeswood is the future of music.  They must know it too because their new EP, being released this Tuesday (6/16/15), is called "2075."  What makes this band special is that their music is both futuristic and classic at the same time. The first single, "Our Streets" (see video below) quickly makes you wonder whether you've been "Rick-rolled." But that doesn't last long and somehow this song feels like it was ripped from the 90s and fused perfectly with modern electronic music. I urge you to check them out and you can do so by downloading a "pay what you want/can" sampler on Noisetrade. I can't wait to hear the rest of the new EP in just 2 days but for now I'll keep obsessing over "Our Streets."

Have a great week and enjoy the music!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Native Run (June 7, 2015)

I'm excited to feature Native Run this week for two main reasons. First is that country music just belongs in the summer time! Second is that it happens to be lead singer Rachel Beauregard's birthday today so what better time to bring attention to this country duo that is quickly making a name for themselves in Nashville and beyond.  "Good On You" is the song that should make them country radio stars.  It's everything you want in a modern country song and I like everything about it.  They only have 3 songs available for purchase, so far, but I hear that new music may be in the works. Don't wait to see what comes next for them, go give them a listen now and get ahead of the game.

Have a great week and enjoy the music!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Leah Capelle (May 31, 2015)

There are few better recommendations than those that come from artists I like/respect.  Such is the case with the incredibly talented Leah Capelle.  Her music was recommended by Arden Kaywin (featured in this blog back in July, 2009!) who did some producing/arranging on Leah's self titled EP, released just last week. The first single, "Would You Know" is such a great song (check out the video below). She has a wonderful voice that can just as easily warm your heart or break it. She is the epitome of the modern day singer-songwriter who can captivate with voice and guitar or fill the room with a band. This EP has six songs that will take you on a musical journey that you won't soon forget.

Have a great week and enjoy the music!

PS I wanted to announce that as of July 5th, the Emerge Music Group 8th Anniversary, I will be taking a break from weekly posts.  I will continue to feature emerging bands on Twitter (@emergemusic), our Facebook group ( but I will do it more with quick tweets, posting a video or song, etc. and it may be once a week, several times a week or just whenever I hear something worth sharing.  I've been doing weekly posts, without fail, for almost 8 years and it's time to change things up. So I'm not going anywhere but looking to share great new music with people in simpler, easier ways then the traditional weekly posts.  I hope you'll continue to follow me and continue to support great up and coming music and musicians.

Leah Capelle: "Would You Know"

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Mike Meadows (May 24, 2015)

Mike Meadows is an emerging artist who has played in the biggest venues, in front of huge audiences with thousands and thousands of screaming teenage girls and yet hardly anyone knows his name.  That's because he plays guitar, banjo, keyboards and more in Taylor Swift's band. But he is a talented singer and song writer who recently released an EP ("When You Need Someone, Vol. 1")  that will appeal to fans of Taylor but also to a wide range of music lovers.  He has an easy going style that walks on the line between pop, country, folk and rock.  These five songs are all great and go along nicely with a drive in the countryside, a backyard BBQ or a live show at your local bar or coffeehouse.  Go give it a listen and show some love to one of the guys behind the biggest artist on the planet.

Have a great week and enjoy the music!


Sunday, May 17, 2015

An Honest Year (May 17, 2015)

An Honest Year call themselves a pop-punk band and I guess that label fits but it is also a bit limiting. While this band can rock out with the best of the them they are also have a high level of musicianship which isn't always the case in this broad genre.  Their latest EP, "Horizons" showcases their vast skill set, incredible song writing, delicious hooks and so much more.  "I Hope This Hurts" and "Chin Up, Kid" are two of my favorites from this 5 song collection. Check out what these guys from Philly have to offer.

Have a great week and enjoy the music!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Ballroom Thieves (May 10, 2015)

I'm not exactly sure why, but I love it when a modern bound adds a cello to their lineup.  Not just for a song or two, but as an integral part of their band.  Years ago I loved a band called "Verbow" that did just that and now I am enjoying the fantastic sounds of The Ballroom Thieves, who beautifully use the cello as a focal point of their music.  Their debut full length album, "A Wolf in the Doorway" is out now and really wonderful. Music full of warm sounds, great harmonies and incredible song writing.  Some of their music sounds somewhat similar to The Lumineers or The Lone Bellow but that cello just adds something special. Start with the amazing song "Wild Woman" and then just keep listening, there is a lot to like!

Have a great week and enjoy the music!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Katrina Stone (May 3, 2015)

Katrina Stone sounds a little bit like every female singer you've ever liked, and at the same time presents a sound that is truly her own.  While she's spent some time in the duo "The Likes of Us" she really shows her true colors with the release of "Never Wanna Grow Up" - the title alone grabbed my attention and the song is a total favorite.  The whole album is full of music that is warm, inviting and full. Where most singer songwriters stick to the basic guitar/bass/drums set-up this album has a much more full sound with multiple layers of vocals, full band including horns and much more.  The album kind of feels like the Katrina Stone Variety Show and it works from beginning to end.  What's even better is that she isn't selling the album on iTunes but giving it away for the cost of your email address on Noisetrade (tips are always appreciated and accepted).  There's so much to like!

Have a great week and enjoy the music!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Max Schneider Projects: MAX, Witchita (April 26, 2015)

Max Schneider may be an actor (and a handsome one at that) but he also has a quickly growing musical career and this week we are featuring two of his "projects" Max and Witchita - each of which has a few songs out with more to come.

MAX is his solo pop music that is upbeat, fun and catchy.  He just released "Gibberish" that features Hoodie Allen and it's a lot of fun. "Mug Shot" has more of an old school feel and really has a great groove to it.

Witchita is a throwback to the classic soul band sound with horns, keyboards and back up singers, imagine if Jerry Lee Lewis was just starting his career now. "Mrs. Magoo" is a totally fun party song that may cause you to look up how to do the mashed potato!

Regardless of whether he's in a band or flying solo, Max has a ton of talent and known how to get your heart rate going with his music. Ideal for your next workout mix!

Have a great week and enjoy the music!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Speedbumps (April 19, 2015)

The Speedbumps couldn't have come up with a better name for their band.  A speed bump forces you to slow down and take it a little easy and that's exactly what this band does.  They combine gorgeous vocals along with an array of acoustic instruments to create a warm and welcoming sound.  Imagine walking out to your backyard and finding the best array of musicians sitting around a camp fire - those are The Speedbumps.  Their new album, "Soil To The Seed" will be released on May 5th and the first song "Done Treading Water" is now available.  Also available is a free five song sampler on Noisetrade called "The Cabin."  Give it a listen and you're likely to find the only speed bump you've ever actually enjoyed.

Have a great week and enjoy the music!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Hudson Taylor (April 12, 2015)

While some may disagree, when I listen to Hudson Taylor I can't help but imagine them as a modern day version of Simon and Garfunkel.  This singer-songwriter duo knows how to tell a story and make a point with their music and do it in a variety of styles.  But they always do it with excellent musicianship, great harmonies and songs that you never want to end.  These brothers from the outskirts of Dublin have just released their debut full length album, "Singing for Strangers" and it is an epic endeavor.  21 songs that will keep your musical appetite satisfied for days and songs that you will keep coming back.  Be sure to check out "Battles," "Weapons" and "Chasing Rubies" which was the first song of theirs that really got my attention.

Have a great week and enjoy the music!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Will Hoge (April 5, 2015)

It seems a bit funny to feature Will Hoge as he prepares to release his 10th album, especially since I've been a fan for years and even had the privilege to see him live and meet him years ago.  He has so much great music in his past including one of my all time favorite songs, "Baby Girl."  This song stayed in my head for almost 10 years until the birth of my first daughter.  Will's new album "Small Town Dreams" is coming out on Tuesday and the first few songs that have been released are incredible.  The comparison I keep coming back to is a modern day John Cougar Mellencamp. These songs come from the heartland and tell stories of the people, the places and the moments in life.  Start with "Middle of America" and also be sure to check out "They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To." I can't wait to get my hands on the rest of the album in a few short days and hope you will give it a listen as well!

Have a great week and enjoy the music!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Charlie Simpson (March 29, 2015)

Sometimes it just takes a few moments, a few notes, to realize that you're listening to something special and spectacular.  It didn't take me long to know that Charlie Simpson was just that.  It was almost too good to be true so I listened to another song, and then another, and before the hour was over I had purchased "Long Road Home" and fell in love with the whole album.  His voice is stellar all on its own but he brings in harmony after harmony to add these incredible layers to each song.  His music is a crazy combination of folk-like singer-songwriter and modern indie rock band but it's really none of those things at all. If you're asked "who does Charlie Simpson sound like" the only appropriate answer is... "Charlie Simpson."  I can't get enough of it and hope you'll like it as well!

Have a great week and enjoy the music!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Guy Sebastian (March 22, 2015)

Guy Sebastian is coming so you might as well be ready.  This Australian pop phenom keeps releasing better and better music and it's just about time for him to make the big leap to the US radio and concert market where he'll do very well.  He's been around for a while and has a smooth and impressive voice.  Two recent songs that caught my attention are "Tonight Again" which is being used by his home country as their entry into the 2015 Eurovision contest. He wrote and recorded this song in just a few days and it's one of those songs that gets in your head and stays there.  "Like A Drum" is one of my favorite songs of the year and could easily be a huge hit.  His latest album, "Madness," is not out yet in the US but from the samples I've heard it sounds fantastic and I can't wait for it to be released.  Check out his video for Tonight Again (below) and when his name and music hits our shores you'll be ahead of the game.

Have a great week and enjoy the music!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Wellspring (March 15, 2015)

The Wellspring are a great folk pop band that feature male and female vocals and sound somewhat similar to The Weepies but with a little more energy and bounce.  Their easy going style is hard not to like and I like it a lot! Their latest EP "Easy Tiger" features "Onwards" which is a favorite and even includes a rap break. "The Girl Who Cried Sheep," which came out just over a year ago, really caught my attention with their cover of "The Boxer" (Simon and Garfunkel) as well as an English/Hebrew piece called "Refa Na La (Heal Her)" which is gorgeous whether or not you are familiar with the language. The Wellspring has scored some movies and seem to have their hands in a variety of musical opportunities and I encourage you to check them out!

Have a great week and enjoy the music!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Matt Simons (March 8, 2015)

I first saw Matt Simons before I heard him.  He was opening a small show for his good friend (and previously featured Emerge Music artist) Chris Ayer.  I was impressed with Matt's voice and sound and enjoyed the experience.  He has kind of lingered just outside my radar for the last 2 years until his latest album, "Catch and & Release" came to my attention. Once I got a listen to this batch of songs I new he had taken that next step to becoming a truly outstanding artist. "You Can Come Back Home" has an upbeat and easy groove that puts Matt in the same class as Andy Grammer, Eric Hutchinson or Matt Hires. And then I heard the title track and realized I had just found one of my favorite songs of 2015.  The song is gorgeous, warm and surprisingly simple but beautifully layered with the most beautiful harmonies in the chorus that I can't get enough of. The album continues to showcase Matt's diversity as an artist incorporating pop, electronic, rock and folk elements. It's a phenomenal album in every way - go find out for yourself!

Have a great week and enjoy the music!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Magic Giant (March 1, 2015)

I've been sitting on my hands waiting to share Magic Giant with all of you and I can't wait any longer!!  This LA based band has a 4 song EP out (available for free) and I have a feeling once they get signed things are going to happen very quickly.  While they have a unique style and sound they could be grouped along with Mumford and Sons, The Lumineers etc in that their songs tend to be big adventures - often changing tempos and feel as it moves along.  Lots of great instrumentation, group vocals and a party/jam atmosphere.  This band happens to be  extra special to me because it's lead singer is one of my former students and he's had quite the musical journey and I am so impressed with his work in this band.  Their first song, "Glass Heart" instantly became a favorite and everything I've heard from them since has been golden.  You can stream/download their 4 songs for free and I encourage you to hop on their bandwagon early - it's going to be a great ride!

Have a great week and enjoy the music!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Native Sibling (February 22, 2015)

Sometimes things are just better when they are simple.  Yes, we have the technology to make music sound layered, complicated and computerized but often it's when you strip all of that away and let the pureness of voice and instrument shine through that perfection is achieved.  The Native Sibling isn't complicated - it is a brother and sister - they sing, there are guitars, sometimes pianos or other acoustic instruments - and it sounds so good.  Their latest release, "Letters Kept to Ourselves" is soft, sweet and warm and while I haven't seem them live I am pretty sure that what you hear on their album is what you would hear if they were standing in front of you.  This is music to get lost in and hope you never find your way out.  "Letters Kept to Ourselves" is available on Noisetrade as well as most digital music sites.

Have a great week and enjoy the music!


Sunday, February 15, 2015

AJR (February 15, 2015)

Go check out AJR​, three brothers from NYC who are getting ready to release their debut album which is full of modern pop goodness.  If you pre-order you'll get 4 tracks right away and each is outstanding.  These guys sing well, write well and create music that is fun and interesting.  Looking forward to hearing the whole album when it's released in a few short weeks! For now I'll just these songs on repeat!!

Have a great week and enjoy the music!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Connor Zwetsch (February 8, 2015)

Sitting here watching the 2015 Grammy's, I can't help but wonder what the awards might look like if there was more of a focus on new music and musicians and not just the traditional music "industry" that has been running things for decades.  I wish there were more outlets for great artists like the ones featured in this group to gain greater exposure.  Thanks to all of you for checking out our Emerge Music artists and for spreading the word to your friends!

Connor Zwetsch is an incredible talente who, in my book, should be up on the Grammy stage in the near future.  Her music flows so beautifully and effortlessly in her debut EP, "What Comes After." "Wasting Water" has more of a rock sound leaning towards The Lumineers, Of Monsters and Men and even Mumford and Sons. "Open Road" sounds like it borrowed its opening melody from Matchbox 20.  "Candy Bars" make Connor sound like a real story teller in addition to a wonderful singer and musician.  Now is the time to check her out, not just because there are five great songs here but also because you can get them for free on Noisetrade.

Thanks for the support, have a great week and enjoy the music,

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Alan Doyle (February 1, 2015)

It's Super Bowl Sunday so I'm of course featuring a Canadian artist this week (figuring that most of our American readers are busy with football tonight).  Alan Doyle may be best known as the lead singer of Great Big Sea (one of my all time favorite bands) but his solo work is phenomenal! His most recent album, "So Let's Go" is one of the best collections of music from a singer-songwriter I've heard in years.  His distinctive voice can do no wrong to me but this album runs the gamut from drinking party songs (1, 2, 3, 4) to radio ready pop songs (I Can't Dance Without You) to gorgeous ballads (Laying Down to Perish).  There are hints of Canadian and Irish folk music which just adds to the diverseness of the music. For fans of Great Big Sea these songs will sound familiar and comfortable (and if you don't know Great Big Sea stop what you're doing and go check them out). I'm loving this album from start to finish and hope you will too!

Have a great week and enjoy the music!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Magnolia Sons (January 25, 2015)

Magnolia Sons epitomize the phrase "everything old is new again."  Their music is a total throwback to the great soul and R&B sounds of the 60s and 70s but doesn't sound old, out of touch or past its prime.  They feature great musicians, a variety of instruments (trumpets, saxophones and more) and fantastic vocals. This is good, smart music for people who appreciate real music made by real people.  Their most recent releases are two fabulous singles, "Stakes Are High" and "Run Baby Run" both of which I love.  They have been around for some time but I'm hoping this is the year they really take off as there seems to be a new found appreciation for classic styles of music.  Go give them a listen!

Have a great week and enjoy the music!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Ruthie Collins (January 18, 2015)

Ruthie Collins is a country artist who will frustrate those who "don't like country music" because they'll find themselves loving her.  Ruthie's music has enough of a folk and pop influence to have a much broader appeal than "just" country.  She has a distinctive voice that sounds like a more current version of Dolly Parton.  "Vintage" was part of my "Best of 2014" list and her new self-titled EP has 6 great songs.  If you do like a more typical country song than be sure to check out "Trainwreckin'" which is a lot of fun.  Ruthie has everything needed to be a big star and hopefully Nashville and the whole country will pay attention to her.

Have a great week and enjoy the music!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Catfish and the Bottlemen (January 11, 2015)

Catfish and the Bottlemen are not nearly as complicated as their band name might have you believe. They rock, plain and simple.  This is a great UK band that writes really good songs full of electric guitars and drums and that always have that great beat to pull you in.  Their debut album, "The Balcony," was released last week and as long as you aren't shy about a little explicit language it it is great from beginning to end (if you prefer songs without curse words than there are still another 7 excellent songs to enjoy).

Have a great week and enjoy the music!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Dirty Loops (January 4, 2015)

A new year means a chance to start off fresh sharing great bands with all of you. It also means I get to "borrow" from some other great "Best Of" lists that have just been released.  And that's the case with this week's band, Dirty Loops, who were brought to my attention thanks to the one and only Seth Horan and his "Top Picks of 2014." Seth is a great and talented musician (he was actually an Emerge featured artist back in 2009) which just adds to the quality of his list.  Dirty Loops' new album "Loopified" is an instant pick me up with its combination of pop rock, jazz and more.  The first track, "Hit Me" does just that - it smacks you in the face and gets your heart racing.  Their "Wake Me Up" cover could easily be a Grammy nominee in the Jazz category. "Die For You" starts sounding like a boy band song, transitions into a full out rock song and winds up ready to be played in a dance club.  And "Accidentally In Love" just might be my favorite of the bunch.  If you like great music but great musicians this is the album for you.

Happy New Year, have a great week and enjoy the music!