Category Archives: Emerging Artists

Commercial Music

I’ve found some really great musical gems from TV Commercials lately. Either I’m watching too much TV or the creators are not your father’s Mad Men. Here’s a few of my recent favorites:

Powerful Stuff, Sean Hayes – Subaru

Love, Matt White – McDonald’s McRib

Say Hey (I Love You), Michael Franti & Speerhead – Corona

Hey Soul Sister, Train – Samsung 3D TV

Morning Sun, Shayna Zaid & The Catch – Ford Edge

So, does putting interesting and/or appealing music really sell more product? I say it doesn’t hurt and it prohibits me from turning the channel when I hear it come on…so it is certainly creating awareness for these advertisers. And in the advertising business, that is key. Plus, it gives exposure to new artists that might not ever be “discovered”.


Posted by on January 21, 2011 in Emerging Artists, Marketing, soundtracks, TV


Eli “Paperboy” Reed

Photo by Nicole Tammaro

Photo by Nicole Tammaro

Before I write another word, simply listen to this…

  Poor Side of Town

THIS, is who I imagined that Taylor Hicks would be after he won American Idol.  A little Wilson Pickett, a little Otis Redding, and a lot James Brown, Eli honed his skills by street performing on Harvard Square in high school, after teaching himself piano, guitar and harmonica.  (Sound familiar?) 

The son of a music critic who exposed his son to a vast soul record collection (again, sound familiar?), Eli ended up in Clarksdale, MS after high school, eventually ending up under the tutledge of legendary blues drummer, Sam Carr.  He frequently adorned his grandpa’s chapeau, which garnered the “Paperboy” nickname.

With a cool blues moniker, a degree in Southern blues, and a HUGE passion, Eli was convinced to enroll in the University of Chicago by his concerned parents.  While in Chi Town, Eli broadened his soul horizons by reaching out to Mitty Collier, who scored the 1964 hit, I Had a Talk With My Man.

Now involved in ministry, Mitty hired Eli Reed as her music minister, where he served for a year before returning to Boston with a different kind of education.  There, he put together his band, The True Loves, and recorded and self-released his first collection of originals and covers entitled, Sings “Walkin’ and Talkin’ (For My Baby)” and Other Smash Hits. 

After a phenomenal performance at the 2007 SXSW, Eli “Paperboy” Reed & The True Loves recorded and released Roll With You on the Boston-based, Q Division label.  (Even the album art is retro boss.)


Some highlights from that compilation:

  Am I Wasting My Time (diggin’ on the Aretha shirt) — oddly reminiscient of LaMontagne’s You Are the Best Thing

  Take My Love With You on Jools Holland

  Doin’ the Boom Boom

  The Satisfier

Eli is currently embarking on a European tour and is recently signed to Virgin Records, after opening for the likes of Dave Matthews recently.

Eli’s NPR interview shows his love of music and his enthusiasm to spread it around.  At 24, he produces a much older and “experienced” sound.  But, then again, Otis, James, Jackie and Wilson were all about his age when they came into their own.  He is proficient at old soul, mixed with passion and love of music.  His music is infectious and draws you in.  Many critics and observers have dubbed him as the next sensation.  I am definitely on board.

Paperboy, stay true to your school and you shall go far…perhaps an example for many.

Visit Eli “Paperboy” Reed at and buy some stuff.  You will not be disappointed.


Tags: , , ,

New Finds…Share and Compare

Some stuff I’ve recently been exploring…thanks to Shrew on Ellis & KJ…she’s been busy. 

Somebody to You, Lelia Broussard

  Hurricane Angel, Ellis Paul

  Little Mary, KJ Denhert

Share your finds…Post some of your “finds” in the comment section.  After all, word of mouth is what “sells” these indie artists.


Tags: ,

A Brighter Day


Ok.  So, Friday I’m pissed and generally surly throughout the day.  I wake up Saturday with a chip the size of Texas on my shoulder and trudge out to Wal-Mart, i.e. Purgatory. 

SUN0730 Walmart 9.jpg

Big mistake.  I needed toilet paper and paper towels and, let’s face it, Wal-Mart has the best prices.  Of course, I’m in uber-saver mode because of the sad state of our economy (see previous post) so I have no other choice but to enter the gates of hell, that is Wal-Mart.

I trudge the store for other items such as wine (I’m on a Gallo Cabernet-Sauvingnon kick) where I can save $2.00 a bottle, egg rolls (there are no good egg rolls at the Winn Dixie near me), and the new People magazine with The Obamas on the cover.  Naturally, I get in line at the check-out (three deep) and just as it’s my turn, realize that I didn’t get Beef Broth.  I need Beef Broth.  It’s one of the things I went to the store for.  I’m making Pot Roast in the Crock Pot, so I’ve got to have Beef Broth.  Crap!

I impatiently turn my cart out of the line, knowing I’d lose my turn in line and have to wait another 20 minutes when I returned.  Feeling utterly defeated, I sulked all the way to Aisle 5 and back to the check out.  I waited (again) for my turn to check out and I must say that the checker lady was very cordial and nice, chatty even.  I manage a polite conversation because, after all, she’s just trying to make a living, right?

Then, I get to my car, unload my loot into the backseat, and go to pull out.  The guy who gathers up all of the loose carts had left a 50 ft. line of carts IN THE MIDDLE OF THE AISLE, causing gridlock among the Saturday errand-runners.  There were raised voices, horns honking and fingers flying, but finally he got his electric mover working and the steel dragon out of the way.

As I pulled out and exited the parking lot, I found myself murmering to myself about stupidity, laziness and inconsiderateness.  To say I was in a bad mood would be the understatement of the year.  I got home, where I was alone as Mr. D was playing golf and Mini-DD was at a friend’s house.  I hauled all of the bags into the house and put it all away and then looked at the war-torn kitchen in disgust. 

“When does it all end?!?  Can’t I get a break?!?  What about ME?!?  What ABOUT me?!?”  My mind raced with these thoughts as I walked to the front porch to get the mail.  A bunch of junk, but then I saw two hand-written envelopes.  My heart always races with handwritten envelopes because it’s generally personal correspondence and someone sending something special to ME.

As I opened the envelope addressed to “Dee Dee & Gramps”, I felt like the Grinch when his heart grew three times to normal size.  For when I opened the card thanking us for the recent gifts, here’s what greeted me:





Suddenly, I was gobsmacked.  These wonderful images, provided by my wonderful and talented daughter-in-law, brought everything into sharp focus.  I became starkly aware that, in fact, it is NOT “all about me”, but rather about what I do for others…my family, my friends, total strangers.  I will feel better about me and my situation if I DO for others.

So, today is a brighter day.  Today, I will put ME aside and look outward rather than inward.  The above images will serve as a standard under which I will serve.  I will take my talents and multiply them.  For those of you so inclined to hear a “word” on this, listen to this message from Joyce Meyer:

Joyce has a way of putting practical life situations and challenges into faith messages.  I love her directness and self-depriciating humor.

For those of you not so inclined, here’s a wonderful ditty from Kevin So, who I had the pleasure of seeing this past year at the Saenger Theatre, here in Mobile.  Hopefully, it’ll make you feel bettah…

  Brighter Day, Kevin So

Perhaps Obama should make THIS his theme song.


Tags: , , , ,

What’s “The Story”?

While watching the Opening Ceremonies of the Summer Olympics last Friday night, a familiar song wafted from my big screen TV.  What was that?!?  Could it be?!?  Yes, it was.

  The Story, Brandi Carlile

As previously mentioned on this blog, Brandi Carlile and The Story  were one of my accidental finds when I attended several Saenger Theatre shows earlier this year.

Although I think that the use of popular songs on TV and commercials has been a bit overdone and almost a genre all it’s own now, I do not have a problem with artists allowing their songs being used in commercials as long as the product isn’t contradictory to their known beliefs…or for Viagra.

Knowing of Brandi’s environmetal activism I was a bit confused about The Story being used in a GM commercial.  So, I did what I always do…I consulted the internets and on Brandi’s MySpace blog today, I found this explanation:

Why “The Story” Is In A GM Commercial

Hey all,

I’m writing you from a plane bound for Portugal. While we are gone you may have already heard our song “The Story” in an Olympic advertisement for GM. Depending on how you feel about music and advertising in general, you may be wondering why a band like us would do something like this. Well I have a few good reasons, so allow me to shine a little light on the subject.

When GM first approached our band to use “The Story” in their 2008 Olympic ad visions of SUVs and full-size pick-up trucks driving through a rugged mountain range were dancing through my head. I promptly and politely declined. (Although I don’t want to be a hypocrite, our band did tour in a GM gas-guzzling van for many years) But, when they came back to us and offered to involve us in an ad campaign promoting hybrids, bio fuel, bio hybrids, hydrogen fuel cell cars and yes, even the infamous electric car the Chevy Volt, I felt the need to think twice about having the opportunity to be a part of a huge American car company creating an ad campaign for environmentally responsible cars. We feel they allowed more than a fair amount of input from us and made an honest effort to create an environmentally conscious ad. We are proud of it.

I also believe in American jobs. Keeping people employed in the US and building fuel-efficient/alternative cars could help reduce and one day help eliminate our dependency on foreign oil. To really make a positive impact regarding the climate crisis we all need to work together to make the change, even GM.

Regardless of what my feelings are about the agenda behind the sudden wave of corporate environmental awareness, its still awareness just the same.

Thanks for hearing us out. The twins and I are proud to say that every last penny from the GM ad is being donated and split between several environmental organizations exploring alternative energy and effecting change on a grass roots level…sweet!

Names and links to these organizations are soon to follow just as soon as the paperwork is done! J

And yes dad, we are still loud mouth tree huggers…sorry.


Good ’nuff for me.  And, I think that many people could be introduced to Brandi’s wonderful music through this very well done commercial for GM’s hybrids.  I have to say that I prefer this use of the song than the contrived Grey’s Anatomy.


1 Comment

Posted by on August 10, 2008 in brandi carlile, Emerging Artists, TV


Tags: , ,

Rate A Record: In My Arms – Teddy Thompson…3.8

Thanks to all who rated and commented on the Teddy Thompson Rate A Record.  I appreciate all of the discussion and honesty.

Overall, Teddy rates a 3.8 at Music Maven.  The average in the comments was 3.7 and I skewed the rating just a little higher, due to the George Jones cover.

Some comments:

I like the song but Teddy’s voice is kinda of mellow for my taste. This would be a big summer hit if someone with more of an edge to his voice sang it.

Frankly, I like the mellow simplicity of Teddy’s voice.

The song is catchy, and not full of platitudes.

I actually kinda like that it’s mellow…. Really simple song, but it works.

I thought it was very repetitive….those background instrumentals with the organ made me feel like I was on a bad carnival ride.

Personally, I really like the song.  But, more because I love the Traveling Wilburys.  When I first listened to this song, I was like who is that…it’s oddly familiar…wait a minute…oh, yeah!….

  You Got It, Roy Orbison

with a dash of:

  Dwight Yoakam

and of course, the influences of Dylan, Petty and Harrison, as well:

  Handle with Care, The Traveling Wilburys

or maybe more appropriately:

  The Wilbury Twist, The Traveling Wilburys

Regardless, Teddy seems to be combining a little folk with a little country and a little old school rock and even a little soul.  THAT, is something I can’t help but like.

As skylight mentioned in comments, Teddy does a mean Ain’t No Sunshine:

But, the one that puts me over the top is the fantabulous Roger Miller staple, King of the Road.  As Teddy’s George Jones cover, She Thinks I Still Care, King of the Road takes me back to my Dad’s endearing rendition some 40 summers ago.  I abosultely LOVE the song and the duet with Rufus Wainwright is simply delightful.

  King of the Road, Teddy Thompson with Rufus Wainwright

Teddy is a nice reminder that there are still new artists out there that appreciate music across various genres, even those of yesteryear.

1 Comment

Posted by on July 31, 2008 in Emerging Artists, rate a record


Rate a Record….Teddy Thompson

Back by popular demand….RATE-A-RECORD!!

Here’s how it works.  Listen to the featured track and then give your rating on a scale from 1 to 5 with 5 being highest.  I’ll compile everyone’s feedback into an average score and do a follow up post featuring your comments in addition to my own feedback.

Today’s submission is Teddy Thompson, son of folk rock legends, Rick and Linda Thompson.  (And no, she wasn’t engaged to Elvis.)  Rick & Linda were authentic hippies who raised young Teddy in an English commune.  (I know, oxymoron.)  Somebody sent me a heads up on Teddy and I’ve been checking him out.

Teddy recently released his new CD, A Piece of What You Need.  Teddy emerged from a back-up singer for Rufus Wainwright, who can be seen in a cameo in the video as Elvis rockin’ the organ.

So, without further adeui, Teddy Thompson and In My Arms:


Posted by on July 28, 2008 in Emerging Artists, rate a record


America’s Got Talent…Well, at least Emily David does

Ladies and Gentleman, Aretha, Jr.

40 year old, Emily David, the next great find from America’s Got Talent:



Posted by on July 27, 2008 in aretha franklin, Emerging Artists, TV


Colette’s Corner: “Cook”in’ Wid Gas

Consider this post a testament to my Libra tendencies for fairness and balance.

Somewhat reluctantly, I watched American Idol this year even after I expressed my outrage at the “fix” AI was trying to put in to improve the talent and to avoid jumpin’ the shark for another year. I never did really land on a “favorite” and sort of ended up on the side of David Cook because I would have been for anyone but David Archuletta.

However, I noticed that many people went ga-ga (technical term) over David Cook and I really don’t know why. Really. I think he’s O.K. and can carry a tune, but I don’t see him as a particularly special talent. But, I respect other’s opinions and certainly, Colette’s, so…..Mr. Cook has a forum.

David Cook & His Idol Songs

Yes, I got roped into watching American Idol this year. I hold David Cook responsible.

The guy has an extraordinarily agile and expressive voice. He’s a genuine musician, seasoned and soulful. He blossomed before the eyes of viewers, getting more interesting, vocally various, likable and attractive as the contest ground on. And he knew how to pick a song, and make it his own.

The last quality is particularly special (and rare) in this kind of talent jamboree, which forces an array of young singer contestants to hack good (and mediocre) tunes of their choosing down to two-minute wonders. And many times, as Bobby McFerrin mentioned in a concert I recently saw by him, they feel encouraged to “over-sing” and imitate the vocal acrobatics of such uniquely gifted singers as Stevie Wonder or Whitney Houston.

But Cook figured out how to win by doing his own thing superbly, and much of the fun this season was wondering what he’d perform next and how.

A good song withstands many interpretations, in many styles. And once I started digging back to find clips of the tunes he sang, renditions by their composers and other major interpreters, I renewed my fascination with how an artist puts his/her own stamp on a melody and words sturdy enough to withstand many interpretations. So here are some of Cook’s songs, delivered by himself and others. I post them not in the spirit of, “Who did it better?” but “How does an artist shape a song to his or her own musical dimensions?”

“Billie Jean” was a mega-hit for Michael Jackson, his first really adult solo smash to me. It went to #1 on the charts in 1983, and told a dark, haunting story of being seduced and wronged. Legend has it that Jackson recorded his remarkable hiccupy vocal in one take, for producer Quincy Jones. Here is his most famous performance of the tune, on a TV show saluting Motown:
— “Billie Jean” — Michael Jackson

The remarkable Chris Cornell of Soundgarden, a seminal Seattle grunge band, seized upon the Jackson two decades later. He had the smart and gutsy notion to slow it way down, and sing it with an acoustic guitar and a mournful wail in an “unplugged” concert in Sweden. Here’s a beautiful live version of a tune he also recorded on his first solo disc:
— Chris Cornell

David Cook was inspired by Cornell’s version, and in a brilliant move adapted it for American Idol. Though he made sure that host Ryan Seacrest credited the arrangement to Cornell, Cook caught (unfairly) some flak from fans who felt Cornell was slighted by one the lavish praise by Idol judge Randy Jackson, about Cook’s creativity. Sorry, but I think Cook was very creative just for finding this arrangement, and singing the hell out of it in his own way:
— David Cook

“LITTLE SPARROW.” During Dolly Parton Week on “Idol,” Cook surprised many (including Parton) by turning to “Little Sparrow,” a tune often performed a capella by Parton. Very much in the style of an Old English ballad, on the archetypal theme of advising a young woman to retain her virtue and be wary of men, the song has a lonely beauty in this live version by Parton (clip has bad visuals, but fine vocal):
— “Little Sparrow”

But “Little Sparrow” also got a very different, deeply wrenching airing by the fabulous soul singer Bettye Lavette. She squeezes every ounce of emotion from the tune, here in a live performance of keen intensity:
“Little Sparrow” — Bettye

What distinguished Cook’s arrangement, despite his audacity and the novelty of having a man sing it, was his use of a high, ethereal falsetto. AT first hearing, I didn’t think he nailed it. By the 10th listen, I knew I was totally hooked:
— “Little Sparrow” — David Cook

“Day Tripper” is one of my favorite Beatle songs, in the “Ticket to Ride” vein of strutting rock. The 1965 Lennon-McCartney classic, about a “Sunday driver” of a gal, who is “a big teaser” and “left me half the way there” — presumably, got him very hot and bothered, and then didn’t come through sexually. Hey, whatever– it’s got a killer guitar riff, a great vocal with Paul on leade. And here it is with a lot of silly go-go dancers, lipsynched by the Beatles:
— “Day Tripper” – The Beatles

The 1970s band White Snake grabbed the tune, and gave it a harder-edged rock treatment. That really cooked. Here’s a rare video of them performing it:
— “Day Tripper” — White Snake

Cook had great fun tweaking the White Snake version, with a streak of heavy metal and a totally hip wha-wha voice box solo. He seems to be having a blast, and it’s infectious:
— “Day Tripper” — David Cook

“Happy Together.” Early in the season, Cook showed his originality by taking on a peppy novelty tune that just exudes good vibes. It was a huge 1967 hit for The Turtles, and wound up in the soundtracks of numerous movies. The Turtles were never the greatest live band, but they’ve kept on going to this day, and here they are doing their biggest single on a TV gig in the ’60s:
— “Happy Together” — The Turtles

Though Cook wasn’t yet the heart-throb he evolved into this early in the Idol contest, his version of the song was a favorite for me. I love the playful slyness, the flirty quality, and the audacity of the final note that goes on forever. And that lifting up the mikestand like a sabre! Too too cool:
— “Happy Together” — David Cook

“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking for.” I’m not very conversant with U2’s music, mainly because around the time they really hit I took a long vacation of pop music. But I’m so glad that Cook re-introduced me to “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” — which anyone who was listening in at the time recognized as a mesmerizing, questing yet enigmatic ode (as I’ve discovered many U2’s songs are). Here’s the inimitable Bono and band, on a VH1 telecast performing it with Bruce Springsteen:
— U2 with Bruce Springsteen

How do you follow that? Very credibly, in Cook’s case. The swooping soaring note at the end, and the fervent intensity throughout justifies the cover completely. At the very end of the contest, and his assurance and power are hot:
— David Cook

“My Hero”: Formed by Dave Grohl after the death of Kurt Cobain and break-up of their band Nirvana, the Foo Fighters have reflected Grohl’s interest in blending music with political activism, and also provided a showcase for his songwriting skills. The hit tune “My Hero,” recorded by the Foo Fighters in 1997, is so touching, in its elevation of humble, “ordinary” people to heroic status. Here’s the band’s acoustic version:
— “My Hero” — Foo Fighters

Cook did not sing “My Hero” on American Idol, but he did his own sensitive acoustic version during the three Idol finalists’ visit home week. It wasn’t aired on TV, but it’s available on youtube, and I really hope he’ll cover it in concert and/or on disc later. The sincerity of the vocal is lovely:
— David Cook

“The World I Know”: I really dig it when people turn me on to great music I’m unfamiliar with, and I knew nothing of the Georgia-based band Collective Soul until I heard this thoughtful song of theirs on “Idol.” Once again, it demonstrated Cook’s preferance for tunes with inspiring lyrics, about things that matter — in this case, the search for meaning and tenderness in a troubled world: “Has our conscience shown? Has the sweet breeze blown? Has all the kindness gone? Hope still lngers on.”
— “The World I Know” — Collective Soul

David Cook’s rendition, clearly from the heart:
  — “The World I Know” — David Cook

“Always Be My Baby”: Finally, this is the song I believe sealed the deal for Cook winning American Idol, even though it was quite a few weeks before the finale. For him to be able to rearrange a pleasant but not remarkable 2006 Mariah Carey hit into a soulful anthem of love and support triumphing over heartbreak, was really breathtaking. I hope Cook the worthy new American Idol winner, becomes Cook, the constantly evolving recording and performing artist in his own right.
— “Always Be My Baby” — Mariah Carey

— “Always Be My Baby” — David Cook

So, there. Welcome to the Music Maven “No Spin” Zone. Fair. and Balanced.


Live from Sun Studios: Adam Levy

Yet another session of Live from Sun Studios is up, this one featuring Adam Levy.


As mentioned in the Amber Rubarth post, Adam Levy is part of Norah Jones’ Handsome Band.  In the Sun Studio piece, he performs In the Morning, which he wrote and Norah included on her Feels Like Home CD.

Adam is an accomplished guitar man, providing the solo on Tracey Chapman’s Give Me One Reason:

I knew I liked this guy from the Amber Rubarth vid, and then it is confirmed with the fact that he played guitar on Amos Lee’s debut CD:


You may recall that Amos opened for Norah Jones for a while and that debut CD was produced by Lee Alexander, Norah Jones’ bass guitarist and shack-up.

Here’s Washing Day, performed by Amber Rubarth and written by Adam Levy.  Yes, it do go ’round in circles….

Through the wonders of YouTube, I even found this rendition of Johnny B. Goode performed by Levy and his high school band, back in the glorious year of 1982.