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Looking into the near future, we have some reasons to get excited about the music industry. Mat Kearney is releasing his second full length album City of Black and White on May 19th, 2009. You can hear his new single, Closer to Love, on his site   http://www.matkearney.com/ I’ve been a huge fan of Kearney since he  he released his first album on InPop way back in 2004. Now that he has gained popularity and appeal, I am very excited to see what he is going to do with this album. This is something not to overlook!

FM Static is also releasing a new album this spring titled Dear Diary off T&N on April 7th, 2009. Some samples are avaliable at thier myspace:   http://www.myspace.com/fmstatic I’m not sure what to expect from these guys, but I am expecting at least a few good tracks from them. Hopefully I’m only underestimating.

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Brandon Heath

What If We

Brandon Heath has been one of my favorite artists since his first release Don’t Get Comfortable. Well, I took his words to heart and was incredibly fidgety when I heard he was coming out with a new album. Now that it’s been released, I have can’t help but sit still and listen to this incredible album. I’m sure a couple of you are familiar with his most well known song right now, Give me Your Eyes, which is played on many stations around the country.

Strengths

I had the privilege of seeing Brandon Heath in concert just a few months ago, and one of the things that stood out to me was how much sincerity he performed with; this was not lost in his album. The depth and sincerity Heath sings with is one of the best attributes of his work. It’s incredibly touching to hear about him singing about standing on the streets of London and crying, praying for God’s understanding, and his experience with other hurting people. This is not a superficial album in the least bit.

Other strengths include his brilliant voice and the shift in style from his last album. You can still tell that this is the same guy, but something about this album is different. There is slightly a more rhythmic feel to some of his songs and you can tell that his musical maturity is growing. His voice clean and clear while the music is not muddled  or too overpowering. It seems that the balance between vocals and instrumentation is very well done.

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Here’s a link for a free download of Fiction Family’s new single, When She’s Near. Right click and select “Save Link as” to download.

When She’s Near

You may not expect to discover an incredible voice in a pub named after a cat, but after arriving only  to miss the first act, “hairball(ish)” is certainly the least likely way to describe Aaron Espe’s voice. Coming from a small town, Espe has managed to reach a much larger crowd (perhaps the size of a couple large towns) with his stunning acoustics in Songs from a Small Town.

I didn’t know what to expect upon deciding to go to the show at the campus “pub”, but after hearing just a few songs, I was glad I went. It was refreshing to hear a new voice, a voice that is not muddled like all of the other voices of the pop age that seem to blend together. His voice is intriguingly raspy, enough to bring it flare, but not enough to make it feel like sandpaper. But now that I think about it, “raspy” may not be the best choice of words, in light of how well he sings, but maybe “bark like” (tree bark) with a weathered and worn sound on top of vibrant and youthful budding would be better.

I would recommend checking this guy out. He may not be recognized by the celebrities of today, but Chester (the cat the pub is named after) certainly approves (and he’s one classy cat). Espe’s music has prompted me to rummage through the music sources I have in order to find more acoustic gems like this one. If you are from a small town, you may get along with this guy quite well.

Aaron Espe’s website

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Relient K – Sleigh Ride
It may be a little early still for Christmas songs (not for those of you who konw me) but I still think it’s good to share. There you go.

Crimes

[These United States]

I received Crimes from a good friend of mine a little while ago. I had never heard of them before but I really liked the album art the first time I saw the album (this is [almost] always a good sign). So over the past few days I’ve been listening to the intricate multi-faceted music of These United States, and I approve.

Strengths

I always appreciate variety. This album is variety, and therefore I appreciate it. One of the strongest parts of Crimes is the diversity in style. There are several upbeat and rhythmic songs, but they are complimented by those that are acoustic ballads full of emotions in quiet esteem. The lyrical depth of the album is also something to be commended. Lines such as “each wave a mirror, each crest a key” strike me with elegant beauty. I am glad the use of instruments is also not over done or too colloquial. Yes, there is your basic guitars and drums, but with the addition of banjo, piano, and synthetic sounds, that mundane guitar takes on some pretty interesting shapes. Read More »