Acoustic Pie Newsletter, January 2009

January 14, 2009

Hello, lovers of original, contemporary, genre-free songs performed by the songwriter in primarily acoustic arrangements!  Here’s what’s on my mind today :)

1. What’s a Singer/Songwriter?

2. Ellis Paul (continued)

3. What’s New!


1.  What’s a Singer/Songwriter?

Speaking of that salutation/definition way back at the beginning of this newsletter, it took me a long time before I figured out how to describe the music I love most. I knew there was some commonality that linked Don McLean and Girlyman. Jim Croce with Anais Mitchell. Paul Simon and Teitur. I knew my favorite music crossed the genres that defined radio stations. I knew that the personality of the artist was stamped somehow on the songs themselves, not just the performance, with the clarity of a signature.  It’s kind of wordy but that introductory greeting pretty much sums it up for me:  Original, contemporary, genre-free songs performed by the songwriter in primarily acoustic arrangements

And then I stumbled onto the genre label singer/songwriter. That was a big deal.  A revelation really. A lot of artists now prefer the term “performing songwriter”. But as a lover of language (oh yes, there are blogs that confirm this ~ “What’s in a Rhyme” and Limp Lyrics), I’m enamored of the sing-song alliteration of singer/songwriter. The Wikipedia article on singer/songwriters is pretty good if you want a more in-depth definition and a nice list of the most prominent singer/songwriters.

Woody Guthrie’s picture is used as the graphic for the Wikipedia article. I always forget that  Woody Guthrie is considered one of the first American singer/songwriters.  His songs are so much a part of the American folk culture that I forget that he wrote them.  I added Arlo Guthrie’s new version of Pastures of Plenty to Acoustic Pie Radio recently.  It is the second of only two songs in the rotation that are not sung by the original songwriter.  Do you know the other?

2.  Ellis Paul (continued)

When I last wrote to you, I was on a train going to hear Ellis Paul at Russ & Julie’s House Concert series in Oak Park, CA.  Ellis Paul is the personification of the Boston school of urban, literate, individualistic singer/songwriters. The show was as wonderful as expected.  A great introduction to Ellis Paul is his new live album recorded at Eddie’s Attic in Atlanta A Summer Night in Georgia.  I just added several songs from it to the rotation on Acoustic Pie Radio including my favorite new Ellis Paul song “Hurricane Angel”. I listened to the song so much in my car that I now know all of the lyrics and sing a really, really bad harmony line in the chorus.

3. What’s New!

There’s a new photo gallery up on the website featuring local artists at Carol Branch’s house concert series in University City here in San Diego.  Carol hosts shows almost monthly in her home.  Just another passionate and tireless fan promoting the music and artists she loves.  I love that!

The Top 20 Songs on Acoustic Pie Radio for December have been tallied and posted.  Read all about it in the Jan. 3 blog.  Don’t forget that you can vote for your favorite songs while you’re listening to The Pie by clicking the Thumbs Up button on your player.

Thanks for reading!  As always, I love to hear from you!


Top 20 Songs on Acoustic Pie, December 2008

January 3, 2009

O, Storyhill, will you never come to San Diego? I can’t believe I haven’t gotten to see this month’s no. 1 artist live-in-concert yet. An acoustic songwriting duo with a powerhouse harmony-driven sound. I love them. I love all of their albums. If you’d like a recommendation for your introduction to Storyhill, try the 2-disc live album Reunion.  It’s wonderful. Ah, I just found this description of them on their website: “The male Indigo Girls and/or the contemporary Simon & Garfunkel.” That’s true!

I don’t remember mentioning Danny Schmidt before (no. 4 & no. 12). A warm voice, smart lyrics, acoustic arrangements ~ just my cup of tea. I’m very excited that he just signed with Red House Records, an important folk record label. Watch for his new album on his new label coming out in March.

San Diego artists are ably represented by A.J. Croce appearing at no. 6 this month. A.J. is Jim Croce’s son and an impressive pianist and songwriting talent. We’re very lucky to claim him as one of San Diego’s own.

Thanks for voting! Thanks for listening!


Top 20 Songs on Acoustic Pie Radio
December 2008
Artist ~ Song ~ Album

1. Storyhill ~ Full Circle ~ Reunion
2. Tom Kimmel ~ Poetic Justice ~ Short
3. Johnsmith ~ Down a Gravel Road ~ To the Four Directions
4. Danny Schmidt ~ This Too Shall Pass ~ Parables & Primes
5. Jonathan Byrd ~ The Ballad of Larry ~ The Waitress
6. A. J. Croce ~ Almost Angeline ~ Adrian James Croce
7. Kostas ~ Ain’t That Lonely Yet ~ A Sample of the Songwriters Series
8. The Garden Verge ~ Drawn ~ Shadow of a Habit
9. Corinne West ~ Eye of the Storm ~ Second Sight
10. Andy Whittle ~ Broken Glass ~ A Songmaker’s Tale
11. Erik Balkey ~ New Olde Town ~ Deadpan Alley
12. Danny Schmidt ~ Columbine ~ Enjoying the Fall
13. Damien Rice ~ 9 Crimes ~ 9
14. Chris Pureka ~ Silo Song ~ Driving North
15. Garth Wilwand ~ The Fields are Empty ~ Eyes of the Hurricane
16. Darrell Scott ~ And the River is Me ~ The Invisible Man
17. Stacey Earle ~ If It Weren’t For You ~ Simple Gearle
18. Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova ~ Falling Slowly ~ Once (Collector’s Edition)
19. Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer ~ Workin’ For Jesus ~ Seven is the Number
20. Teitur ~ Louis, Louis ~ Stay Under the Stars