Top 20 Songs on Acoustic Pie, December 2011

December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

San Diego’s own Sara Watkins topped the Acoustic Pie Top 20 list this month with a lovely song from her debut self-titled solo album.  Sara is also the fiddler and lead vocalist for Nickel Creek.  When she and her bandmates (brother Sean Watkins and mando player Chris Thile) were grade schoolers, I used to see them perform at That Pizza Place here in San Diego.  They were the novelty act during the headliner’s breaks (John Moore, a fantastic multi-instrumentalist, flatpicker and songwriter).  I remember thinking that Nickel Creek wasn’t a very good name for a band, even a little kids’ band.  Shows how much I knew!

Thanks for voting and for listening everyone!


Top 20 Songs on Acoustic Pie
December 2011
Artist ~ Song ~ Album

1. Sara Watkins ~ My Friend ~ Sara Watkins
2. Deb Talan ~ Tell Your Story Walking ~ A Bird Flies Out
3. Antje Duvekot ~ Long Way ~ The Near Demise of the High Wire Dancer
4. Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova ~ Falling Slowly ~ Once (Collector’s Edition)
5. Sonya Kitchell ~ Train ~ Words Came Back to Me
6. Krista Detor ~ Something Missing ~ A Dream in a Cornfield
7. Kris Kristofferson ~ What About Me ~ Broken Freedom Song: Live from San Francisco
8. Jim Croce ~ Lover’s Cross ~ The 50th Anniversary Collection (2 of 2)
9. Heather Styka ~ Every Chord ~ Travel and Teacups
10. Ellis Paul ~ Hurricane Angel ~ A Summer Night in Georgia
11. Devon Sproule ~ Stop by Anytime (Live) ~ Live in London
12. Ryanhood ~ Born to Run to You ~ The World Awaits
13. Mare Wakefield ~ Dear J ~ Meant to Be
14. Krista Detor ~ Lorca in Barcelona ~ Chocolate Paper Suites
15. Damien Rice ~ Grey Room ~ Live at Fingerprints: Warts and All
16. Abbie Gardner and Anthony da Costa ~ Someday ~ Bad Nights / Better Days
17. Talia Segal ~ Raggedy Andy ~ The Thing Itself
18. Meg Hutchinson ~ Gatekeeper ~ The Living Side
19. John Spillane ~ Gortatogort (The Farm) ~ My Dark Rosaleen and the Island of Dreams
20. Joe Jencks ~ Flame in the Darkness ~ The Candle and the Flame

Top 20 Songs on Acoustic Pie, Nov. 2011

December 3, 2011

I thought, when I began typing this newsletter, that Lisa Hannigan (voted in at no. 1 this month) was a brand new discovery for me.  She’s an Irish singer/songwriter that I stumbled across while browsing eMusic last month.  She has an arresting voice and uses intriguing, sparse arrangements in her songs.  But I realized while reading her Wikipedia entry this very minute that she is the duet (and sometimes lead) vocalist for Damien Rice’s older works such as the haunting “9 Crimes”.  Well, how fun!  So she is definitely no newcomer to Acoustic Pie radio after all and, as attested by her spot in this month’s Top 20, her solo work is quite wonderful.  You’ll hear four of the songs from her new album Passenger in the rotation on the Pie now and I’ve already chosen a slew of songs from her older album Sea Sew for future play.

No. 6 and no. 18 are from Christopher Dallman’s thoroughly delicious new EP album Light the Love.  I love everything Chris does but this latest work is particularly enchanting.

San Diego artists are wonderfully represented on the list by two fine songwriters with gorgeous voices, Nathan Weldon (at no. 9) and Alex Woodard (no. 20).

Thanks for voting and thanks for listening!


Top 20 Songs on Acoustic Pie
November 2011
Artist ~ Song ~ Album

1. Lisa Hannigan ~ Knots ~ Passenger
2. John Zambricki ~ As Is ~ Zambricki
3. Krista Detor ~ Icarus ~ Cover Their Eyes
4. Sarah Jaffe ~ Swelling ~ Suburban Nature
5. Tracy Chapman ~ Remember the Tinman ~ New Beginning
6. Tom Prasado-Rao ~ Peace Be Still ~ Goodnight Regret
7. Christopher Dallman ~ Hard to Breathe ~ Light the Love
8. Tom Kimmel ~ Never Saw Blue Like That ~ Never Saw Blue
9. Nathan Welden ~ Good Times ~ One Step Closer to You
10. Hannah Fair ~ Fancy Things ~ Hannah Fair
11. Deb Talan ~ Tell Your Story Walking ~ A Bird Flies Out
12. Suzanne Vega ~ Bound ~ Close-Up Vol 1, Love Songs
13. Storyhill ~ Highlight ~ Storyhill
14. Sonya Kitchell ~ Train ~ Words Came Back to Me
15. Krista Detor ~ Something Missing ~ A Dream in a Cornfield
16. Jorge Drexler ~ Telon ~ Amar la Trama
17. Gordon Lightfoot ~ For Lovin’ Me ~ Early Morning Rain
18. Christopher Dallman ~ Light the Love ~ Light the Love
19. Barnaby Bright ~ Gravity ~ Gravity
20. Alex Woodard ~ Reno ~ Alex Woodard

Top 20 Songs on Acoustic Pie, Sept. 2011

October 1, 2011

What I’m most struck by when looking over the Top 20 songs this month is the wide array of sources from which these songs came to me.  I saw Steve Meckfessel (no. 1 this month) at a guerrilla showcase at a Far-West conference.  I became captivated with The Swell Season (no. 2) while watching the movie “Once” in which they starred.  I’ve been a fan of Kelly Mulhollan’s music (of the duo Still on the Hill at no. 3) since I met Kelly in the 9th grade back in Oklahoma.

Remember the old site?  Thousands and thousands of free MP3s by independent artists – if you had the patience to wade through them all.  That’s where I found Syd (no. 9) and that song “Here’s a Love Song” is one of the longest running songs on the stream, dating from around 2002.  I’m glad you still like it!

Many artists (or their labels) send me CDs which I fall in love with.  I like to browse for new music.  And, lastly, what would I do without my friends and listeners who find and recommend music to me!  A special debt of gratitude to Jimmy G. who introduced me to at *least* four of the songwriters on this list alone.  If you’re not a fan of Chinese pop ballads (Gigi Leung at no. 17), you have him to thank ;)

Thanks for reading and thanks for voting for your favorites this month!


Top 20 Songs on Acoustic Pie
September 2011
Artist ~ Song ~ Album

1.   Steve Meckfessel ~ The Shape I’m In ~ Under Beautiful Skies
2.   The Swell Season ~ Two Tongues ~ Strict Joy [Deluxe Edition]
3.   Still on the Hill ~ Take Me to the Other Side ~ Ozark: A Celebration in Song
4.   Putnam Smith ~ Far out to Sea ~ We Could Be Beekeepers
5.   Sarah Jarosz ~ Edge of a Dream ~ Song up in Her Head
6.   Kerry Patrick Clark ~ Lullaby ~ On the Road to Human Being
7.   Joe Crookston ~ Everything Here Is Good ~ Darkling & The BlueBird Jubilee
8.   Forest Sun ~ Twenty Toes in the Sand ~ For the Story
9.   Syd ~ Here’s a Love Song ~ Week Days, Weak Knees
11.  Rita Hosking ~ Indian Giver ~ Burn
12.  John Spillane ~ Gortatogort (The Farm) ~ My Dark Rosaleen and the Island of Dreams
13.  John Gorka ~ Wisheries ~ The Company You Keep
14.  James Blunt ~ Wisemen ~ Hear Music XM Radio Sessions Vol 1
15.  Jackson Browne ~ Enough of the Night ~ Solo Acoustic Vol. 2
16.  Ingrid Michaelson ~ Morning Lullabies ~ Slow the Rain
17.  Gigi Leung ~ Scorn ~ 2002 Warner Prestige – Hong Kong Best
18.  Chris Pureka ~ 3 a.m. ~ Driving North
19.  Anais Mitchell ~ Before the Eyes of Storytelling Girls ~ Hymns for the Exiled
20.  Abbie Gardner and Anthony da Costa ~ Crazy in Love ~ Bad Nights / Better Days

Top 20 Songs on Acoustic Pie, February 2010

March 2, 2010

Seeing a songwriter’s name appear twice the Top 20 list for a month is always a nice opening for me to talk a bit about them.  Putnam Smith, for example, (at no. 5 and 9),  is a new artist for me.  He was kind enough to submit his album Goldrush to Acoustic Pie for screening and I just fell in love with it.  It makes me happy whenever I hear his voice come on the Pie.  I’m glad to see that listeners feel the same way.

I first heard Dale Marsh (no. 4) when checking out the live music scene in the virtual world of Second Life.   Love the voice, love the songwriting. Go buy his CD at CD Baby.  I think you’ll like it, too.  I stumbled across him in a cartoon world but Dale is The Real Thing.

Two of the songwriters I discovered at the  Sisters Folk Festival in 2008 were voted into the Top 20 this month:  Chris Kokesh (no. 10) and Noah Gundersen (no. 20).   Sisters has to be one of the best run and most pleasant festivals I’ve been to and I’m looking forward to returning again in September 2010 and maybe have the pleasure of catching these two Oregon locals again.

Thank you, so much, everyone, for listening and for voting for your favorites!


Top 20 Songs
Acoustic Pie Radio
February 2010

Artist ~ Song ~ Album

1.  Girlyman ~ Everything’s Easy ~ Somewhere Different Now
2.  Ingrid Michaelson ~ The Way I Am ~ Be OK
3.  Melissa McClelland ~ Picture Postcard ~ Stranded in Suburbia
4.  Dale Marsh ~ Santa Fe September ~ No Turning Back
5.  Putnam Smith ~ Coming Out of the Gray ~ Goldrush
6.  Kesang Marstrand ~ Bodega Rose ~ Bodega Rose
7.  K. C. Clifford ~ My Smile ~ Pockets Full of Hope
8.  Jakob Dylan ~ Evil is Alive and Well ~ Seeing Things
9.  Putnam Smith ~ I Think It’s Almost Summertime ~ Goldrush
10.  Jonathan Byrd ~ Radio ~ The Waitress
11.  The Dahls ~ Lie to Me ~ The Dahls
12.  Chris Kokesh ~ Real as a Dream ~ I Never Knew
13.  Antje Duvekot ~ Vertigo ~ The Near Demise of the High Wire Dancer
14.  Patty Griffin ~ Burgundy Shoes ~ Children Running Through
15.  Stephen Fearing ~ Love Only Knows ~ Yellowjacket
16.  Arlo Guthrie with the University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra ~ Darkest Hour ~ In Times Like These
17.  Amber Rubarth ~ Unfinished Art ~ New Green Lines
18.  The Weepies ~ Jolene ~ Happiness
19.  Tom Kimmel ~ Why Pretend ~ Light Of Day
20.  Noah Gundersen ~ Brand New World ~ Brand New World

Top 20 Songs on Acoustic Pie Radio, April 2009

May 3, 2009

Well, you certainly are consistent! Deb Talan is a frequent favorite on the Top 20 lists and here she is again at no. 1 with her duo The Weepies. Smart quirky lyrics and a voice you don’t easily forget are the signatures in all of her work. I’m so glad Kim Beggs re-released her album Wanderer’s Paean (no. 9) ~ it’s really lovely and rootsy without being the least bit fuddy-duddy. And you know how I feel about Christopher Dallman (no. 14)! If you want to help him to make his new album, you can make a donation using the “Chip In” button at

Two favorite San Diego artists were voted into the Top 20 this month: Berkley Hart (no. 12) and Jason Mraz (no. 13).

Thanks for voting and thanks for listening to The Pie!

Acoustic Pie

Top 20 Songs on Acoustic Pie
April 2009
Artist ~ Song ~ Album

1. The Weepies ~ Painting By Chagall ~ Say I Am You
2. Mark Erelli ~ The Only Way ~
3. Storyhill ~ Love Will Find You ~ Storyhill
4. Michelle Lewis ~ San Francisco Bay ~ This Time Around
5. Ellis Paul ~ Friday Night ~ Am I Home
6. Tracy Grammer ~ Mother, I Climbed ~ Flower of Avalon
7. Sarah Sample ~ Moonlight Band ~ Never Close Enough
8. Donal Hinely ~ Louisville ~ Giants
9. Kim Beggs ~ Wanderer’s Paean ~ Wanderer’s Paean
10. Gordon Lightfoot ~ Mother Of A Miner’s Child ~ Old Dan’s Records
11. Girlyman ~ Reva Thereafter ~ Joyful Sign
12. Berkley Hart ~ Runnin’ For the Texas Line ~ Wreck’N Sow
13. Jason Mraz ~ Plain Jane ~ Hear Music XM Radio Sessions Vol 1
14. Christopher Dallman ~ Driving to You ~ Race the Light
15. Victoria Williams ~ Rainmaker ~ Musings of a Creek Dipper
16. Mary Chapin Carpenter ~ Stones in the Road ~ Stones in the Road
17. Marybeth D’Amico ~ Nothing Without You ~ Heaven, Hell, Sin & Redemption
18. Kate Campbell ~ Free World ~ Blues and Lamentations
19. K. C. Clifford ~ Stained Glass ~ Pockets Full of Hope
20. Chris Pureka ~ Come Back Home ~ Dryland

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 Radio, May 2008

June 22, 2008

Here are the Top 20 songs on Acoustic Pie Radio for May 2008. Listeners vote while the songs are playing online, my host Live365 compiles the votes, and I report them at the end of the month :)

Have I mentioned Tom Kimmel before? My gosh, he has such a beautiful voice and is also a favorite songwriter of mine. This particular album Light of Day (no. 17) is unbelievably magical, my favorite of his to date. It is compiled of selections from his “working tapes” ~ the versions of the songs that he recorded, just him and his guitar, shortly after the songs were written in order to have a record of them. Check it out at (um-hm) my favorite record store CD Baby.

There are two San Diego artists in the Top 20 this month: Jason Mraz at no. 4 and Randi Driscoll at no. 15.

Thanks for reading, thanks for voting, and thanks for listening to Acoustic Pie!



1. Garnet Rogers ~ Empty Glass ~ Get a Witness
2. Danny Schmidt ~ This Too Shall Pass ~ Parables & Primes
3. Paul Simon ~ April Come She Will ~ The Paul Simon Songbook
4. Jason Mraz ~ You & I Both ~ Live
5. Darrell Scott ~ And the River is Me ~ The Invisible Man
6. Chris Pureka ~ Porch Songs ~ Driving North
7. Shawn Mullins ~ Yellow Dog Song ~ Beneath the Velvet Sun
8. Patty Griffin ~ Mary ~ Flaming Red
9. Patty Griffin ~ Burgundy Shoes ~ Children Running Through
10. Brad Davis ~ Ain’t That Just Like Love ~ This World Ain’t No Child
11. Sarah Sample ~ Moonlight Band ~ Never Close Enough
12. Sara Hickman ~ Comfort’s Sigh ~ Acoustic Rainbow Volume 26
13. Ben Bedford ~ Lincoln’s Man ~ Lincoln’s Man
14. Steve Chizmadia ~ It’s Always Texas ~ It Is What It Is
15. Randi Driscoll ~ What Matters ~ What Matters
16. Ellis ~ Words You Said ~ Undefended Heart
17. Tom Kimmel ~ Trip On Love ~ Light Of Day
18. Kristen Hall ~ Nothing ~ Be Careful What You Wish For
19. Joe Crookston ~ Bird by Bird ~ Able Baker Charlie & Dog
20. Eric Gerber ~ Boston By Friday ~ Boston By Friday