Music Memoirs: Underappreciated Artists

Top 5 under-appreciated artists/bands and why you think they are under-appreciated.

For some reason, I can only come up with three off the top of my head, but they sure are three under-appreciated artists!

  1. Over the Rhine: A husband/wife duo from Cincinnati, OtR is one of the few musical acts who can bring me to tears over just how gorgeous their music is.  In college, I went on a road trip from central Pennsylvania to Kent, Ohio, just to see them perform.  (Well, there was a side trip to a conference in Michigan, but the OtR concert was the real highlight for me.)  I’ve seen them perform four times now (putting them in a tie for second place, behind Andrew Bird at five – soon to be seven, thank you Milwaukee – and tied with Rufus Wainwright, also at four) and their show never gets old.  Despite being in the music business for 20+ years, Karin and Linford still manage to stay almost completely under the radar of the mainstream, for no good reason whatsoever.  Their music is heartfelt and honest, and I don’t think that they release a single song or album without making sure it’s something that needs to be heard.  Some of the most consistently strong releases I’ve ever heard.
  2. Brad Yoder: A singer/songwriter from Pittsburgh.  He’s been releasing music since 1992, but I’m pretty sure he’s completely unknown outside of the Pittsburgh-area coffee-house-type music scene.  I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Brad and seeing him perform a few times (we recruited him to play at a few coffee house/open mic events at my undergraduate institution) and he’s just the most lovely person.  His music is in the folk/acoustic sort of tradition, though with a bit of sarcasm and humor and unexpected lyrics in there.  (One of my favorites: “she loves Jesus more than me / the Lord gets an A+, and I get a B / it’s hard to compete, ‘cause he’s in the Trinity” from “She Loves Jesus More Than Me”.)  He has a ton of MP3s available for free on his site that you should check out, and if you’re in the western Pennsylvania area, you should absolutely go and see him sometime.
  3. Teddy Thompson: Folk/rock singer from New York, by way of California and England.  Son of Richard and Linda Thompson, renowned folk artists in the 60s/70s, Teddy receives relatively little attention, although “In My Arms,” the single from his latest album, did receive some ratio rotation and had a great music video, if there’s anywhere that plays music videos anymore.  At the heart of his music is a great, traditional folk sound, but he’s not afraid to experiment with country (Up Front and Down Low, a release of all covers of classic country tunes) or pop (A Piece of What You Need).  I think he’s underappreciated simply because of lack of attention from his label.  Over the Rhine and Brad Yoder are both independent artists who can promote themselves as much or as little as they see fit.  Teddy Thompson is on a major label that seems fit to kind of let him languish out there on his own.

Play along with weekly questions at The Music Memoirs. Check out some Youtube videos of these under-appreciated groups behind the jump.

Over the Rhine – New Redemption Song (video by me!)

Brad Yoder – WWJD

Teddy Thompson – So Easy (video by me!)