Craig Cummings Music

New Music From Baltimore Songwriters in 2013

Craig at El Nopalito

Baltimore’s stable of aspiring songwriters seems to grow by leaps and bounds every year. Acts such as J. Roddy Walston and the Business and Beach House get much of the national attention, and they have certainly earned their recognition. Unfortunately, there are many outstanding performing songwriters from Baltimore that do not receive the publicity they deserve. I put out a request through the Facebook page of the Baltimore Songwriter’s Association (BSA) asking for members to respond if they had released new music in 2013. What follows is a brief description of the 2013 releases of BSA members, and a listing without descriptions, of others who responded but are not BSA members. This is by no means an exhaustive listing of what was recorded and released by Baltimore artists, but if you are interested in exploring what is happening on the local songwriting scene, this will get you started. If you like what you hear, these artists would love to see you at their live shows.

2013 Releases by BSA Members

ilyAIMY – Another Life/Another Live

Another Life/Another Live is quintet ilyAIMY’s latest release. Rob Hinkal’s percussive guitar work and Heather Aubrey Lloyd’s grab-your-attention, silky-smooth vocals form the backbone of ilyAIMY’s sound. Kristen Thomas adds outstanding work on cello, Shareef Kellog is a solid piano player, and Rowan Corbett anchors the group’s rhythmic approach to “new folk” music with his inventive approach to cajon, and other assorted bits of percussion.

Songs of note include Oracle, Silent Little Bells, and Elephant Joke. Heather owns the songwriting honors for the first two songs mentioned, while Rob claims rights to Elephant Joke. One suspects, however, that all band members have significant input into the songs, as ilyAIMY presents as a true ensemble rather than a group that serves the direction of its lead singer or guitarist.

Another Life/Another Live is one of the best releases from Baltimore-based songwriters in 2013. It bears repeated listening. And, don’t miss their live show. They never disappoint.

Richard Walton – Cover Me or…/dp/B00BV9JDCK/ref=sr_1_1…

Richard Walton’s newest release, Cover Me, features songs by 60’s, ’70’s & 80’s recording artists including The First Edition, Poco, Stevie Wonder, Van Morrison, and, Badfinger. If you are searching for updated interpretations of classic songs from earlier decades, Cover Me gets you there. The production is outstanding and the numerous musicians who contribute tracks to these songs are all top-notch performers.

Naked Blue – Weightless

Jen & Scott Smith released their 5th CD in 2013. Weightless is a collection of pop music gems featuring Jen’s sweet voice and Scott’s classy guitar playing and intricate production. As long time members of the local songwriting community, Naked Blue continue to prove that they are one of Baltimore’s most talented and accomplished acts. Every song on this CD is solid. I especially enjoyed Tilt-A-Whirl, Left Standing, and Charm.

Queen Earth – Adult Contemporary

Missy Smith (AKA Queen Earth) has recently located to the left coast, but for many years she was a mainstay of the Baltimore songwriting community. Her latest release, Adult Contemporary, features spare instrumental arrangements of mostly guitar and percussion accompanying her soul-sweet voice. Her songs of personal empowerment, romantic relationships, and social justice are heartfelt. Now that she has relocated, the local songwriting community will miss her contributions. But it’s a small world these days – so I’m sure Baltimore will hear more from Queen Earth in 2014.

Woody Lissauer & Rachel Elise – Faded Name

Faded Name is a 4-song EP released by prolific songwriter/guitarist/producer Woody Lissauer and vocalist Rachel Elise. This is an intoxicating, dreamy collection of songs that would have been a great musical backdrop for the defunct TV series Twin Peaks, or any other dreamy, hard-to-grasp-narrative. And don’t get me wrong – I love these kind of stories, and I think the songs on Faded Name would be an excellent choice as a soundtrack for an art house movie or cutting-edge television series.

Woody also released numerous videos of his work in 2013. The list is provided below.

Will Jenkins – Earth Anthem

Earth Anthem is the latest single release from Will Jenkins. It reminds the listener of a 60’s era pop song that might have been released by Stealer’s Wheel (Stuck In The Middle With You) or The Cyrkle (Red Rubber Ball). While the arrangements and production are simple, there is a certain charm to this cut, and it will be interesting to see if Will has more coming for us in 2014.

Mosno Al-Mooseeki – Shukrah My Totem; No Kingdom (Faisal Goes West)

Third-world rocker Mosno Al-Mooseeki released 2 singles in 2014. Shukrah My Totem is a song from his upcoming full-length release, Novella. It features Mosno’s rhythmic guitar playing and soulful voice over a middle-eastern melody. No Kingdom begins with a spare rendering of Mosno’s voice and guitar, and continues, accompanied by djembe and beautiful harmony vocals. It will be exciting to hear Novella when it is released and performed in its entirety.

Other 2013 Releases from Baltimore-Area Performing Songwriters

Harlan County Kings

Firekite – Five From Five

Paul Nitzberg – As Far As I Know

Dave Cohen – The World Didn’t End Today

John Seay – Old New

Woody Lissauer – Video Releases
Woody Lissauer & Rachel Elise – What Are You Waiting For?

Woody Lissauer – Bent but not Broken

Woody Lissauer – The French Garden

Woody Lissauer – Send in the Clowns

Cubic Feet – PCTV Live from Park City, Utah