So someone pointed out I didn’t really discuss who I’m listening to these days as inspiration. I figured I would remedy that with a new post. Most of what I like can be considered independent artists. They aren’t affiliated with big name record labels and for the most par they are all singer/songwriters (aka they actually play their own instruments). Don’t get me wrong, I grew up in the boy band generation and I jammed to Backstreet Boys and N*Sync with the best of them. But I’ve moved on since then to a more musical focus.

Brandi Carlile: I think I first learned about Brandi back in college when my Dad shared one of her albums with me. It was back when I was first getting into indie female artists and I liked Courtney Jaye. Brandi has a great sound and her latest album “Bear Creek” came out earlier this month. I’ve been listening to all of her albums lately (in preparation for seeing a show in August). She has kind of a soulful sound and she is one of the rare artists that sounds just as great live as she done on a recording. I remember seeing her play a show at the House of Blues in Boston a couple years ago and she did a number completely unplugged. You could hear it clear as day in the whole venue. It was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had.

Christian Kane: I’n not usually a country fan. But I can make an exception for Kane. For those of you who are genre fans you may know him as Wolfram & Hart golden boy Lindsay McDonald. Or you may know him as the hitter with a heart of gold Eliot Spencer on Leverage. I first heard his music on Angel. It was an acoustic number. I next heard his music in season 1 of Leverage. It was a nice ballad. Unfortunately I had some problems with my computer and then my phone and lost the song and it is nearly impossible to find it (I can’t recall where I ended up finding it way back when). My Kane playlist is kind of short. There are certain songs I like of his, especially the second song they featured on Leverage in the most recent season. I really like his ballads. He’s got a good voice for it. Too bad he doesn’t bother coming to the East Coast. From what I’ve seen, he’s kind of crazy to see live.

Hanson: Yes, these are the same guys who brought you the infectious diddy “MMMBop” in 1997 but trust me, they’re all grown up. I have been a fan of Hanson since they came on the scene in the late 90s. They were some of the first sheet music I bought and learned to play (aside from the classical stuff my piano teacher wanted me to learn). They were also the first band I saw in concert. You might think Hanson doesn’t fit the “indie’ label but they are no longer affiliated with a major label. They formed their own label, 3CG Records, back in 2004 and have released at least 3 studio albums and at least 2 live records since then. I have seen them in concert close to ten times and they are also one of the few groups who sound just as good live as on a recording. Plus I’ve found Hanson fans are an interesting group of people. Spending hours in line with them (this past concert I was in line for nearly 12 hours and that was before the doors to the venue even opened), you bond over common interests. But there is just something about their signature three-part harmonies and soulful sound that gets the creative juices flowing.

Mark Hildreth: Mark is another actor/singer that I came to know of because of his TV work. He played Joshua, a resistance member on the short-lived V reboot. He’s since had a gust spot on Eureka. He put out his first album a long while ago and it is really solid. He is a pianist first and foremost so a lot of times that’s what takes prominence. He is currently raising funds to complete his second album. You can contribute to the campaign here. I’m very excited to see what he comes up with.

I’m quite excited to see what my next project turns up in terms of playlist. I’m already expecting some mix of the above with possibly a few random songs thrown in by artists like 3 Doors Down, Daughtry or Rob Thomas.