Music for the Soul

I live, eat, breathe and speak music. I am always looking for new artists or delving into the old songs of my favorite artists.  My music library is so extensive that it amazes people. I listen to everything from old school Motown (thanks to my dad), to country, to R&B, to hip hop, to pop, to indie to rock. The list doesn’t end. Pandora became my favorite work companion a few years back after I first discovered it recommends artists to you based on your selected songs, genres and musicians.

Me in summer 2011 as the Pop Culture intern at Essence magazine

Jamie Tworkowski, founder of Two Write Love on Her Arms said, “Songs don’t wait to resolve……..Stories wait for endings, but songs are brave things bold enough to sing when all they know is darkness.” This is one of my all time favorite quotes. It describes music so accurately. When people ask how I could possibly listen to certain genres, like country for example, I always say the genre is probably the least important thing about a song. Music is about telling a story. It’s about honesty, which is why I love it.

For me, music allows me to connect with people, some whom I will never meet, and at times it also helps me to disconnect from the chaotic world around me. There is a peace and calm in music that is heavenly. I love that there is literally a song for every occasion, for love, for loss, for death, for parenthood, for childhood, for growing up, for heartbreak, for moving on. The list goes on and on.

There is a line in a Hootie and The Blowfish song that says, “Let her sing if it eases all her pain.” I love that song! I love that lyric! As a 22 year old woman, trust that I have cried to a song or two in my life, but that song captures the power of a song in confusion and hurt so well. It is basically telling the man in the song that you may not understand the woman in your life all the time but when she needs to cry just let her cry and when she wants to sing, let her because it eases her pain.

With time and much exploration I have found that some of my favorite musicians are men, southern men to be more specific.  There is something about southern musicians, their soul and depth that warms my heart and my ears. Coincidentally, southern male singers have outdone the ladies in my book. It is something about their candidness and raw emotion that I don’t find every day. I may be overgeneralizing and I am open to make mistakes, but nonetheless I wanted to talk about some of my favorite southern male artists. Feel free to give them a listen and to comment! I am smiling while writing this. Music makes me happiest.

1. Darius Rucker

Born May 13, 1966 in Charleston, South Carolina

Interesting Fact: Originally a member of the rock band, Hootie and The Blowfish

Favorite Quality: Deep, raspy voice

Good listens: It Won’t Be Like This for Long, Let Her Cry, Alright

2. Ben Rector

Born November 6,1986 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Interesting Fact: Based out of Nashville, Tennessee

Favorite Quality: Story telling ability

Good Listens: When a Heart Breaks, Twenty Tomorrow, When She Comes Around, She Is, Hank

3. Anthony Hamilton

Born January 28, 1971 in Charlotte, North Carolina

Interesting Fact: The father of twin boys

Favorite Quality: Soulful, rhythmic beats

Good Listens: The Point of It All, Dear Life, Her Heart

4. Marc Broussard

Born January 14, 1982 in Carencro, Louisiana

Interesting Fact: Music career started off in a Christian band, called Y

Favorite Quality: Controlled vibrato and soulful

Good Listens: Gavin’s Song, Home, Come in From the Cold

5. Amos Lee

Born June 22, 1977 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania but went to school in South Carolina (so we will call him southern)

Interesting Fact: His original name is Ryan Anthony Massaro

Favorite Quality: Sweet, quite soul

Good Listens: Colors, Careless, Learned A Lot, Sweet Pea, Arms of a Woman, Southern Girl

6. NeedtoBreathe

Based out of Seneca, South Carolina

Interesting Fact: Band members and brothers Bear and Nathaniel Bryant “Bo” Rinehart were named after University of Alabama football coach Bear Bryant

Favorite Quality: Rich Harmony

Good Listens: Something Beautiful, Washed by the Water, Lay ‘Em Down, The Garden

7. Philip Phillips

Born September 20, 1990 in Leesburg, Georgia

Interesting Fact: Winner of Season 11 of American Idol

Favorite Quality: Voice depicts emotion of songs, Clarity

Good Listens: Home

Here are a few other great male singers that are not so southern but worth your time: Ray Lamontagne, Eric Hutchinson, Andrew Belle, Andy Grammer, Jon McLaughlin, Maxwell and Lyfe Jennings.

Hope you get a good listen!