Saturday, September 28, 2013

My Favorite Voices

1. Glen Hansard
I could never even consider putting anyone else above Hansard when it comes to my favorite voices. Other than the fact that it is just gorgeous, it is the soundtrack of so many of my favorite musical memories, and the soundtrack to a lot of happiness in my life. It's warm and masculine and he sings with such ache and emotion sometimes that it truly makes your knees weak.

2. Justin Vernon
You will come to realize that most of this list will include men with what I like to refer to as "husky" voices. Masculine, warm, emotional voices that hit you right in the gut and hurt in the best way possible. No, I do not like falsetto (yeah, I know, Justin Vernon, right) but when Vernon sings in his lower register, Jesus Christ. If you give a listen to the new Volcano Choir record Repave, you will actually think that Vernon sounds like the angels in heaven, I mean it. 

3. Robin Pecknold
When I saw Fleet Foxes for the first time back in 2008, Pecknold sang "Oliver James" completely acoustic without a microphone and blew the entire audience away. Stunning.

4. Damien Rice
It all begins with Damien Rice. (WHY WON'T YOU MAKE NEW MUSIC, DAMIEN!?) Such a beautiful voice with just a hint of brogue, and definitely the sound that shaped my high school years. I don't listen to him much anymore but whenever I do hear his voice these days, it still makes me melt.

5. Gary Lightbody

If cuddling had a voice, it would sound like Gary Lightbody. 

6. Jim James

7. Josh Tillman
Was I the only one who was shocked by Josh Tillman's voice? Who knew this voice existed? I had listened to his work as J. Tillman and I wasn't impressed with his vocals but then I heard Fear Fun and I was like, "whoa, this is amazing!" 

8. Marcus Mumford  
Look, whatever, judge all you want. No, I do not think he sounds like Dave Matthews (nothing against Dave Matthews, I've liked a good deal of his songs throughout the years) and maybe sometimes Mumford does seem to be putting it on at times but I just adore the grittiness of his voice.

9. Scott Avett
I don't listen to The Avett Brothers much anymore but Lord, Scott Avett's voice is stunning and powerful.

10. Patrick Wolf
I have no idea what is going on with Patrick Wolf anymore (I sort of lost track of him after The Bachelor) but it's undeniable that he is filled to the brim with talent. His voice is a bit different from the others on this list but it still has a warm yet pure quality to it. 

11. Hamilton Leithauser 
This fella can waillllllllll. Jesus, it is beautiful. If you don't go weak in the knees when he sings, "and I'm stranded and I'm starry-eyed," you are incredibly unfeeling.

12. Peter Silberman

I always think that Silberman has a jazzy sort of quality to his voice, filled to the brim with pain and ache.

13. David Longstreth

Really, is there a better frontman around right now? If anyone is going to take the torch from David Byrne, it's this man.

14. Paul Noonan

15. James Blake

He did this as his encore when I saw him back in 2011 and I was blown away. Spectacular voice.

16. Daniel Rossen 

Also, Ed Droste. But Rossen gets the slot because I think Rossen can sometimes get a bit whiny. I still love him, though.

17. Nick Urata

Hearing this voice live and in person will blow you away. It is a powerful, powerful instrument with a ton of nuance. 

18. Torquil Campbell

19. Jeff Buckley

Because really, REALLY. 

20. Scott Hutchison
I wasn't sure where to stick this guy on this list. I certainly love his voice a lot more than most of this list but it feels premature to stick him in my top five or top ten. His voice isn't necessarily as appealing as the other people on the list, and to tell you the truth, the first time I heard him sing I was like, "whoa, that is way too Scottish" and it took a bit of time to like it, much less love it. And boy, do I love it. I've read it described as "handsome" and "husky" with a "muscular ache" and all of those describe it perfectly. I think he's one of the most emotional singers in indie No, his voice isn't necessarily pretty, and no, he's not a great vocalist but the way he sings certain words and lines makes his songs. (I think the only reason I grew to like "The Wrestle" is the way he sings the word "man-eater.") 

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