I would like to think I've left the best until last with this one lady. She's recorded a Solo album - All The Roads That Lead Us Home - and is part of a group called The Murder of Crows who have also released a record called Imperfecta, as well as contributing to a number of other projects. You can find more information on the places to obtain these from her website (Click Here).
A couple of weeks ago NPR announced the winner of their tiny desk concert contest. 6,100 enteries were submitted for the opportunity to play a tiny desk concert for themselves. I checked in to have a look and was absolutely thrown by the choice the judges made ( the six judges were Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys and The Arcs, Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe of Lucius, Son Little, Robin Hilton and Bob Boilen of NPR).
They posted the submission video of the winning entry (see below) and it left me firstly speechless and secondly in tears because the performance was so haunting and moving. I didn't read the article in full until afterwards and discovered a little bit about the winner Gaelynn Lea.
I'm not going to repeat much of what was said because you can read in full on the links I'm sharing that talk about it. I just wanted to say that this lady has overcome an awful lot to be in the position she finds herself in and judging from a number of deeply unkind and even hateful comments directed at her she's still got a few hurdles to get over (no scrap that, it's those who were saying the hateful stuff that have the hurdles to get over!).
Overall though the response to her win has largely been very positive and the good clearly shouts louder than the haters!
One of the barbs thrown up was that the decision to award her the winner was that it was just a pity vote because she is disabled but I think that is incredibly unfair on the ear of the esteemed panel of judges and even more unfair upon a woman who despite the limitations of her body manages to play an instrument, write and sing songs of such depth and beauty, to be a recording artist, a live performer and not only that - be a teacher to others.
Robin Hilton of NPR said this about the process of judging, "Gaelynn Lea had the most arresting voice and overall sound I heard in this competition. While judging each entry, I'd listen to the song first, then watch the video if I was moved by the music to spend more time with it. I was profoundly moved by Lea's song, particularly its serpentine, earworm melody and the tremendous heartache in her poetry." So, it is clear from Robin's view that this was not a pity vote but rather an artistic choice.
I have been trying to think who Gaelynn reminds me of for the past two weeks and today it finally came to me. I'm not saying she's exactly like her but there are elements within her vocal performance that reminded me a little of Iris DeMent (but maybe that's just me!).
2016 Tiny Desk Contest Submission
Someday We'll Linger in the Sun
Tiny Desk Concert
Here's something you should read/listen to learn more about Gaelynn Lee
Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!