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You Sing I Write's Weekly Wrap Up

The music world faced a major loss over a week ago when Whitney Houston was found dead in her hotel room. Just a day before the Grammys, rumors of several award show tributes abounded. While Adele‘s comeback performance was definitely one show highlight, Jennifer Hudson’s poignant cover of Houston’s infamous hit, “I Will Always Love You” was breathtaking.

On Monday, I started a new job at CBS Radio. Given the previous day’s events, my week had no shortage of news stories to be written. Whether it was NBA darling Jeremy Lin sharing his music taste with Fuse, or the rumors of a Chris Brown and Rihanna collaboration, I wrote about it. Since I’m still getting used to the rhythm of a full-time job my posts here might slow, but I’ll be sure to fill you in on all of my adventures on Twitter.

I was beyond excited to hear a preview of John Mayer’s new album when he posted a stream of one of the tracks Thursday. With wavering pedal steel, his familiar vocals and heartfelt lyrics, I’m anxiously awaiting his upcoming LP due out later in 2012. With so much new music due for release this year, I’ll be sure to keep you up-to-date. In the meantime, here are a few shows I’ll be catching this week and artists to have on your radar.

Mary Bragg – Tuesday 7pm @ The Living Room

This Americana songstress has a year-long residency at the Living Room titled “Mary Bragg With…” Each month, she performs two hours with a friend, showcasing new and old material as well as a collaboration with a new guest. I interviewed Bragg last year for CBS and Billboard where she filled me in on her songwriting and recording process as well as the evolution of her writing, which was originally inspired by her friend Dave Haywood of Lady Antebellum.

When Your Heart Belongs to Another from Mary Bragg on Vimeo.

Nic Cowan – Tuesday 9:30pm @ Rockwood Music Hall

This Southern rocker has major support from some of country and rock’s biggest names including Zac Brown, who produced his latest release, and Kid Rock. Cowan has songwriting credits on each of Hardheaded‘s 13 tracks, two of which feature Brown and Kid Rock.

Tragedy – Friday 11:30pm @ Brooklyn Bowl

Words can’t even begin to explain what one can expect at this band’s show. Glitter, spandex and cover songs abound. Not to mention, scantily clad personal trainers jump around onstage while other members of the entourage blow glitter into the crowd. Finally, fans are brought onstage for an impromptu dance party. These are just a few of the elements that make for a truly unique show. Did I mention they’re an all metal tribute band to the Bee Gees?

What albums are you most excited to hear this year? Which bands are on your radar to see live? Let me know!

Artist of the Week Band of the Week

Artist of the Week: Sonia Leigh

Last Monday, shortly after 8 p.m., Sonia Leigh took the stage to screams at The Studio at Webster Hall. Distinct vocals combined with a steady percussion beat on first song, “Ain’t Dead Yet,” kicked off her energetic hour-long set.

Also the lead track to her debut release, 1978 December, on Zac Brown’s label Southern Ground, “Ain’t Dead Yet” has a deep meaning. Inspired by the influence of blues artist Sean Costello and his unexpected death, Leigh frequently visits his grave.

“When he died I pretty much made a vow that I was gonna keep this going for both of us,” she said. “That’s basically that. I’m not dead yet, so let’s go out there and do it.”

And music is what Leigh has been doing ever since. At 17, she left home to pursue her dream. With $50, a garbage bag of clothes and her guitar she embarked on a journey that was far from easy. Lucky for music lovers, this adventure made it into her songs.

Throughout her set, Leigh combined classic country twang on tracks like “A Poem From the Ocean Floor,” among the bluesy “I Just Might.” Always full of surprises, the sexy rock beats heard on “I Won’t Tell,” had many concertgoers dancing along in front of the stage. Numerous times during her performance, Leigh transformed a track with a simple guitar riff or her dynamic vocals.

“I didn’t know so many people knew about me in New York. Were you guys paid to come here?” she joked.

Her lively stage presence blended well as she eased down the set. The slower “Virginia” followed with Leigh on acoustic guitar and light percussion before emotive ballad “Alabama” began. While her ballads and songwriting impress, it was high energy tracks like current single, “My Name is Money” that best showcase her talent.

Watch the video for “My Name Is Money” below and read just why Zac Brown calls Leigh “the real deal” and decided to work with her here.