ARTISTS TO WATCH: Marcus Valance

If you’re a fan of Damien Rice, David Gray or David Ford, there’s plenty about Marcus Valance worth cheering about. I heard him thanks to Tradiio, a music discovery site based in Europe where you literally can “invest” in artists you find there, in the form of a virtual musician stock-market. I was immediately hooked by the London-based songwriter’s “Stood In The Way of the Son,” which featured a stuttery snare-line layered under piano and bass and a bare, sincere vocal and hints of trumpet. If Bebo Norman hadn’t recently chosen to retire from music, this is what I could hear him performing in a stripped-down form.

If you enjoyed the song as much as I did, you can sign up for Tradiio’s beta via this link and then visit his page on the site. I like the concept of investing in musicians and then seeing that payoff when others discover the music you enjoy, giving “sharing” a tangible result. You can follow my investments via my profile on the site.

Gordon Paul’s “Everything’s Okay” channels David Ford amid haunting piano beauty

Gordon Paul’s “Everything’s Okay,” the title track off his debut album, speaks truth to fear over a melody which will haunt you on repeat listens. A fan of dynamic range, Paul builds his song in the David Ford tradition, layering delicate strings over a soaring piano melody, giving room for the subtle grains of his voice to fill our headphones with the sounds of comfort and gently answered prayers. “Your love knows no darkness,” he sings as the strings rise, and though we’re no more clear than we were at the start that things truly are going to be alright, at least we have those magnificent surging notes to go back to in our uncertainty.