Artist Spotlight: Brooke Waggoner

In a backwards turn of events today, I’ll take care of all the me rambling stuff at the end. Let’s not pass go, not collect $200, and shine the final Artist Spotlight of the year on…

Brooke Waggoner!

Brooke’s music first came to my attention thanks to one of iTunes’ free Discovery Downloads of the Week a little more than two years ago. It was an utterly lovely song called “Young Friend,” off Brooke’s then-just-released first full-length album, called “Heal For The Honey.” I was particularly floored by the outstanding, somewhat innovative piano lines in the song, and how it was just so darn catchy…but totally full of substance and life. You can hear it for yourself here (courtesy of Brooke’s own SoundCloud page):

That very song is now the most-listened to track on my iTunes, with 57 plays. I often have a habit of listening to new tunes I love a sizable number of times, but then dumping them for a while once I get tired of them, then listening to them occasionally in the future. “Young Friend” is one of the songs that I just keep coming back to…again. And again. And yet again. Every so often, I just feel like listening to it a few times. I’m pretty sure I still haven’t gotten tired of it.

So anyways, I quickly fell in love with Brooke’s music…so much that I eventually bought all of her songs, plus got her debut EP (which was then available for free; sadly, I think that deal isn’t available any longer)…and listened to them tons of times too. In fact, to bring out my nerdy side for a second again, out of the 25 songs I currently have of hers, the play count average is 18 times. Her songs are just intoxicating to me. But why? Before I go into what I (think I) love about her music, here’s another something to enjoy, a heartbreakingly beautiful track from her EP (“Fresh Pair of Eyes”) called “I Am Mine”:

So, why do I love Brooke’s music so darn much, as evidenced by the high play counts? A key element of her music is the piano, which according to Wikipedia (which is not always entirely accurate, but is usually good enough to get by on), probably comes from 17 years of classical training. Her piano lines are always gorgeous and utterly sweeping, and she incorporates them brilliantly into everything she does. In fact, I think her classical training informs her musical style in general for the most part…but in an unique way. Her songs don’t necessarily sound “classical,” per se, but it shines through in her beautiful use of strings & piano. In fact, her songs almost sound like mini-symphonies in a way…but in a very accessible way. Her music is far from “heady” or hard to follow…it hits the ears like a soft, comforting blanket. (But conversely, it’s not lightweight. It’s just the right balance of deep and deliciously listenable.)

Anyways, enough of me typing, eh? The best way for you to discover her music and (hopefully) fall in love with it is to listen. A few more closing tracks of goodness (including a music video! since visuals & music are always a plus, at least in my book). The first one is the closing track from her EP, the second one is the title track of her debut long-play, and the third one is the title track of her most recent album, which came out last year:

Before I go…I promised I’d do a little end-of-the-year housekeeping in this post, since it’ll be the last one of the year (well, actually, I might post a Song of the Day tomorrow or New Year’s Eve, but this will be the last big, bad, shiny post of the year). Many thanks to all of you for making my first few months of this blog (and ironically, the last few months of 2010) very, very great ones. Thanks for all the page visits (even if a lot of them the past few weeks were from people looking for stuff about “The Sing-Off,” and it didn’t appear that they stayed very long :)), the comments, the links, recommendations, and everything. Running this blog has been a blast so far, and it’s been the kind of rewarding experience I haven’t had with a blog yet. Special thanks go out to Lucy Schwartz for tweeting my Artist Spotlight link to her followers a month or two ago, and thanks to Julia Barry for graciously arranging an album review/giveaway/interview party. 🙂 It’s been a great few months, and I can’t wait to show you what I have in store in 2011! Look out for one more Song of the Day before the year is over, and after that, see y’all right here in Harmony Avenue…next year!

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