underrated or unheard of musician/band

Hopefully this thread will lead us all to new non-commercialized things to listen to. There is a ton of talent hiding out there so here we go, lets uncover some!

Hacienda Brothers. Twang all the way with a touch of south of the boarder, some blues and some rockabilly sometimes all in the same song (it works trust me). They have , among others, Dave Gonzolas, the guitarist for the Palidans (rockabilly hardcores) a great pedal player and Chris Gafney doing vocals. First album just came out. Definately a live show band.

Dave Alvin great songwriting IMO. every song tells a story and most of them aint happy. Covers roots rock, country, blues. Museam of hearts is a good start as is king of california.

Curtis Salgodo. Another live show guy. The songs are good but the recordings don't carry his passion. not to say the recordings aren't good. Soul, R&B and Blues. has done stints with roomfull of blues and santana.

Tinsley Ellis. king of blues and Blues rock. great playing, great voice and usually great songs. Would smoke Clapton on a bad night IMO. Killer live shows and the recordings carry the ball as well.

Afro Celt Sound System Celtic music blended with electronic under tutalidge, if not leadership, of Peter Gabriel.

Sonia Dada. white chicago rock band meets black street singer group and the rest is history. Great live, great late at night loud. Kida funky, kida soulfull. Vocals as you might expect are very good.

Ray Condo and the Ricochets. Unfortunately Ray passed last year so live shows are out. Too bad because the consistantly rate as some of the most fun i've ever seen. Country Swing and honky tonk.

Danny Gatton and (i'm in a big brain fade here on the first name. Robert i think. age sucks) Gordon "The humbler." OK among guitar players he ain't unknown and being rated as a god by guitarists and winning guitar players best player selection ain't exactly underrated he fits based on being called the workds greatist unknown guitarist. Jaw dropping rockabilly here and it was only their 4th gig together. The soundman at a one night gig knew he was on to something so he grabbed a take of the night. Unfortunately Danny couldn't overcome the blues and did himself in a number of years ago.

Shoogie Otis. Just gotta check it out.

I'll think some more and add some more later.
Paul Westerburg is very underrated in my book. I have been a big fan of his since his days with the Replacements. His music grows on you over time. Every new CD he puts out I start out not really liking it... then it just grows on you the more you listen. I have at least 11 CD's of his/The Replacements that I can put in anytime and get a charge from.
Elliott Smith; I was so surprised to hear his music for the first time this past year. What a talent, so sad he is no longer with us.
Ray Condo was fantastic, Piezo. Saw him a few times.
Elliott Smith
Eric Matthews
Bob Mould
American Music Club
Ted Hawkins
Screaming Trees
Mark Lanegan (singer from Screaming Trees)
Damien Jurado--brilliant songrwriter
Love Battery
Mitch Easter
Frank Zappa--underrated as a musician/composer IMO
The Chills--phenomenal pop band that nobody knows
Kings X--phenomenal hard rock band that nobody knows
Fred Frith
Achim Kaufmann
...to name a few
Boa2 and others mention a few I would put in this category.
Several of these artists most recent releases are reviewed at the Audiogon related music review website Lugs
I am also a huge fan of both Paul Westerberg and Bob Mould.

Grant Lee Phillips, Kathleen Edwards, That Petrol Emotion, The Cult, The Sand Rubies/Sidewinders.
I was going to say Waterboys, Ben, but just read your fine review of "This is the Sea", which remains in my top-10 all-time favorites to this day.
Thanks for the link. Excellent site.
Great bands, Beatlebum. Used to see Anodyne regularly in Seattle. Lead singer was the singer in That Petrol Emotion. What Kathleen Edwards album would you recommend?

Love Grant Lee Buffalo as well. "Copperopolis" is such a powerful album.
Heather Eatman. I'll just use an excerpt from a review that does a very good job of describing her music:
"(Mascara Falls - her debut album)...has the touch of a weathered, worldly storyteller. Her songs/stories have bright and dark sides which aren't necessarily evident until one really listens past her fairly bright and happy-sounding voice. If you like songwriters who can paint pictures and create a story that leaps into being (Tom Waits, Suzanne Vega, John Gorka, Christine Lavin, etc) then you shouldn't miss out on Heather Eatman."
To satisfy the audiophile in you, her music is also very well recorded/produced. I recommend starting with her debut described above. I have diverse taste in music ranging from Classical to IDM/electronica and Heather E. grips me every time. Great music for road trips through the rural mid-west, or simply being transported from the comfort of your listening room.
Hans Theessink
De La Soul--Brilliant hip-hop

Thanks for listing that album by Heather Eatman, Neubilder. Now I know specifically what to buy. If anyone wants suggestions of which albums to buy from artists listed above, feel free to ask. I should have done that when I first posted.
I'm also a big Westerberg fan. Let me add Todd Snyder and Ron Sexsmith to the list.
I *very* much second Westerberg. Commercial success...so close, but yet so far. When he threw down an f-bomb on Saturday Night Live in the late '80's, it cemented that he/The Mats would never achieve true popular acclaim, but it also ensured that his/their cult following would never go away.
Norton Buffalo
Joe Weed (especially The Vultures)
Kim Wilson
Nuclear Whales Saxophone Orchestra
John Prine (still largely overlooked)
Bonzo Dog Band (Neil Innes)
Carmen, a flamenco rock band. They probably had the genre all to themselves. Just one album, the aptly titled, "Fandangos in Space" on ABC/Dunhill. I saw them warm up Santana at the Garden once. Really weird.
Christine Kane -- she has about four cd's. Good music, wonderful lyrics, very poetic in a folksy/earthy/next-door kind of way. Great voice! I first heard her perform for the North Carolina Dance Theatre and I've been a big fan since.
Nice to know that there are some other Paul Westerberg fans out there. My only beef with Westerberg is that the sound quality on many of his recordings is lacking. The more money I sink into my 2 channel system, the more apparent become the flaws in his recordings.

As I age (currently 40), I'm opening really up to other genre's... most notably jazz and classical. But I'll aways have a place in my heart for Westerberg.

Other notables: Son Volt, Jack Johnson and Wilco
Dan Bern, his stuff is funny, touching, satirically biting. Sometimes all in the same song. Also Patrick Park. My daughter let me borrow "Loneliness Knows My Name,' and she's not getting it back. It's kind of a throwback sound, check it out.
All of these artist have multiple superb albums with Ocean Colour Scene just releasing another. Have seen all but Lloyd Cole live and they are all superb.

Best bets -

The Samples - "The Samples","No Room", "Last Drag", "Auto Pilot" plus Jeep Macnichol's (former standout drummer) last solo "Cool and Easy, he shows the original Samples line up was much more than Sean Kelly. Jeep has a new one due out soon www.jeepmusic.com for some free downloads.

Ocean Colour Scene - "B Sides C Sides and Free Rides" - "Marchin' Already", "Molsey Shoals". Just a great english band with true heart and soul poured into their 70s rock/folk style.

Lloyd Cole - Just about anything he has done is very good. One of the best songwriters no one knows about. (agree on Paul W. also)

Dont gorget Guster and Travis two of the best relatively young bands out there not making it huge in the US although they have some commercial success. Each have a live DVD out (Travis has two) that is simply incredible to watch and listen to.
Griff Hamlin Band
Pappa Chubby
Phil Keaggy
Kings X
Merchants of Venus
Brother Cane
Johnny Winter
Kazumi Watanabi
Son Seals
Roy Rodgers
The Legendary Pink Dots
Get Kathleen Edwards' latest, "Back To Me", it's really good. Also her first major label release "Failer" is pretty good too!

Have you heard Grant Lee Phillips' "Virginia Creeper"? It's awesome.

How 'bout Beth Orton's "Central Reservation"? Good stuff too!


I too dig Lloyd Cole. The very first time I heard "My Bag" I was hooked. Great singer, great songwriter. I also like Guster as well.


I turned the big 40 last October and my choice of listening is varying alot these days. Lately, I'm listening to alot of Stan Getz's stuff.

Couple of other noteables: Wire Train, The Tubes and The DB's.

It is really nice to see that there are more people, who like Paul Westerberg.
From a european point of view I would like to add a few, in my opinion underrated musicians/bands.:
Midway Still
Nick Cave
Adam Green
Jeff Buckeley
Josh Rouse
The American Analog Set
Elvis Costello

and there are many more.
I've been looking for the Lloyd Cole "Pop" lp for a while now. I use to have it and remember how catchy and well written it is.
V Roys
Scott Miller and the Commonwealth
Blackie and the Rodeo Kings
Peter Bruntnell
Similar age and taste Beatlebum. I turned 40 in Septemeber. Love the Tubes. I thought my musical taste would change as I got older. It has with regards to what I am open to but I am still into the same type of stuff I looked for when I was in my early 20s. I think there is a lot of really good music being made today. I find my stuff through internet radio or browsing through Borders headphones.

Other notables I have caught on to over the past few years:

Beachwood Sparks
The Shins
The Stills
Tin Star
My Morning Jacket
AC Newman
Franz Ferdinand
Modest Mouse
The Walkmen
The Damnwells
"The Waifs" They're an independent,so you wont hear about them unless you have a good college NPR station. They're from the land down under and anything you can find is great the latest live album "A Brief History" is just great!
I also agree on the Beth Orton. All of hers is great! Beatlebum and Ozfly, you guys must be or at some time lived in good ole North Carolina? Christine Kane is excellant! Check out " The Waifs"!
New (to me) artists you must hear:

The Duhks - self titled young band from Winnapeg, produced by Bela Fleck who guests as well as Edger Meyer, Victor Wooton and others. The first track 'Death Came a Knockin' will hook you. You will hear them, might as well get it now.

Amy Correia - 'Lakeville' Understated singer/writer, when from prison she tells her child to 'Hold On' you may be surprised how she touches you.

Mary Gauthier - 'Mercy Now' with a crawling spokenword style she paints the kind of picture...'Wheel Inside the Wheel' "Souls ain't born, souls dont die...soul ain't made of earth, ain't made of water, ain't made of sky"...

Tony Joe White - remember the classic swamp song 'Polk Salad Annie'(give this a listen with new ears)? One guest artist Shelby Lynn does this song in her shows now. Well hes still around, and his last release 'The Heroines' suggests hes still got it. Some great tunes form the swamp king.

Now something else old - the Strawbs. From Brit folk band roots to sometimes heavy electric this is one of my favorites. I just saw these guys do an acoustic show a few months ago, last time I saw them before was about 30 years ago. From 'Dragonfly' to 'Grave New World' to 'Bursting at the Seams' to 'Hero and Heroine' to 'Ghosts' some of their later albums were weak but I always loved the way they could in one line go from sweet and beautiful to dark and dread.

And now for those of us who loved early King Crimson a couple albums that I love are from the Italian band that ELPs label produced - PFM. Premiata Forneria Marconi 1973 and 74 albums both featured lyrics by Pete Sinfield. Start with 'Photos of Ghosts' and then a little harder with 'The World Became the World'. Fabulous musicians and creative writing.

Sample some of this stuff and see what you think. A lot of whats posted above I have heard, a lot I plan on checkng out. Great thread.
I heard "The Waifs" open for Bob Dylan and even though we all went to see him, they were a hard act to follow. I will also second the Duhks.
Oh, I almost forgot, direct from the obscurity files, for your consideration, Ramatam. One of the only female-fronted guitar bands, two albums, "Ramatam" and "In April Came The Dawning Of The Two Red Suns". Lead guitarist, April Lawton, rumored to be the girl friend of Ten Years After guit wiz Alvin Lee, was just terrific. The first album features the quite overrated ex-Hendrix drummer Mitch Mitchell. Next up, Ten Wheel Drive, one of those large horn section bands a la Blood Sweat and Tears and Chicago, only jazzier, Singer Genya Ravan really had great chops and the band was just tight. Weird material and overly studied arrangements probably did them in.
Beatlebum, thanks for the recommendations. And to everyone else, as well. I use these threads as a resource for music shopping.

Others for the list:
Guided by Voices--powerhouse rock band, echoes of The Who
Matthew Sweet--pop master
XTC--who haven't they influenced?
Richard Buckner--folk with tension
Throwing Muses--"Limbo" is a masterpiece, IMO.
Here's a few of my favorites I don't see mentioned often here:

Philip Catherine - Jazz Guitar I originally purchased "Nairam" while in college in the 70's. Recently picked up 3 other cd's off of Amazon.com. Nairam is a unique piece, and I can't find it on cd

I second Strawbs, and PFM as mentioned above by Blkadr. I'm a big fan of both.

One more 70's prog band I see hardly ever mentioned is "Illusion" Jane Relf's voice is angelic and sultry at the same time. The songs are great too.

And how about Gene Clark. Aside from his work with the Birds and (I think) Flying Burrito Brothers, he did some fantastic solo stuff. Alas he died before we got much solo. His solo album "No Other" is one of my most played albums. It was finally released on CD in 2003 - and includes 2 versions of each song.
I have one album
Garland Jeffries, rock/reggae/soul. Excellent music, "GhosT Writers" is probably his best.

Butts Band - Only had two albums, you can get both on one cd from Amazon. Robby Kreiger and John Densmore from the Doors were in this band after Jim died.

Captain Beyond - rock band from the early 70's. Really good psychedelic rock.

Tom Rush - folky from the hippy days. Great storytelling folk. Get the Best of LP if you can find it, it is really well recorded. Much better than the cd of his best hits.
I am a huge Westerberg fan as well and am actually getting to see him the 29th at the 930 Club here in DC which is a small venue. I grew up listening to the Replacements and he is an incredible artist.

Also, check out Colin Hay's solo work. He was the front man from Men at Work. His solo efforts are sensational IMO.

I would also recommend checking out Ryan Adams, The Stereophonics, and Bill Janovitz(from Buffalo Tom). All stellar acts which IMO are putting out some incredible music.

If you have heard of them also check out The Damnwells, Mike Doughty, Pitty Sing, and Elliot Smith.


Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings have recreated JB-style funk in their own image. Great, horn-driven hard funk arrangements. Tight, propulsive, original bass lines. Sharon Jones is a tough-as-nails, take no prisoners front woman. Simply outrageous!
Back in college (late 1970s), friends and I listened to Reverberi an (I think) Italian, keyboards-based group that did jazzy, mostly instrumental interpretations of classical music. I do remember that one of the LPs had a female vocalist w/ one of the sexiest voices you'd ever want to hear. Unfortunately, haven't heard them in years, as I could never find them on CD and the LPs weren't mine. Anyone have any clues?
The kid: My friend Mike and I are going to the Nats game at 7 on the 29th, then straight up to the 9:30 Club for the Westerberg show, since the doors open at 10. THAT'S the way to go out in DC!

Nice! Yea, my music buddies and I are pre-partying in DC as we live in NOVA. I will be there with bells on! The 930 is a great place to see a show...

Definitely, Bark Psychosis. If you can get your hands and ears on their "Hex" album(dating back to 1994, I think) you'd be stunned...
John Nitzinger,guitar player from Texas,i think he was in Bloodrock,solo stuff is much better IMHO
First to come to mind is guitar player Ben Lacy. http://www.benlacy.com/
Kim simmonds of savoy brown
Holy thread resurrection, Mapman !!!!!
Anything Jason Molina.
Back again, miss me? I've been listening to three very different female artists lately: Brandi Carlile "The Story", "Bloodletting" by Concrete Blonde with lead singer/bass Johnette Napolitano, and Nina Hagan "NUNSEXMONKROCK".
First to last could not be more different, all crazy good.
Orhan Demir Trio great jazz guitarist from Canada. He has several hard core guitar albums out.
Originally from Turkey and great for sure... on par w/ McLaughlin, Coryell or early Pat Martino. Wish his recordings were easier to find, (even youtube doesn't have anything). I loaned out Hot Cargo and never got it back. The Guitar Plus recording is probably the easiest one to find but it doesn't give you a lot of his best stuff.
Pharaoh, a metal band out of Philadelphia. Their album "The Longest Night" rates in my top ten all time.

Historically, there were a couple of bands; Medieval out of Kalamazoo and Starfighters out of England that never seemed to make it, that regularly hit my play list.

Hmmm, time to spin some vinyl :)
Collective soul