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8 Emerging Singer-Songwriters

You’ve heard their voices on ”Grey’s Anatomy,” as opening acts, in the blogosphere — we’re betting a lot of music fans will be talking about them in the years ahead .

BRETT DENNEN

The Backstory Thanks in part to fan John Mayer, who’s taking him on tour this summer, the 28-year-old Californian’s tender, raspy-voiced ballads are gaining wider notice. His songs have also turned up on Grey’s Anatomy and American Idol.

For Fans of Mayer, Jason Mraz, Dave Matthews, and other melody hounds — plus hall-of-famers James Taylor and Paul Simon. Released nearly a year and a half ago, Dennen’s debut, So Much More, is a stealthy, still-climbing seller.
Best Track ”Darlin’ Do Not Fear” (myspace.com/brettdennen)

LANDON PIGG

The Backstory Winsome, sweet-voiced Nashville native, 24, finds sudden fame with a diamond ad featuring his indelible ”Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop.” iTunes download bonanza ensues.

For Fans of Rufus Wainwright. Though Pigg recently opened for Gavin DeGraw, his delicate songs (see: Pigg’s EP, Coffee Shop) sound more like the swoony Wainwright, minus his arch piano pomp.
Best Track ”Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop” (myspace.com/landonpiggmusic)

JUSTIN NOZUKA

The Backstory Raised in Toronto, this 19-year-old is wasting no time. He’s already released a well-received debut, Holly, and has a full touring schedule. Bonus trivia: He’s Kyra Sedgwick’s nephew.

For Fans of Gavin DeGraw, Citizen Cope, and other polished unplugged-soul acolytes. It also doesn’t hurt that he looks like an Abercrombie model.
Best Track ”After Tonight” (myspace.com/justinnozuka)

PADDY CASEY

The Backstory He’s a cult draw over here, but the former busker, 34, is a platinum seller in Ireland (granted, ”platinum” equals 15,000 CDs sold there).

For Fans of Full-bodied, rollicking folk rock, plus artists like Crowded House, the Frames, and Ron Sexsmith. The singer’s third full-length, Addicted to Company, hit our shores last month.
Best Track ”City” (myspace.com/paddycasey)
BRENDAN JAMES

The Backstory The 28-year-old Manhattanite went from toiling at Urban Outfitters to having his ballad ”Hero’s Song” featured alongside Eddie Vedder, Neil Young, and the Boss on the soundtrack for March’s Iraq doc Body of War. Look for his debut, The Day Is Brave, dropping June 3.

For Fans of Confessional acoustica, à la James Taylor, Grant-Lee Phillips, or even an XY-chromosomed Colbie Caillat, topped with nougaty piano flourishes.
Best Track ”Hero’s Song” (myspace.com/brendanjames)
NEWTON FAULKNER

The Backstory The dreadlocked 23-year-old Brit, who had a Green Day cover band in his teens, hit No. 1 in the U.K. last summer with his debut, Hand Built by Robots, now available in the States.

For Fans of Paolo Nutini and Daniel Powter. Also, groovy guitar tricks: Faulkner’s already known for his unique style, which includes picking, slapping, and strumming.

Best Track ”Dream Catch Me” (myspace.com/newtonfaulkner)

SAM AMIDON

The Backstory A boy from Vermont who sounds like Nick Drake records an LP of reworked traditional folk songs in Iceland with avant-jazz guest stars. The result? All Is Well (out now), an album of fragile, spooky loveliness.
For Fans of Drake, for sure, but also classic Elliott Smith, and Sufjan Stevens’ more reflective material. Amidon, 26, uses strings, woodwinds, and brass to striking effect.
Best Track ”Saro” (myspace.com/samamidon)

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