Suggest some female C&W singers
December 19, 2005 6:45 PM   Subscribe

Looking for albums by female singers with breathy voices who sing in a sort of contemporary C&W style, eg with twangy guitars and violins. Something like Shawn Colvin?

Explanation of this is that I keep hearing singing like this and like it very much but never seem to nail who it is I'm listening to/like. I mentioned Shawn Colvin simply because I heard her sing in the movie "Tin Cup" tonight and liked it and it prompted the question.
posted by A189Nut to Media & Arts (36 answers total)
The Cardigans - Long gone before daylight.
posted by fire&wings at 6:52 PM on December 19, 2005

Neko Case. Not necessarily "breathy", but a truly stunning voice, and good alt-country sound. Start with Furnace Room Lullaby and go from there.
posted by pdb at 6:56 PM on December 19, 2005

Kelly Willis?
posted by nicwolff at 6:57 PM on December 19, 2005

The "Be Good Tanyas" a little closer to the folk side of the spectrum, but with banjo and other C/W elements. The lead singer does lots of tremelo vocals.
posted by turtlegirl at 6:58 PM on December 19, 2005

This list of alt-country artists might be worth checking out.
posted by amarynth at 7:00 PM on December 19, 2005

Jessie Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter. I also second the Be Good Tanyas.
posted by jessamyn at 7:02 PM on December 19, 2005

Not breathy, but amazing: Gillian Welch. I'm partial to the album: Time (The Revelator).
posted by putzface_dickman at 7:04 PM on December 19, 2005

Also, team love's main page has two free downloads from Jenny Lewis's upcoming album with the Watson Twins that you might like.
posted by amarynth at 7:05 PM on December 19, 2005

Haley Bonar and Kathryn Williams.
posted by nathan_teske at 7:07 PM on December 19, 2005

You might enjoy Dar Williams and Patty Griffin. And a third for the Tanyas.
posted by bibliowench at 7:13 PM on December 19, 2005

Not breathy, but if it's twangy guitars and fiddles you seek, Allison Krauss is mandatory. Also, second Gillian Welch.
posted by kosem at 7:15 PM on December 19, 2005

Check out Nickel Creek. Mostly fronted by the virtuoso Chris Thile but some songs are sung by violinist Sara Wadkins.
posted by any major dude at 7:20 PM on December 19, 2005

Emmylou Harris. Roseanne Cash.

And speaking somewhat locally, Kelly Hogan and Jennifer Nettles.
posted by grabbingsand at 7:21 PM on December 19, 2005

My favorites are Neko Case (esp. "Blacklisted"), the Be Good Tanyas (esp. "Blue Horse"), Dar Williams (everything), and Jesse Sykes (esp. "Oh, My Girl"). And Allison Krauss is an amazing singer.
posted by librarina at 7:23 PM on December 19, 2005

The Cowboy Junkies. Candiaan mellow-countrified psuedo-rock.
posted by youcancallmeal at 7:29 PM on December 19, 2005

Lori McKenna (probably twangier than breathy).

And another vote for Haley Bonar and Patty Griffin. And Gillian Welch.

Gosh, there are just so many that are so good.
posted by tentacle at 7:37 PM on December 19, 2005

Kasey Chambers hasn't been mentioned. I don't care for her personally, but she's got quite a following and she pretty well fits your criteria.
posted by padraigin at 7:45 PM on December 19, 2005

Matraca Berg - a really good album is "Sunday Morning to Saturday Night". Two great songs in particular are "That Train Don't Run" and "If I Were An Angel".

I'm also terribly fond of Patty Griffin - the album "1000 Kisses" is one of my favorites (music critics loved the one before it, too - "Living With Ghosts", but 1000 Kisses is my personal fave). Fab songs include "Rain", a cover of "Stolen Car", and my personal break-down-weepy one, "Long Ride Home".

Cripes. I'm gonna go open a bottle of wine now.
posted by ersatzkat at 7:46 PM on December 19, 2005

First thing I thought of was Jennifer Nettles.
posted by Medieval Maven at 7:46 PM on December 19, 2005


Yeah - I need some wine.
posted by ersatzkat at 7:47 PM on December 19, 2005

Michelle Malone. That woman's got heart.
posted by bigbigdog at 7:51 PM on December 19, 2005

I really like Eunice Sim, an independent artist I met back in Boston. I'm not sure if she's exactly what you're looking for, but her voice is *lovely*, and you can sample her music on the page I linked to.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:52 PM on December 19, 2005 [1 favorite]

Cat Power, especially The Covers & Moon Pix
posted by Sara Anne at 8:04 PM on December 19, 2005

Rather than recommend stuff that you're not looking for, like Neko Case (she is not breathy by any stretch-- she has the biggest pipes around), here's my recommendations:
  • Alison Krauss & Union Station
  • Gillian Welch (my second favorite artist of all-time)
  • Nickel Creek
  • Kelly Willis (maybe, but her voice isnt really breathy either.)

posted by keswick at 8:06 PM on December 19, 2005

Though technically not country at all. I like Hope Sandoval/Mazzy Star. The songs are spare, shuffle along, plaintive and have a mood akin to being out in the desert.
That's all i got kid......sorry.

Maybe Cowboy Junkies?

Oh and I almost forgot Carrie Underwood.......just kidding.

I'm just feeling loopy now that the subway guys are going on strike in New York City and my normal commute of 30 minutes will be more like 2 hours or so each way manana, yeesh i'm gonna barely get 5 hours of sleep. Godspeed all!
posted by stavx at 8:14 PM on December 19, 2005

Try some Jolie Holland. Texas alt-country with a side of Billie Holliday thrown in.
posted by scody at 8:16 PM on December 19, 2005

I second (third?) Nickel Creek, although I hesitate to call them country. I just love 'em.

Alison Krauss is probably closer to what you're actually looking for.
posted by danb at 8:25 PM on December 19, 2005

Lots of great suggestions in this thread. I'm casting another vote for Kelly Willis, Alison Krauss and Patty Griffin. Julie Miller is also a favorite, but she has a very unique kind of fragile-sounding voice that some don't care for, so YMMV. I would recommend "Broken Things" if you decide to check her out.

Also check out Laura Cantrell. I prefer "Not The Tremblin' Kind" but many people prefer "When The Roses Bloom Again."

Or maybe Stacey Earle? Her first two albums are very good, but she's probably more folk than country.
posted by whatideserve at 8:50 PM on December 19, 2005

Catie Curtis

Definitely more folk than country, but a great voice with tons of character, and just about the best lyrics I've ever heard. Mostly guitar/mandolin instrumentation. Her acoustic album "Acoustic Valentine" is particularly nice (and features "Dandelion", my favorite song of all time).
posted by Rock Steady at 9:12 PM on December 19, 2005

Hem is quite good and I think fits your description. They've got some sample mp3s on their website.
posted by roue at 9:15 PM on December 19, 2005

Tara Nevins from Donna the Buffalo. They've got twangy guitars and fiddles. She also has a solo album which I haven't heard. Listen to the clip of the first track on this Amazon page.
posted by euphorb at 10:45 PM on December 19, 2005

Lucinda Williams
posted by rocket88 at 7:07 AM on December 20, 2005

Tift Merritt.

Forgot her last night.

Also, Shivaree ("Goodnight Moon.")
posted by grabbingsand at 8:20 AM on December 20, 2005

Thanks for the Catie Curtis link, Rock Steady. She sounds really good!

Also check out Lucy Kaplansky and Lisa Germano.
posted by onlyconnect at 8:35 AM on December 20, 2005

The Wailin' Jennys are ethereal sounding and their harmonies are to die for...really beautiful. I'm a Cowboy Junkies/Dar Williams/Lucy Kaplansky/Shawn Colvin fan and I CANNOT get enough of the Jennys.

Also, Jane Siberry's "Calling All Angels" duet with k.d. lang is breathy and beautiful. I could get stoned on that song all day long. Also try k.d.'s "Hymns of the 49th Parallel".
posted by jeanmari at 9:29 AM on December 20, 2005

Sam Phillips, Sam Phillips, Sam Phillips. A Boot and a Shoe.
posted by fidelity at 9:47 AM on December 20, 2005

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