Was a founding member of Pink Floyd. He named the band, and wrote most of the material for the first album. His well documented decline into mental illness did not prevent the production of two amazing solo albums, whose defining factors are brilliant lyrics, and whimsical performances which leave the listener feeling meloncoly. This may not be what you desire in a listening experience, but there is no denying the emotional impact of his work. Check him out, and if you like him I recommend the Crazy Diamond box set (Syd is the subject of the Pink Floyd lyric Shine On You Crazy Diamond), which has many bonus tracks unavailable elsewhere.
More info on Syd Barrett
Is a unique writer and performer, virtually a creative island unto himself. He is at times challenging to listen to, and is known for his gruff voice, but his stuff is worth the effort. There are roughly two periods in his musical output: the beat poet balladeer, and the angular unpredictable shaman.
My favorite official release from the early period (1974 to 1983) is the soundtrack from the movie “One From The Heart,” which features Crystal Gayle. If it sounds implausible, just give it a chance. There is some stunning work there, and it was nominated for a Grammy. From the second period, which leads us to the present 2002 releases, I like Mule Variations. It is safer for newcomers, as he refers back to his ballad days, but there is plenty of the ragged maggot rock he has pioneered through the 1980s and 90s.
More info on Tom Waits
Is primarily a voice talent, and chances are you’ve heard him on a television commercial, but not in a performance context. His stuff is nearly all spoken word, but is backed with (mostly) jazz music. Thus he calls it Word Jazz. He is considered part of the Beat Poet school, and was influential in those circles. He and Tom Waits have crossed paths on occasion.
For a taste ‘o Ken try either The Best Of Word Jazz Volume 1, which was recorded in the 1950s, or Devout Catalyst from 1992, which features Jerry Garcia and Tom Waits. There is also a contemporary live CD called Upper Limbo, which does not feature Tom & Jerry (!), but sounds more up to date, especially in sound quality than Best Of Word Jazz. It also features yours truly whistling between songs!
More info on Ken Nordine
Is a modern folk giant (who lives in a huge hamlet back east). She is an incredibally witty lyracist, a wonderful guitarist, and a great singer and performer. If you like folk music even a little, go and see her perform. She is very funny, and you will be entertained. Must. Be. Entertained. Christine is also a tireless enthusiast of music, and works to help other performers in their careers.
My favorite Christine Lavin CD is probably Compass, but I have yet to hear a bad one.
More info on Christine Lavin
Huun Huur Tu
Are also known as the Throat Singers of Tuva. Tuva is a small country located in South Siberia in the former Solviet Union. In that region of Siberia and Mongolia the locals practice a unique singing technique which allows a single person to create 2, 3, and even 4 tones at the same time using their single voice, throat, and tounge. It sounds otherworldly, and an example of the sound can be heard on my CD on Track 1, Agile Mind, Fragile Gaze. This music is traditional Siberian folk music, but is pleasing to many westerners who hear it. Give it a listen and make up your own mind.
More info on Huun Huur Tu
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