Listening Party: Derek Astles, Laura Blackley and Nikki Talley

We start this week’s Listening Party with the work of Derek “FolknRolln” Astles, a self-described “hardcore” and “folk rock” performer based in Asheville. There’s scant information on his MySpace page, but a quick web search reveals that Astles has quite a history as a cafe-circuit touring perfomer. His songs fall into a somewhat classic folk-oriented vein, but there’s quite a sense of insightful, pop-music savvy craft to his tunes. We suggest starting with the song “The half of you.”

Next up, we have local blues and country mainstay Laura Blackley. There’s no getting around the quality of Blackley’s songs, and her talent is remarkable on every level. “You can’t get nothing out of your art if it don’t sting you a little bit in the process,” she writes. “That’s my philosophy on writing songs.” And it shows, as some of her songs are wrenching in their emotional content. We suggest starting with “Ain’t gonna lay down and die,” which has a classic country feel to it, but almost any song on her MySpace page is worth a listen.

And closing out this week’s collection is local acoustic-leaning, rock-inspired singer/songwriter Nikki Talley. An ever-growing, ever-evolving musician, Talley’s most recent collection is Telling Lies, and our suggestion this week is the titular song from that collection, which you can hear on her MySpace page. Or, if you prefer, you could turn up the volume listen to the lo-fi version of “Maggie Mayhem,” her reworking of the Rod Stewart hit “Maggie May.” An outstanding live performer Talley was also the winner of the Carolina Star singing competition last year.

Now, it’s your turn. Tell us your thoughts on these performers by posting into the comment fields below. This is your chance to be the music reviewer, so praise and pan as you see fit.

Also, if you’d like to suggest a band for Listening Party, or have questions about the column, visit this thread on our forums


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One thought on “Listening Party: Derek Astles, Laura Blackley and Nikki Talley

  1. Nataly

    I adore Laura Blackley. Her songs are wonderful. There is so much sense in it. When I listen to her songs I feel that I’m returning to life and whant to live it full. Besides, she is a remarkable person. I found her biography and some of her interviews at the rapidshare . She is increadible and deserves to be the best.

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