Jonathan Rice Trouble Is Real (2005)
'Take a pinch of M.Ward, wrap him up in A.Bird, add a bit of Harcourt'...well, that's how I hear Jonathan Rice, who is entirely new to me but released an album last year. He's a Scottish-American who makes folky rock music with overtones of the grandiose. He is mates with Conor Oberst but please don't let that put you off! Rice is also a close associate of Rilo Kiley and even closer to RK's singer, Jenny Lewis (lucky bugger!). Well worth hearing even if he did once have a shitty hairstyle.
Chip Taylor & Carrie Rodriguez Red Dog Tracks (2005)
Texan duo Taylor & Rodriguez make music that is at once earthy and heavenly. Taylor has a gruff vocal style but a singular way with country influenced material whilst Rodriguez plays the fiddle and sings in a perfect nasal twang. She's like Alison Krauss but with more guts. The songs are excellently arranged and moving in content and performance. If you like 'South By Southwest', Austin-style country-folk, this is for you.