By guest blogger Adam Kukic. We discover music in many different ways: through reviews in popular magazines, through buzz on the Internet, from our favorite radio station, from late night TV shows, courtesy of mixes that our friends make for us. However, my introduction to one particular artist involves the following email from February 17th, 2009:
My name’s Becca (Full disclosure: I’m a touring indie folk singer/songwriter from Atlanta). I was driving through Pittsburgh last week, flipping through the low end of the dial looking for NPR and stumbled upon WYEP. Your show was playing and it was WONDERFUL. You played song after song of music that I really love, so much so that I couldn’t believe it was actually the radio. I listened until the signal was 90% static, and then I considered turning the car around.
Hope you are having a wonderful day! Thanks so much for doing what you do!!
Thanks for what I do?! I was incredibly humbled by this email. All I do is play music from talented artists. I do not create the music…I do not even know how to create music! But here was an email from a real artist. I had to learn more…who was Rebecca Loebe? After following in love with her songs on her MySpace page, I was fortunate enough to see her perform live just a couple of weeks later. If you go to Rebecca’s official website, under the Press Quotes tab, you’ll see the following comment I posted, which was my impression of her after seeing her perform live at Howler’s on February 27th, 2009, in Pittsburgh:
“The wit of Dar, the bite of Ani, and the beauty of Norah – it was a treat seeing you perform last night!”
– ADAM KUKIC (WYEP Pittsburgh)
Things to know about Rebecca: she is a non-stop touring machine, she has an amazing voice, she’s great at reinterpreting songs (as with Nirvana’s “Come As You Are,” Smokey Robinson’s “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me” and Kanye West’s “Stronger”), she’s an amazing storyteller, and she’s one of the nicest people that you’ll ever meet.
It was the combination of Becca’s voice and her determination that landed her on the first season of The Voice (known as the singer who was living out of her 1992 Toyota Camry). Both Adam Levine and Christina Aguilera “turned around” for Becca’s phenomenal reinterpretation of Nirvana’s “Come As You Are.” She’s still riding the fame brought to her courtesy of participating in the inaugural season of The Voice — recently getting to tour in Japan and The Netherlands due to her appearance. Her recorded version of “Come As You Are” was one of the best-selling songs from the first season (and included on the album, “The Voice: Season 1 Highlights”- even though she was eliminated in just the second round).
But The Voice was not the beginning nor the end of Becca’s story. Hailing from Atlanta, Becca went to school in Boston at Berklee College of Music — whose grads include Paula Cole, Melissa Etheridge, Esperanza Spalding, Susan Tedeschi, Diana Krall, Gillian Welch, Aimee Mann, Natalie Maines, and Elizabeth Ziman. Berklee was a good fit for Becca, and while there she was able to work at various recording studios which afforded her the ability to produce her initial releases. To date, the early demos for what would become her album “Mystery Prize” most effectively capture the power of her live performances.
Rebecca has issued five official releases – 3 LPs and 2 EPs. Additionally, she broadcasts live monthly performances. In keeping with the strength of her live performances, Becca will be releasing a live album this summer on Goose Creek Records and performing at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, August 15- 17.
Since 2009, I’ve been fortunate enough to see her live three times — and have taken her out to dinner two of those three times, including a great meal at Pittsburgh’s India Garden restaurant with fellow folkie Brad Yoder. We’ve exchanged text messages when Berklee alum make it through town (such as members of Elizabeth & The Catapult and the band Lucius), and I’ve texted congratulatory messages to her when I saw her on The Voice.
To introduce yourself to Rebecca Loebe, I encourage you to do the following:
1) See her live. She tours constantly. She’ll eventually make it to your town. She’ll even do a house concert for you. Seriously, SEE. HER. LIVE.
2) If you want an introduction, I’d suggest trying to track down the demos for “Mystery Prize.” If you can’t, I encourage you to purchase “Mystery Prize.” I feel it is her most fully realized album to date.
3) Watch her video for “The Bees.” First off, it’s adorable. She’s adorable, the children are adorable, the storyline is adorable (and let’s be honest, Zombies are all the rage). Secondly, it’s a great example of her wit and range. Good song, fun video…what’s not to love?
4) As a self-proclaimed Rebecca Loebe aficionado, here are my top 20 Rebecca Loebe songs:
1. “Her In That Dress” – from “Mystery Prize”
2. “Meridian” – from “Mystery Prize”
3. “Married Man” – from “Mystery Prize”
4. “Redneck Karaoke Bar” – from “Mystery Prize”
5. “Marguerita – from “Mystery Prize”
6. “Mystery Prize” – from “Mystery Prize”
7. “The Bees” – from “Bees & Zombies”
8. “Call Me Baby” – from “The Brooklyn Series”
9. “High And Lonesome” – from “Circus Heart”
10. “Land And Sea” – from “Mystery Prize”
11. “Trenches Dear” – from “Mystery Prize”
12. “Circus Heart” – – from “Circus Heart”
13. “Darlin’” – from “Circus Heart”
14. “Swallowed By The Sea” – from “Circus Heart”
15. “Lie” (single from Rebecca Loebe & The New Ordeals)
Top Cover Songs:
1. “Stronger” – can be found as a single
2. “River” – YouTube and performed live
3.. “Come As You Are” – from “The Voice, Season 1 Highlights”
4. “Bad Reputation” – from “Circus Heart”
5. “You’ve Really Got a Hold On Me” – from “The Brooklyn Series”
Here’s Rebecca’s cool video for “The Bees,” zombies and all!
Check out Rebecca’s totally original and ethereal version of Nirvana’s “Come as You Are:”
For more on Rebecca, visit her website.
© Adam Kukic, May 1, 2014
Host & Producer, The Coffeehouse on WYEP 91.3fm
Sundays, 8 to 11 am EST
Streaming worldwide at www.wyep.org