"...the right four chords can make me cry."
--Third Eye Blind, "Semi-Charmed Life"

"When the jazzman's signifyin', and the band is windin' low
It's the late night side of morning in the darkness of his soul.
He can fill a room with sadness as he fills his horn with tears.
He can cry like a fallen angel when risin' time is near."
--Carole King, "Jazzman"

Leslie Houk's Musical Recommendations

Last updated February 27, 2015

I've divided my musical recommendations into two parts, a Featured Artists section and a list of Recommended Albums.  To earn a spot on my Featured Artists list, I have to have liked every one of the artists' albums to which I listened.  (In other words, you can pick any of their albums and know I recommend it.)  If they put out one or more albums I didn't care for, only the album or albums I liked are listed on the Recommended Albums list.  (It's subjective, I know, but this is my personal web site, after all...)


Featured Artists

Arden, Jann

Bat For Lashes

Cohn, Marc

Colvin, Shawn       


Fahl, Mary

Gir, Piney

Lentz, Sarah

MaHarry, Wendy

Martin, Charlotte

McKennitt, Loreena       

McLachlan, Sarah


October Project

Sage, Rachael

Vienna Teng

Rather than try to describe these artists, I decided to list some of the lyrics from a song I particularly enjoyed, provide a 60-90 second sample of the song, and give a link to a source for more information on the artist.  Unless otherwise noted, all songs were written by the artists performing them.

All song samples are 128 Kbit/sec high-quality (q=2) MPEG 1.0 Layer 3 files recorded from my own CDs using CDex, and edited to size with Audacity.

As usual, if any of these links expire and someone else catches it before I do, please email me at: lhouk <AT-SIGN> lesliehouk.com


Arden, Jann

  Speaker Icon .mp3: 67 secs, 1,057 KB
Jann Arden Hide your heart under the bed and lock your secret drawer.
Wash the angels from your head, won't need 'em anymore.
Love is a demon and you're the one he's comin' for.
Oh, my Lord.
He's bringing sweet salvation, let temptation take him in.
He's every fear and every hope and every single sin.
He is the universe, the love you've been imagining.
Oh, my Lord; oh, my Lord.
And I am ashes, I am Jesus.  I am precious,
Could I be your girl?  Could I be your girl?
  "Could I Be Your Girl"  Copyright 1994 by PolyGram Songs, Inc. and Girl On The Moon Music.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:  The Official Jann Arden Website

Bat For Lashes

  Speaker Icon .mp3: 73 secs, 1,715 KB
Bat For Lashes And so I finished up my prayer
Rose slowly and I stared
But I was empty as a grave
And ghostless was the air
Lay back to bed and dulled my eyes
And searched those fruitless skies
Again begged the thunderbolt to strike
To mark me or else I would die

Oh the lilies on the hill
Oh the lilies on the hill
Oh the lilies on the hill
Scented the night...
  "Lilies"  Copyright 2012 by Chrysalis Music obo Chrysalis Music Ltd. (ASCAP).

FOR MORE INFORMATION:  The Official Bat For Lashes Website

Cohn, Marc

  Speaker Icon .mp3: 61 secs, 955 KB
Marc Cohn She can hear in the distance the sound of the cars
And she sees the snow that's falling down on the hill.
Now the trees and the houses, they're as white as the stars,
And she doesn't want to cry, but she probably will.
Yeah, she thinks about all of life's mystery
And how slowly the answers unfold.
She's becoming gold.  She's becoming gold.
  "She's Becoming Gold"  Copyright 1990 by Museum Steps Music (ASCAP).

FOR MORE INFORMATION:  Marc Cohn: Move Real Easy

Colvin, Shawn

  Speaker Icon .mp3: 55 secs, 866 KB
Shawn Colvin Oh, my soul.  Sometimes we don't know what to do.
We work so hard being tough on our own.
But now it's me and you.
Let's give it up, sad bones, 'cause we all fall on hard times.
But you don't have to stand up all alone.
Just put your hand in mine.
Climb on a back that's strong.
Hey, hey, you can get what you want.
Climb on a back that's strong.
  "Climb On (A Back That's Strong)"  Music and Lyrics by S. Colvin and J. Levanthal.  Copyright 1992 by AGF Music Ltd. / Scred Songs Ltd. / Lev-A-Tunes (ASCAP).

FOR MORE INFORMATION:  The Shawn Colvin Website


  Speaker Icon .mp3: 53 secs, 843 KB
Enya As I walk the room, there before me a shadow
From another world, where no other can follow.
Carry me to my own, to where I can cross over...
Close to home, I can not say,
Close to home, feeling so far away.
  "Evening Falls..."  Lyrics by Roma Ryan.  Copyright 1988 by SBK Songs Ltd. (adm. by SBK Blackwood) BMI.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:  The Official Enya Website

Fahl, Mary

  Speaker Icon .mp3: 91 secs, 1,430 KB
Mary Fahl Paolo, where have you gone?
Have the spirits found you?  You were one of their own.
Paolo, you could see him.
The man in the tall hat, brown, with a wide brim,
Always standing there, watching by the door.
I think you always knew what he was waiting for.

Paolo, understanding my heart was true,
With the lenses of contact you could see through.
You could tell me what I should do.
Paolo, I've seen evil, it's worn me down.
And I would have made games if you'd been around.
In the darkness where are you now?

  "Paolo"  Music and lyrics by Mary Fahl and Bob Riley.  Copyright 2000 by Laguz Publishing (BMI) / Green Glass Music (ASCAP).

FOR MORE INFORMATION:  The Official Mary Fahl Website

Gir, Piney

  Speaker Icon .mp3: 71 secs, 1,123 KB
Piney Gir K-i-s-s-i-n-g.  That's what people do in trees.
K-i-s-s-i-n-g.  That's what people do in trees.
Tweedledee, tweedledee.
As I hear, the story goes, first comes love and then who knows.
First comes love, it's pretty clear, then you wonder where it goes from here.
My dear, My dear.
  "K-I-S-S-I-N-G"  Copyright 2004 by Greyday Productions.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:  The Official Piney Gir Website

Lentz, Sarah

  Speaker Icon .mp3: 52 secs, 826 KB
Sarah Lentz How many years can go by before
Your dreams are too old to try?
And how many issues between man and wife
Before it is time for good-bye?
In all of my travels and all of my wanderings
I've never set foot outside.
Because there's nothing to lose.
Nothing to lose.
  "Nothing To Lose"  Copyright 1999 by sarahjoylentz Music (ASCAP).

FOR MORE INFORMATION:  The Official Sarah Lentz Website

MaHarry, Wendy

  Speaker Icon .mp3: 57 secs, 903 KB
Wendy Maharry It's a short drive to the mountain;
Do you think you might want to go?
I'm not much on conversation.
Is anyone you know?
See, I can not wait forever
Because I do not have that long.
You can trust me like the weather.
The radio plays old songs I recognize;
I sing, but I get the words all wrong.
  "Fountain Of Youth"  Copyright 1991 by Wendy MaHarry Music / Art Of The Cell, administered by Almo Music Corp. (ASCAP).

FOR MORE INFORMATION:  The Official Wendy MaHarry Website

Martin, Charlotte

  Speaker Icon .mp3: 71 secs, 1,115 KB
Charlotte Martin And it took me further than I wanted to go,
Underneath his shoe.
And it leaves me hungry for a touch I can't feel,
A touch he won't do.
And I thought the circle, it had an end,
I'm old enough to know.
My denial is how we began and how we will end
And now that I know

Sweet chariot
Come, come, take me away from my fear.
Sweet chariot
Come, I have to get out of here.

  "Sweet Chariot"  Copyright 2004 by Word Tree Music (BMI) / Dreamworks Publishing.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:  The Official Charlotte Martin Website

McKennitt, Loreena

  Speaker Icon .mp3: 76 secs, 1,192 KB
Loreena McKennitt A bow-shot from her bower eaves, he rode between the barley sheaves.
The sun came dazzling through the leaves, and flamed upon the brazen greaves
Of bold Sir Lancelot.
A red-cross knight for ever kneeled to a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field beside remote Shallot.
His broad clear brow in sunlight glowed; on burnished hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flowed his coal-black curls as on he rode,
As he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river, he flashed into the crystal mirror.
"Tirra lirra," by the river sang Sir Lancelot.
  "The Lady Of Shalott"  Lyrics by Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809 - 1892).  Copyright 1992 by Loreena McKennitt / SOCAN.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:  The Official Loreena McKennitt / Quinlan Road Website

McLachlan, Sarah

  Speaker Icon .mp3: 72 secs, 1,137 KB
Sarah McLachlan I love the time and, in between, the calm inside me.
In the space where I can breathe, I believe there is a
Distance I have wandered to touch upon the years of
Reaching out and reaching in; holding out...holding in.
I believe this is heaven to no one else but me,
And I'll defend it long as I can be
Left here to linger in silence;
If I choose to, would you try to understand?
  "Elsewhere"  Copyright 1993 by Nettoverboard Publishing.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:  The Official Sarah McLachlan Website


  Speaker Icon .mp3: 67 secs, 1,050 KB
Medea Mama mama, he's been trying to fly away;
He's got a ticket to the moon.
I know I'll find him floating any day,
He just can't leave this world too soon.
And I feel like a pawn who's been taken off the table
With no chance to reach the higher ground.
Do I lay down with the enemy?
Do I set myself on fire, just to prove that I won't burn?
If I lay down, what becomes of me?
Will I wake up in the morning with just the lessons that I've learned?
  "Lay Down With The Enemy"  Copyright 1998 by Robinson & Medea.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:  The Official Medea Website

October Project

  Speaker Icon .mp3: 66 secs, 1,037 KB
October Project Cover the mirror.  Hide in your dreams.
Forget what they told you.  Forget what it means.
A picture worth a thousand lies, the memory and the mirror.
Nothing but what came before, nothing but a closing door.
A picture worth a thousand lies, a thousand words, a thousand eyes...
Bury my lovely.  Hide in your room.
Bury my lovely.  Forget me soon.
Forget me.  Forget me now.  Forget me now.
  "Bury My Lovely"  Music and lyrics by Julie Flanders and Emil Alder.  Copyright 1993 by Famous Music Corporation (ASCAP) / October Project Music.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:  The New Official October Project Website

Sage, Rachael

  Speaker Icon .mp3: 88 secs, 1,391 KB
Rachael Sage Where did my body go, the night that my soul gave in,
Fell from that high window into burning skies?
Where did my body go, the night that my soul gave in,
Fell from the high window into God's eyes?

Answer me that question, you'll get the biggest kiss
You have been waiting for for your whole life.
Answer me that question, you'll get the biggest smile
You have been waiting for since you were a child.

  "Child"  Copyright 2003 by MPress Records.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:  The Official Rachael Sage Website

Vienna Teng

  Speaker Icon .mp3: 57 secs, 1,780 KB
Vienna Teng It's all been bought.  Well, at least that was my line.
No use in spending all that emotion when there's someone else to blame.

But you had to come along, didn't you?
Rev up the crowd, rewrite the rule book.
Where do I go when every no turns into maybe?

So what do I do with this, this sudden burst of sunlight?
And me with my umbrella cross-indexing every weatherman's report.
I was ready for the downslide, but not for spring to well up.
This feeling calls for everything I can't afford
To know is possible now.

  "Stray Italian Greyhound"  Copyright 2009 by Zoe Records.  Photo by Anthony Pepitone.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:  The Official Vienna Teng Website

Recommended Albums

Alan Parsons Project:  The Turn Of A Friendly Card
Amos, Tori:  (1) Little Earthquakes;  (2) Scarlet's Walk
Andreone, Leah:  Veiled
Anggun:  Anggun
Archer, Tasmin:  Great Expectations
Bush, Kate:  (1) Hounds of Love;  (2) The Sensual World
Carpenter, Mary Chapin:  (1) State Of The Heart;  (2) Come On Come On;  (3) Stones In The Road
Cash, Rosanne:  The Wheel
Chess (original score)
Ciani, Suzanne:  Hotel Luna
Clannad:  (1) Macalla;  (2) Sirius
Cole, Paula:  harbinger
Counting Crows:  August And Everything After
DeBurgh, Chris:  Man On The Line
Etheridge, Melissa:  (1) Melissa Etheridge;  (2) Never Enough
Garfunkel, Art:  (1) Breakaway; (2) Watermark; (3) Fate For Breakfast; (4) Scissors Cut
Gin Blossoms:  New Miserable Experience
Goo Goo Dolls:  Dizzy Up The Girl
Greatest Hits of 1720
Hornsby, Bruce, and The Range:  The Way It Is
Indigo Girls:  Indigo Girls
Larkin, Patty:  Tango
Mackenzie, Talitha:  Solas
Mann, Aimee:  Whatever
Marshall, Amanda:  Amanda Marshall
Milla:  The Divine Comedy
O'Connor, Sinead:  The Lion And The Cobra
Pink Floyd:  (1) Dark Side Of The Moon;  (2) Wish You Were Here;  (3) The Wall
Renaissance:  A Song For All Seasons
Rhodes, Happy:  Warpaint
Rothberg, Patti:  Between The One And The Nine
Roxette:  Look Sharp
Rush:  2112
Steely Dan:  A Decade of Steely Dan
Stewart, Al:  (1) Time Passages;  (2) The Year Of The Cat
Supertramp:  Breakfast In America
Toad The Wet Sprocket:  Fear
Vega, Suzanne:  Solitude Standing
War Of The Worlds, Jeff Wayne's Musical Version

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