Fire, pandemic, social and political torment…hard times indeed. What gets us through?  A connection to other people, of course, the knowledge that we’re not alone.  What makes the connection palpable?  Music, among other things.  Heart and art.

Little Village Foundation is a unique, non-profit record company dedicated to shining a light on artists who might not otherwise be visible.  Which makes it and the artists it gathers up just about perfect for uniting us through art—LVF is exactly about connection through music.

In this weirdest of times, LVF will share 20 x 20 at the Thanksgiving season (11/19)—twenty songs by twenty singer/songwriters, coming from an extraordinary variety of musical viewpoints.  20 x 20 is a big, rich stack of creativity, and will ease the stress of 2020, we promise.

1.    Nic Clark  “Things to Learn” (Clark)

Nic Clark is a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, a singer who plays the harmonica and finger-style guitar. Recently, Nic has placed his focus on creating music geared towards kids and their families. His only goal currently is to make children’s music that treats kids like humans.

2.    Margaret Belton  “Lullaby of New Orleans” (Belton/Randle)

Margaret is an exceptional talent with a genuine warmth that makes audiences feel they’re part of the family. She is a singer, songwriter, actor and an artist. She has starred in many independent films and theater productions, including her critically acclaimed portrayal of Patsy Cline in Always… Patsy Cline.

3.    Sean Wheeler “Halfway to Heaven” (Wheeler/Williams)

Desert Legend Sean Wheeler is an American musician and singer-songwriter whose music is generally characterized by emotional intensity, a wide variety of influences, and theatrical, charismatic live performances. He is best known as the front man of the Salton Sea, California, punk band, Throw Rag.

4.    Marina Crouse   “El Cerrito Plaza Estacion “29” (Crouse/Pugh)

Marina Crouse is a Bay Area singer-songwriter whose work reflects a sincere and personal exploration of the music that has informed and continues to influence her; it is an unexpected intersection of soul, blues, and R&B, with a heavy nod to her Chicana heritage. She was raised in a Latinx home in East Los Angeles that didn’t speak Spanish in the house and learned the language in college.  She went on to get a Masters at U.C. Berkeley studying Latinx students and their college Spanish studies…not so easy as you (and they) might think—but very useful for her career as a college professor teaching Spanish in college along with her work as a musician.

5.    Ira Marlowe  “If We Were In Love” (Marlowe)

Ira’s songs have been described as “four-minute movies,” highly visual compositions that combine lyrical wit and emotional impact. He has taught songwriting at UC Berkeley and played on stages ranging from Howard Johnson’s to the Fillmore. He opened The Monkey House performance space in Berkeley in 2012.

6.    Be Steadwell  “Worthy” (Steadwell)

Be is a musician, filmmaker, and storyteller from Washington,  DC. She utilizes looping, vocal layering and beat boxing to compose her songs on stage. Be’s music features earnest lyricism and affirming LGBTQ content. Be’s goal is to make other black girls, queers, introverts and generally marginalized weirdos feel seen and loved.

7.    John Bigham  “I Love You” (Bigham)

Award winning singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer John Arthur Bigham is a son of the blues. After eight years in the ska/punk rock band Fishbone, and a stop with Miles Davis as a writer and percussionist, Bigham emerged as The Soul of John Black to musically capture his love for blues, funk, and soul.

8.    Aireene Espiritu  “Genuine” (Espiritu)

Aireene Espiritu is a singer/songwriter with over 25 years of experience performing as a solo artist as well as with her band, Aireene & The Itch, covering various genres from folk, blues, gospel, and  rhythm and blues to world music – a mix of stompin’, swayin’, timeless Americana.

9.    Rachel Garlin  “Home” (Garlin)

Rachel is a modern-day troubadour whose “faceted gems of lyrical storytelling create startling, rich narratives.”  She’s traveled the miles as a touring artist and always came home to serve as the “neighborhood entertainer, comedian…and soother all in one.” Her latest release is entitledMondegreenss.

10.  Alabama Mike“Money Tree”

A stint in the US Navy brought Alabama Mike to Oakland, CA, where he now resides. He has won various awards and has been nominated by The Blues Foundation on several occasions. He has released several solo projects. his most recent releases are Upset The Status Quo and Hip You To My Blues.

11. Kofy Brown with Margaret Belton & Vicki Randle.  “Love, Love Love”  (Brown)

Kofy has been a pioneering force in the Bay Area’s hip-hop soul/ rock scene.  Her latest Kofy Brown Band 10” vinyl release, Child of Providence, is a delicious and eclectic assortment of songs. She is also the bassist/singer for Sistas in the Pit and drummer/singer for Skip the Needle.

12. Genesis Fermin  “Southern California” (Fermin)

Multi-instrumentalist and self-proclaimed musical polyamorist, Genesis is all about well-crafted songs that reveal their ambitions, doubts and regrets. Their breadth of work is vast, poignant and perceptive. Genesis’ upcoming debut album is slated to be released on Sharpsong Music. Come along on the journey—easily enjoyed, not easily forgotten.

13. Jim Bruno with Mark Sojacich.  “Too Many Times” (Bruno)

Jim is a San Francisco Bay Area-based published performing songwriter. Songs he’s written or co-written have been recorded and released by Shawn Colvin, Chuck Prophet, Mary Lou Lord and others. He has performed extensively at folk festivals internationally and worked with the Shawn Colvin Band for many years.

14. Vicki Randle  “Ruth 1:16” (Randle)

A multi-faceted guitarist, drummer and bass player, Vicki is best known for her 18 years as lead singer and percussionist with The Tonight Show Band.  She has toured with major artists such as Kenny Loggins, Lionel Richie, George Benson, Wayne Shorter and Dr. John. Her rock and soul band Skip The Needle has released a CD with LVF.

15. Wendy Beckerman with Karen Almquist.  “All the Love in the World” (Beckerman)

Wendy Beckerman’s devotion to songwriting began in the eighties  in Greenwich Village, NYC. Her voice is pure and direct and her songs leave an imprint of unpredictable melody and evocative imagery. Since her fifth release, Angel in My Ear, she has been integrating her passions of music and Mindfulness through Your Mindful Voice, with songwriter and vocal coach Louise Taylor.

16. Joe Rut  “Gaslight Blues” (Rut)

Joe Rut’s quirky sense of humor underpins a heartfelt, lyrical and subtly hallucinatory landscape. His funny songs can break your heart, his sad songs can make you laugh, and half of them are going to annoy somebody or another. Deeply American music, although nobody seems to be guarding the border too closely…

 17. Maurice Tani with Mike Anderson.  “Three Flights to L.A.”  (Tani)

With his wry/rye-to-romantic songwriting, agile guitar style and expressive singing, Tani’s flavor of Americana is a broad spectrum tincture of influences to cure the wide range of ills his fertile imagination conjures. While rooted (at times distantly) in country, he writes from an urban-western perspective.

18. Roger McNamee  “Dr. Evil” (McNamee)

Roger McNamee divides his musical time between his bands Moonalice and the Doobie Decibel System, writing songs, playing guitar and bass, and singing a bit.

19. David Jackson  “Pride of Man” (Jackson/Axton)

Starting in 1963 as house bassist at the Troubadour in Hollywood, David went on to the Andy Williams show for three seasons of skits with Judy Garland, Milton Berle, Roy Rogers, and Roger Miller et al. He’s worked with Josh White, Jackson Browne, Bo Diddley, Sonny and Cher, and Dwight Yoakum, and wrote two number one songs with Hoyt Axton.

20. Lisa Leuschner Andersen  “Family.”  (Leuschner)

Lisa first sang professionally at the age of eight with a big band where her dad, Bill, played piano. She was a finalist on American Idol, appeared on Showtime At The Apollo and has been a working musician ever since. Lisa lives at Greaseland USA™ with her husband, Kid, and her family lives next door. Lisa and Kid are working on her next solo album.