Wesley Berg created Glacier Face during his residency at Iceland's Baer Art Center, an art colony deep in the middle of beautiful nowhere, where horses graze in bright green fields, snow-capped mountains reflect off glassy waters and the summer sun never sets. Berg recorded I Believe You's demos while falling in love with those surroundings, and it shows: The melody and vocals in "Fahrenheit" are as pleasant as northern Iceland's landscape.
A surfer and songwriter, Ben Howard's two loves intertwined when the English surfing world became the first audience for his quiet, meditative music. At the encouragement of friends, Howard released two EPs and was soon invited to tour with Xavier Rudd. Howard is a talented artist in the vein of labelmate and influence Nick Drake, with similarly dark and soulful lyrics.
Joshua Bell, the violin prodigy who grew into what some call a classical-music rock star, has taken the helm of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. Bell is the orchestra's first music director since Sir Neville Marriner, who created the group.
On his first tour with the group as both music director and conductor, Bell plays the violin while conducting the orchestra simultaneously, gesturing with his bow. And he leads from the concert master's chair, rather than the podium, which seems unusual to some audiences.