Ferraby Lionheart

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ALBUM: "Catch the Brass Ring"

Backstory: Raised in Nashville and now living in Los Angeles, the quixotically named Ferraby Lionheart (his real name? his label isn't telling) likes to cite Chet Baker and Shel Silverstein as influences, although fans of LA's singer-songwriter scene will hear more echoes of Elliott Smith and Jon Brion. Last year, Lionheart put out a self-produced, self-titled EP that caught the attention of Canadian indie Nettwerk; now comes this more fully orchestrated full-length debut.

Why you should care: On beautifully forlorn tracks like "The Car Maker" and "Call Me the Sea," Lionheart shows the same gift for delicate melodies and fine-tuned chamber pop as Brion. He also has an endearing flair for leftfield lyrics: "I miss you like a honey jug misses the bear," he croons on "Under the Texas Sky."

Verdict: Too often, Lionheart's influences overshadow his own music; besides Brion and Smith, he sometimes bears more than a passing resemblance to Bright Eyes ("Before We're Dead") and Rufus Wainwright ("Small Planet"). But as influences go, Lionheart's are pretty good, and there are enough flashes of individual brilliance on standout tracks like "The Car Maker" and "Put Me in Your Play" to make him an artist worth watching.

X-Factor: In concert, Lionheart's been known to break out oddball covers like "Pure Imagination" from "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" and a folksy version of Prince's "I Would Die 4 U."

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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