With endless three-part harmonies at its disposal, Pearl and the Beard is a folksy pop trio with a flair for lovely acoustic Americana. Members Jocelyn MacKenzie, Emily Hope Price and Jeremy Styles each convey a unique vocal style, influence and vision, with the help of cello, glockenspiel, non-traditional drums, accordion and guitar.
Pearl and the Beard's 2011 album Killing the Darlings has been charming fans and critics since last spring. Given the trio's tremendous chemistry and charm, it looks primed to build on that buzz in 2012.
Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. caught a lot of people off guard when he opened his mouth to sing at his televised audition for America's Got Talent. The dreadlocked former car-washer is 6'4" and in his late 30s, but when he belted the first notes of the pop standard "I've Got You Under My Skin" like a certain blue-eyed crooner, audiences and judges alike delightedly voiced their surprise.
Murphy's own social circle was harder to win over. He tells NPR's Guy Raz that at first, his family members laughed at the thought of him singing Sinatra.
The Roots might be best known today as the house band on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. But the group has been making boundary-pushing hip-hop for more than two decades, and has just released its latest album, undun.