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Breaking: Sharon Little

September 2, 2008 3:04 PM ET

Who: Philadelphia singer-songwriter Sharon Little, who made the leap from playing coffeehouses and weddings to opening for Robert Plant & Alison Krauss in only nine months.

Sounds Like: On her major label debut album Perfect Time for a Breakdown, Little showcases her deep, husky vocals over country-tinged songs that echo Sheryl Crow and Jewel, as evidenced on the slow-burning "Follow That Sound," which doubles as the theme song for A&E's new show The Cleaner.

Vital Stats:

• It was less than a year ago that Little was waitressing to pay the bills, playing open-mike nights and singing blues and jazz standards at weddings. "People were really noticing me," Little said. "So I figured I would slip my original music into the wedding sets that I did to sneak people into listening to it."

• Little teamed up with Grammy-winning songwriter Scot Sax and started playing industry showcases, resulting in a gig at L.A.'s Hotel Café and, ultimately, a contract with CBS Records. She's been on the road ever since, but not in the air. "I don't like to fly, so we take trains from coast to coast," Little says. "People think we're crazy."

• Saying Little was overwhelmed the first time she met Robert Plant would be an understatement. "The first time I met Robert, he poured me a glass of wine, and I started crying," Little remembers. "I was like 'I'm sorry! I'm trying not to cry! It's just coming out!'"

Hear It Now: Perfect Time for a Breakdown is in stores now. She's also opening for the likes of Chris Isaak, Jonny Lang and Al Green this fall before heading out on her own tour later this year. In the meantime, check out the video above for Little's live acoustic rendition of "Follow That Sound."

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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