Four Unique Singer Songwriters to Mix Up Your Midsummer
Late July is that time of the year where the summer starts getting tedious. It’s a time when parents are antsy for the new school year to start and kids are dreading the same. To mix up the monotony, we’d like to provide four unique singer songwriters that push the envelope in a variety of ways. These four will help your hipster cred because most of your friends won’t know about them. Put them on a playlist and share them with your friends, then show off how you found them. 🙂
Patrick Gardiner – Carcassone EP
-Gardiner’s sounds vary from stripped down acoustic to big, angry guitars. His songwriting is cathartic and endearing at times, other times a bit jarring and unsettling. He shows great versatility on this EP. The product of Ireland has a great accent that punctuates his folk-influenced songwriting. Tracks like “Surgery” are the best in my opinion – lyrical complexity and layers of melody and accompaniment. It’s good stuff.
Madison Pepper – Ephemeral
-Pepper’s vocals are really soothing. She draws listeners in with a subtle, understated delivery. While her voice isn’t a broadway style, that’s exactly what I like about her. She’s able to deliver her heartfelt lines with conviction. The title track “Ephemeral” has a complicated story of a former lover (or maybe an almost lover?) layered over an acoustic singer songwriter style song. The style puts me in mind of something Natalie Imbruglia might have written a few years back. “Apocalypse” is a bit more up beat and draws listeners in with a different tact, but “Petty Things” is the most complex and pointed piece of writing on the album. Check out this line, “My oh my, I think that it’s time that you grow up and start to realize that these petty things are hurting more than me.” Mature insights on an album that does all the simple things right. Pepper is a songwriter to keep your ears on.
Bet Smith – Loose Ends EP
-Smith’s bringing some country flair to her music. Pick out your favorite boots before you play this album. There’s a little swing and swagger to this country songstress. The title track “Loose Ends” lives in a minor key and it really can be a bit unsettling. I think that’s intentional. Smith’s vocal quality is weathered and familiar, putting listeners in mind of someone like Joan Baez. “Lone Wolf” begins with a sweet, expressive vocal that will give listeners chills. This is an underestimated but exceptional little album. Don’t miss it.
Karen Reed – True North
-Reed is not the typical EarToTheGround type of artist. Her sound is both minimalist and highly produced. That is to say there aren’t a lot of instruments happening, but there are some tricks done musically with the vocals. But her album True North is one that will garner the attention of a lot of our readers. She’s a sophisticated writer with a real sense of melody. A track like “Stuck on You” is the perfect example of what Reed is going for with this album. Simple strings (probably a uke) provides the background for a nice upbeat romantic song. It’s the kind of the thing tailor made for a tv commercial or something similar. This is Reed’s versatility; she can do upbeat or she can do “Starry, Starry Night,” a beautifully articulated acoustic piece that eases me to peace like few tracks I’ve heard in many years. Again her sense of melody is superb and it shows on several of the tracks on this admirably-assembled album.