Eight Folk Artists You Can’t Believe You Haven’t Heard (Yet)
Apologies for the clickbait-y title, but seriously these are some amazing artists and you really need to know about them. It’s really our hope here at EarToTheGround Music that you decide to run right out and buy these albums. Tell them we sent you! We want to help spread this music to genuine fans who will truly support the artists. If you don’t have the cash to pull the trigger on them right now, at very least share them on your socials and help the band get some new fans. When they come through your town on tour, make sure to take your gang out to listen and meet these talented artists.
Post Script – If Not For You
-In the world of trios, Post Script have to be near the top. With two sibling partners joined by a dear friend, all are equally gifted in their musical talent, Post Script are enjoyable on every track. Although some of the tracks are in French (which I don’t speak), the whole album is easy to listen to. My favorite is probably “Dear Marie,” but it’s a bit like picking your favorite M&M – they are all so good. Steph Blais’s lead vocals remind me a little bit of Leigh Nash from Sixpence None the Richer.
Marshall McLean Band – The Badlands
-This one is actually a single, but it’s just so good it needs to be on this list. The band’s sound is just so genuine and powerful. The lead vocal penetrates through the rest of the sound. The song itself feels like an adventure. The combination of the “ooh” vocal backing and the steel guitar just make it feel like going somewhere and the comfort of home all at once. It’s a good song.
Apache Trails – Self Titled
-We might more accurately call Apache Trails alt country rather than folk. But you know what I really wanted them on this list and they have elements of folk in them, so here they are! IF you like gritty lead vocals, you simply HAVE to give these fellas a spin. There’s a bit of blues, a bit of country, and a whole lot of shit-kickin’ attitude. At the beginning of “Hope at the Well” you hear a bit of a buzz coming from the amp; that’s pretty much the best description of this album ever. They get the amps kickin’ and the bass will make your hair stand on end. This is an exciting album for people who like high-energy Americana/folk in the vein of Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats.
Faint Peter – Redoubt
-Not every guy with a guitar is created equal. What makes Faint Peter unique is that he’s got a little Bon Iver mixed with someone a little more pop, a little more top 40, someone a bit like maybe Dave Matthews. But that said, Faint Peter still has a musical complexity to his work that is intricate. His music is complex like origami; it’s just paper (or a guy and his guitar), but it’s also so much more than that. There’s not really a “one” song to listen to on this album because they are all good for different reasons, but I really like the crawling fingerpicking on “Dear,” so that would be my pick.
Valley Shine – LOCA EP
-Valley Shine are one of the poppiest folk pop acts I’ve ever heard. That’s like the girl at the ice cream store telling you that something is the sweetest ice cream she’s ever had. Actually it’s almost not a simile; this sound is so sweet. “Sugar Dream” is sweet not just in its imagery, but it even sounds like candy. “I loved everything about you from the start…” Handclaps and gang vocals… even the cheer in the piano sounds sweet. Check out their EP LOCA.
Boroughs – Keep It Up EP
-The way Boroughs sounds is hard to explain without sounding like a total cliche, but it’s because they’re just so good and so smooth that it’s hard to explain. They sound like how you expect country music to sound like. There’s great lead vocal harmonies, some killer steel guitar, and an overall solid alt rock sound. In fact, they’re probably just “modern country,” without any real “alt” to them. They are independent country music done right. If you only have time, I suggest, “Give It Time” because it reminds me of something Noah Gundersen or Jeremiah Daly might have written.
Sonder Saloon – Mackinaw EP
-Sonder Saloon is an interesting band, creating intriguing soundscapes with voice and strings. They are not a typical folk band playing the same traditional chord progressions. In fact, I’d go as far as calling them progressive folk music. That said, they do it with such grace and class that I keep coming back for more. If you only have time for one, check out “Who You Are,” a fascinating layered song that almost feels like it could have come from ancient days. It does all of this in a way that feels more like The Low Anthem than anything actually ancient. It’s good.
Slow Dakota – The Ascension of Slow Dakota (coming soon)
-This assessment is based on the single “I am held together,” but I really think that this band needs to be on this list. If you’re used to folk music being one guy with an acoustic guitar and some songs about his ex, then you need to open your ears. This particular track is complex, layered, musically and lyrically, in ways that you just can’t be ready for when you click on “folk” music. It’s got complicated rhythms and soundscapes that are definitely worth a spin and eventually fandom of this rising band.