Five Acoustic Singer Songwriters to Relax and Inspire
Acoustic singer songwriters are the people who show up at the party and win the hearts of everyone there. They can seemingly find a way to express deep emotion with a clever hook and a few well-placed poetic lines. Or so that’s how I imagine their lives are. In fact, I’m sure that they struggle to write songs as a way of coping with reality as so many of us do; they’re just good at it. Do enjoy these five singer songwriters and their relaxing and inspiring music.
Tim McNary – Above the Trees
-Tim McNary’s biography is almost unbelievable. He’s lived through some real struggles and, for the rest of us, there’s a tangible influence in his music. You will not find a songwriter who better shares his pain with his listeners. From the radical hope of “The Other Man” to the deeply emotional and harmonic “Above the Trees,” this is an album that stuns and inspires. McNary even avoids the pitfall of each song sounding the same, providing intricate fingerpicking and unique vocal punch in each track.
Simon Linsteadt – Self Titled
-The first time I heard Simon Linsteadt, I thought I accidentally clicked play on Kenneth Pattengale (half of the Milk Carton Kids) solo work. That’s pretty high praise in the folk, acoustic, and Americana world. Linsteadt’s writing, vocals, and performance are all outstanding. His style is at times experimental, but always deeply and importantly melodic. What I mean is that you won’t hear any old time-honored conventional constructs here. Rather, he’s pushing the envelop and encouraging listeners to feel something that sounds like a fusion of classical, jazz, and some sort of new folk. It’s nothing short of a sonic experience that I hope others will fall in love with as well.
Exit from the Auditorium – Tumbleweedin’
-With a sound all their own and a lofi recording quality, Exit from the Auditorium are definitely not for everyone. But if you like a layered, complicated lyrical and melodic style, this is an album that will please you to overflowing. “If the World Ended Tomorrow” is an endearing Woody Guthrie-esque piece. Not surprisingly the following “On the Townes Tonight” reveals an homage to Townes Van Zandt. It’s equal parts serious folk music and sardonic social commentary. This album is full of gems; it’s a level of musical genius not found every day.
Mike Benecke – Call the Waves
-Mike Benecke’s vocals are subtle and soothing. This is absolutely a rainy-day album. There are sonic textures that will make your hair stand on end. I find myself leaning forward as I listen to this album, feeling a sort of fascination that Jeff Pianki always did for me. Benecke’s fingerpicking guitar style is solid and when it’s paired with his vocals, you’ll find an intensely satisfying acoustic songwriter style. The lyrics are snippets of moments rather than full thoughts, but paired with the musical style feel like impressionist paintings more than realism, but it works beautifully. The opener “July Fires” or the title track “Call the Waves” are both stunners.
Marti West – Istanbul EP
-If you like soothing indie pop music, Marti West is an outstanding selection. Now it might not be pure singer songwriter, but the style is so stripped down and enjoyable that it fits on this list. There are songs for slow dancing and reminiscing, but also songs for serious thoughtful reflection. It all comes together for a soothing, aesthetic of comfortable art. Give it a spin, especially the title track “Istanbul.”