Photo credit: Sarah Zabic
Four Exceptional Singer Songwriters
We listen to so many singer songwriter submissions that, frankly, sometimes it can be hard for someone to stand out. Is it their vocal quality? Maybe the clarity in the melody lines? Or, as is often the case, the ability to use lyrics and music together to really pull us out of our seats. But gosh, there are a lot of frogs out there before we find the princes… if you catch our meaning. These four talented artists are the proverbial frogs of the story and we couldn’t be more excited to feature them on our site. Do enjoy and if so inclined, please share with friends, family, and music lovers the world over.
Vanessa Forero – From the Uproar EP
-If you allow yourself to really engage with this album you’ll hear all sorts of tones that will help you feel connected to your roots. Of course the imagery of the Native garb on the album art gives connotations of Native life. But then there are these soft, subtle tones that are less associated with traditional music. When the group vocals (complete with their woops and heavy rhythms) dominate the opening track “Heaven Knows,” the album feels earthy and satisfying. The melodic (dare I say cherubic) “I’ll be wrong again” draws deep from the well of personal emotions. For such a short album, it sure has a lot of high points for a variety of reasons. And at the end of the day, Forero’s chops purely and simply pull off each song brilliantly.
Andrew Butler – Chalk
-From the start of this album, you’ll find yourself soothed, infatuated, and a little bit obsessed. What are you hearing? Who is this man? And how does he do it? There’s a cool backing group of strings and studio brass that keep the acoustic singer songwriter feel like the best of mid-60s crooners. But make no mistake, Butler is not himself a pure crooner. Sporting a sound more like a folk singer than any polished posh New York city corporate man, Butler sings for his supper on these tracks. The guitar work on “Chalk,” the title song, is enough to explain why he appears on this list. What an exquisitely talented artist; the melodies are complicated and intricate. His vocal quality is signature without being esoteric. There are a number of priceless tunes on this one, so just listen to the whole thing. I will deliver this hint, “Deadly Muse” is enough to pull you out of your chair and into that lovely floating space that only a good song can take you.
The Ivory Tusk – Zephyr EP
-The acoustic guitar work on “Where are you running now?” is so smooth, you almost forget to listen to the words. Then the lead singer’s vocals sound like he’s spent the majority of his life listening to Dylan, and suddenly everything makes sense. As you progress through the album, you’ll feel yourself drawn into the mysterious melodies and writing. It’s a bit like something I suspect Jeffrey Martin might write. The chromatic chord progressions and deep sense of folk music all come together for a sound that I find absolutely magnetic. The heavily promoted single from this album is “Waves,” which I enjoy. It has a bit more of a “Tallest Man” sound to it than some of the others on the album, though. Ivory Tusk is at his best when the guitar tells the stories and the vocal is secondary. This is a must listen album for fans of folk music in 2016.
Katy Carmichael – Seams EP
-Katy Carmichael writes with a style that has more electro elements than what we typically feature, but she just sort of does something with your heart. The keys steal the show, and Carmichael’s vocals remind me of something in my life that just feels right. Maybe it’s the first time I heard “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” at an elementary talent show… except written by a professional songwriter with a perfect, beautiful composition and production. Anyways, enough about me… this is an outstanding album. The title track “Seams” is definitely good, but the opener “November” is probably my favorite. The vocals are crisp and the keys are set to sound like a church organ, which really works wonders in cultivating the atmosphere of the song.