Sometimes when we curate these lists, we have a neat and tidy theme. Not this time! Here we give you five tracks that we enjoy for vastly different reasons. So put your feet up, grab a beverage of choice, and enjoy an eclectic mix of music.
Mike Hobart’s Urban Jazz Collective – “The Vista”
-If you’re looking for highly technical jazz criticism, EarToTheGround is not the place to go. But what we do know is a great jazz sound when we hear it. Whether you’re a fan of old Miles Davis or newer chill jazz, this song “The Vista” has an appeal. I love the coolness of it. There’s a nice smooth root to the song, then a variety of solos that go in different directions. If you’re looking for a foray into modern jazz, this is a great place to start.
Octave Lissner – “Corners”
-We enjoy Octave Lissner around here. We’ve covered him a few times because he’s just such a real, genuine artist. The soul in this song is really evident from the beginning. The vocal and the keys balance out so perfectly as to make the song really enjoyable. There’s even an Otis Redding kind of flavor here and that’s pretty high praise. I could listen to this style of music all day.
Hayes Peebles – “Home”
-If you’re a fan of Americana, you should put Hayes Peebles on your short list. He’s got a really great sound that feels just about right. I really appreciate the way he can sing a genuine lick and makes you believe that he’s really lived this stuff. There are definitely shades of country music (especially that late 60s sound), but he also has equal parts rock music. His comment about home being “on the road again” is an interesting concept. I suspect he’s not the only one.
The Show Ponies – “Sweetly”
-We actually have a full review coming of this band since they won a NMF contest a few weeks ago, but we’ll feature this single too. Just listen to the warmth in that lead vocal! It’s a wonderful song and a great melody. The name “Sweetly” is not lost on this track at all. There’s music, and then there’s real, soulful evocative music. I really like the Show Ponies for their ability to tap into that “something deeper” that only music can do. It’s intimate and full of love.
James Caronna – “Ten Years”
-James Caronna is an Americana artist that you will love. Yeah, you. Seriously if you’re reading this article, you’ll like this song. Caronna’s vocal and style overall put me in mind of several artists, not the least of which being David Ramirez. The main melody on the song reminds me of Jason Isbell’s “Yvette.” The dire lyric laments “I should have never let you go” with a dripping sincerity. How many others could sing such heart-wrenching sensibility? Not many. This is a gift.