For all of you who love to discover talent before the rest of the world, you’re going to love this list. Unlike some of our lists that include major artists who squeak in, these are all artists from the depths of the indie music world that will surprise you with just how excellent they are. Listen up!
Cale Hawkins – “Deep Dream”
-Anyone who read my top songs article from 2017 is familiar with Cale Hawkins. We’ve covered him a few times here. He is an exceptionally talented songwriter. If you haven’t heard his intricate melodies and timeless songwriting style, give this track a spin. I’ve compared him to prolific songwriters like George Harrison in the past and I think this song has a bit of that brilliance as well. Paving some new ground here, it’s a sort of 70s prog rock brought into the modern age.
Amber Ikeman – “Middle of the Night”
-If light acoustic guitar combined with superb articulation on the vocal are your calling cards, you’ll love Amber Ikeman. Her style is enjoyable and feels quite technical. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to hear if she has classical training in her background. That said, the layered recording on this track is really delightful.
Richard Sherfey – “The Ballad of Barcelona and Tel Aviv”
-So if international travel and romance are of interest to you, then Richard Sherfey’s new song will appeal. I can almost guarantee you’ve never heard anything quite like it. Something about his songwriting reminds me a little of guys like Jackson Browne and Cat Stevens. He’s in that kind of Americana and folk company. We can’t get enough of the mix of driving rock and sweet open breaks.
Emily James – “Nobody’s Baby”
-If you’ve been reading this site over the past year, you’ve heard Emily James. We don’t know how she’s not a household name yet. She’s got the smooth vocal thing going for her in spades. If you were a fan of Norah Jones or even Haley Reinhart, you really need to give Emily James a spin. This track is jazzy and tells an intriguing and not always happy story.
Rick Sorkin – “Setting Suns”
-The age of the piano ballad is not over yet. If you listen to Richard Sorkin’s songwriting, you will hear influences like Billy Joel and Elton John, sure. But you know what? This songwriter stands on his own with some really great dynamics. The piano is balanced a bit heavier than the vocal on the recording, but we enjoy both equally. Dig into this piano ballad as you watch the sun set.
Haenrick – “If this ain’t love”
-One of the coolest things about running this site is that we get submissions from all over this world. This songwriter is from Denmark. The song is absolutely powerful and dynamic. It’s lyrically an appeal that the love be real. It’s like the blues meet power pop in a fascinating overall track. The instrumentation is a mix of rock and pop for something that you just have to hear to understand and appreciate. Click play!
Nick Ralg – “Sinking Ship”
-This track begins with a dreamlike guitar part that will really pull you into the story. By the time the vocal starts, the effect of it echoing over the rest of the track feels really pleasant. The whole sound makes me think of Alice in Wonderland or something with a similar sense of beauty and adventure. The lyrics recall a former romance with fondness. Been there, man. It’s such a relatable song.