Alexander Wren – “Emily”
-This song is romantic about a girl named… you guessed it, Emily. There’s an interested development about halfway through where some of the backing influences go straight up dissonant. I’m warning you now because it is unsettling. Yet I think it works. My interpretation is that this is to show the frustrating reality that the singer won’t actually get to be with Emily and the dissonance shows the cracking and breaking in his heart.
Marthe Halvorsen – “Little Feather”
-Lest we forget May Day is an international event, here is a contribution from Norway. Halvorsen is one of the purest female singer songwriters we’ve found all year. Her voice cries out with a lonely desperation. She’s the genuine article, reminding me a bit of Anna Tivel. The guitar and vocal pair together perfectly. I wish more artists produced their music in this style.
St Pete Holland – “Lullaby”
-Believe it or not there have been other songs called “Lullaby,” but this one from St Pete Holland is pretty darn good. The production on it is outstanding, allowing the vocals to blend flawlessly. The style feels familiar (like folk should), but really there’s a lot going on here. I’m going to go out on a limb and say the “bottles” he’s singing about here aren’t filled with milk. Nevertheless, it’s a sweet and earthy track that will get that half smile right out of you.
Corey Durkin – “Mad Love”
-Durkin’s style is fantastic, with a smooth lyricism that we don’t often hear in folk music. He reminds me of an artist I loved years ago by the name of Chris Rice. The cool tone on his vocal is expressive without being overly theatrical. He’s the kind of guy I could picture actually having a beer with hearing the “stories from the road” with him. Very good song.
Jacko Hooper – “Sidelines”
-Maybe you’d call Hooper a singer songwriter more than a folk artist, but he’s definitely working in that tradition. More of the post-plugged in Dylan sound, Hooper has a clear passion in his music. After the 1:45 break, Hooper’s vocal jumps from ordinary to extraordinary. This is a fantastic track and an artist to watch.