A mid-June folk playlist for your soul

Emma Dilemma – “Eliot and Loren”
-If storytelling folk of the Pete Seeger variety is of interest to you, you’ll love this track. Emma Dilemma has a wonderful, accessible sweetness to the sound. The strum pattern works to gently usher in the soft and trustworthy lead vocal. In short, you feel like you’re listening to an old friend. Soothing like a cup of tea.

Planes on Paper – “Two Rivers”
-We’ve actually already covered this album, but we waited to cover this track because we wanted to put it in good folk company. If you don’t know this PNW duo, you need to drop everything and embrace their dulcet folk music. The harmonies, fingerpicking, and poetic lyricism are worth your time and will move you.

WILD – “Here We Go”
-If hand-clappy folk music is your thing, you need to hear WILD. This is one of the most electric and fun tracks I’ve heard all year. It makes me want to have a bonfire with all my best friends and sing in unison. It’s such a wonderfully optimistic time about moving forward with hope and in unity. It’s anthemic and wonderfully inspiring!

Party of the Sun – “Ball of Time”
-Party of the Sun is an interesting sound, folk and sensibly easy going rock. Take the charm of Rayland Baxter and a bit of the grittiness of David Ramirez. It’s a satisfying sound about looking back on where you’ve been. It’s thoughtful and reflective with a folk rock sensibility.

Steve Charles – “Could Never Hold On”
-Imagine yourself in the early 1960s… the world is ablaze and life is difficult. There’s fear of nuclear annihilation and life is full of hard labor. But you get a record player with sweet harmonies. They are like a cool drink of water in the midst of your life. Steve Charles taps into that time and those sweet harmonies with a romantic song about someone he loves that he can’t have because he could never keep them. Sweet, yes.

Dear Liry – “Elizabeth”
-This is an adorable song. I love these chord progressions. The vocal reminds me a bit of Ingrid Michaelson. The sweet sound is fun yet strangely convicting. It’s about genuine love and trying to convince your partner that you really want to be with them. Anyone who has ever built a strong relationship remembers this time of love and reassurance. It’s so endearing, honestly.

Lauren O’Connell – “Shimmering Silver”
-This thoughtful track goes in an interesting lamenting direction. It will make you pull inward, reflecting on your past. It’s clear that she’s trying to convince the audience of their value. The whole sound is intimate and evocative. The bridge is sonically unexpected, bringing the song to another level. This is truly a captivating folk piece.

Mary-Elaine Jenkins – “Fools Don’t Stay”
-Jenkins is the real deal. This Americana tune is the epitome of what roots music is all about. The sound has a whiskey-dripping authenticity that keeps me coming back for more. The lyrics are fascinating in their own right, addressing the complexity of a deceptive partner. “Smoke and mirrors won’t do.” Sneaky good.

YVI – “Hometown”
-As I said to a friend about this track, “you don’t even need ears, you can just listen with your soul.” That’s the truth with this one. It reminds me how I felt when I first found the artist Yesper for similar reasons. The lyrics and the contemplative vocal style work perfectly. Even when the song takes off, it preserves a softness and power that reminds me of the term “meek.” This is tragic but worth connecting.

Greg Etter – “The Wind Chimes”
-Pluck a few acoustic strings, pour your soul into a whiskey glass, call it music. Actually I don’t know if Etter even drinks, but there’s a sincerity in this music that reminds me a bit of Evan Bartels and Noah Gundersen of late. It’s a charming acoustic style with eager lyricism. This is a perfect song for relaxing, romantic vacations.

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