Four Creative Singer Songwriters Who Will Make You Smile
The term “singer songwriter” is almost laughably generalized these days. But honestly, it’s a nice term to contrast Those Who Sing The Songs Of Other Writers. I mean, stylistically though it’s a mess of a term. You can have the nearly ubiquitous “sounds like Ryan Adams” or the far more poppy Taylor Swift. Why does it feel like those two should be written about together? Eh, not sure. Anyways, onto these wonderful musicians here. Do enjoy the variety that they bring and embrace that broad term of Those Who Sing Songs They Wrote Themselves.
Sam Morrow – There Is No Map
-Morrow’s sound is a convincing, authentic brand of country music. He manages to feel comfortable both in a honkytonk and a worldclass stage. His lyrics are crisp and his melodies feel just familiar enough to be true to the genre, while having a clear fresh take. Although a different animal, he reminds me a bit of Sturgill Simpson. “Girls” seems to be the single that his promoters want us to like, but for my money the title track “There Is No Map” is the genuine article. In any event the album deserves a serious, dedicated spin for all of you fans of real country music.
Holland Belle – Wanderlust
-Holland Belle is a poet’s songwriter. That is to say that she has a real way with lyrics and the intricate turn of phrase that conveys a beautiful image. Her guitarist provides a provocative fingerpicked line that allows her haunting melodies to resonate. Holland’s vocal quality sounds like a cross between an Appalachian mountain singer and a 1920s sultry songstress. The combination comes out with a delightful softness befitting the poetic lyrics she presents. Her final track is a cover of the traditional (no, it’s not an original by The Animals, contrary to popular belief) “House of the Rising Sun.” It’s the best I’ve heard since Haley Reinhart. That’s some pretty phenomenal company to keep.
Jill Andrews – The War Inside
-Jill Andrews is an absolute force of a vocalist. She is incredibly talented in every way. Her compositions are also addictively good. The opening track “Get Up, Get On” is the exact kind of anthem many of us need as motivation. She’s got this great pop vocal voice and aesthetic, but that’s not to mean the kind of bubblegum pop label often given to singer songwriters. Instead, it feels real and raw in its energy, often bordering on a kind of indie rock styling. “Sweet Troubled Man” is about the difficult thoughts at the end of a rocky relationship and it’s perfect. This is an album for all fans of great vocals and personal songwriting.
Sam Gleaves – Ain’t We Brothers
-In my travels south from Pennsylvania to North Carolina years ago I used to often make my way through the small town of Wytheville, Virginia. It was about as thoroughly Appalachian as a place can be. It was the kind of place that produces a songwriter like Sam Gleaves. From the minor chords and crawling melodies, it’s evident that Sam has been listening to a lot of great picking and singing over his lifetime. Every narrative lyric feels like it’s being delivered out of an ancestral heritage that is as rich as the mountains are tall. The class-based “Working Shoes” sounds like a real traditional tune. The title track “Ain’t We Brothers” is a bit different than you might expect, an anthemic expression of Gleaves’s homosexual lifestyle. The sentiment, “ain’t we brothers too?” is undoubtedly in response to the hatred and discrimination he faced in his life. The line, “called everything but a child of God” is pretty powerful. Give his work a spin not because of one song or identifier, but because he’s a talented Appalachian singer songwriter.