Singer songwriters, to me, often dance on the delicate line between poet and prophet. They seem to be the people who can explain things in our world that the rest of us just cannot see. Think about the great lines from classic folk music that just make you look at your life and think, “yeah, why didn’t I think of that?” It’s brilliant and beautiful. Here are five talented musicians providing just that kind of insight, with some pretty breathtaking music too.
Jenny O – “Be Here Now”
-I love this track because it has such a Jack White sensibility to it (which I might not have heard had the band not cued me to it). But on top of that, the song’s emphasis on enjoying the ordinariness of life is exactly what I mean about singer songwriters seeing the ordinary in extraordinary ways. The whole, “I want my time back… I want to spend with you” ethos could have come right out of the mid 60s, but yet here it is with some perfectly produced glowing harmonies in the 21st century. This is an addictively joyful track.
Connor Hicks – “Savior”
-Connor Hicks writes a style of music that I’ve never heard before. There are elements of a Stevie Ray Vaughn kind of guitar, blues-focused rock music. But then the same artist can deliver these delicate, personal vocals that sound more like a softer style of pop. But taking that vocal style with the aggressive guitar you get this sort of amalgamation that I find really captivating. The song is, of course, a romantic tune, but it comes across more like a peacock strutting his stuff. Look what I can do for you. Come… be with me. It’s the work of a showman and we’re all the better for enjoying it.
Lindy Vopfnjord – “Melting”
-Lindy Vopfnjord makes a beautiful acoustic folk music. Of course the name indicates some sort of Scandanavian background and the song’s content focus on snow seems to highlight that fact. But what I love about the song is not its origins, but its quality. The lyrics are really poetic and interesting. The lead vocal itself does a nice job of delivering poetic lines with legitimate sincerity. The guitar provides the vehicle without getting in the way of the words. The love expressed through the midst of a frozen-over world is indicative of an icy, unforgiving heart. There’s a lot of pain in this song, which gives the song much of it’s deep appeal.
Matt Pond PA – “The Glow”
-This track from Matt Pond PA (an artist I’m proud to say we’ve covered in the past) is exactly what I miss from Taylor Goldsmith’s songwriting on the most recent Dawes album. Okay, maybe that’s not fair. Let’s stick with Matt Pond PA; this is an excellent track. It’s melodic and moving. Literally, the track is really upbeat compared to much of the genre’s typically sad and introspective style songs. There’s a kind of Bruce Springsteen quality to his voice, but stylistically he’s much more of a classic folk rock style more similar to Dylan or Dawes than any traditional rock acts.
Matt Ferree – “This One”
-Matt Ferree’s music is easy to compare with a talent like Sam Smith. His vocal is a high tenor. In fact, the delivery style is definitely pop music. There are some production elements on the song that make it feel a bit busier than it needs to be, but honestly the power of Ferree’s vocals still manage to steal the production. The message of regret and sadness, really a raw kind of emotion, is vivid and alluring. “There’s no way to escape this… you’re filling me with doubt.” The layers of possible meaning go deep, but the main perspective of the song is one of wonder and hope. I like that.