Imagine yourself a record executive in the late 1950s and you hear an upstart band from Liverpool, England. They seem to be taking influences from Chuck Berry and other Americans, but putting their own spin on it. Not bad, you think. But will it sell? That question – what is a hit and how do we find them? – permeates the new music landscape. So what do you think, friends, are there any budding Beatles in this bunch?
Town Meeting – “Geography”
-This thoughtful Americana song is nostalgic and audibly pleasing. The vocal work here is really genuine, which gives the song plenty of texture. I find myself pulled into the story like a Don McLean or Willie Nelson tune. There’s a lot of spirit to the song and the string work is top notch.
George Glew – “Bury Me”
-If contemplative singer songwriters are your taste, you will fall head over heels in love with George Glew. The easy comparison might be someone like early Ed Sheeran, but really Glew has his own style. The song has a light blues character, both in terms of the song structure and lyrical quality. But this song will give you chills if you take some time to enjoy it.
Sheron – “12 Gauge”
-You could compare Sheron to someone like Joshua James or the Milk Carton Kids. His folk style calls back to many bygone styles. The string work and vocal blend together beautifully. It’s a style of music that fits quite naturally for me. If you’re a fan of our folk coverage typically, you’ll love Sheron.
Cori Rios – “I’m Sorry”
-Cori Rios is a talented singer songwriter who uses syncopation and excellent string work to punctuate an intriguing song. Evoking an emotion like something from a Santana album, there’s a thick and interesting attitude here. Rios writes with an edge that makes his music infinitely enjoyable.
Benji Lewis – “In Time”
-Benji Lewis is a songwriter’s songwriter. What I mean by that is that his music has layers of complexity and emotion that do not meet first listen. There are influences from blues and pop for sure, but there’s an inherent emotional core that few songwriters ever achieve. It’s a confessional quality to this contemplative track.
Sloan Peterson – “Rats”
-This is a really fun track with tons of reverb and raw energy. Sloan Peterson’s style is energetic and pretty much the epitome of the category indie rock. The name is a reference to the 80s cult classic Ferris Buehler’s Day Off (you’re welcome). You can imagine that thinking about this bizarre love triangle with a bunch of strangers at a stanky venue would be pretty amazing. Would definitely like to see Sloan Peterson live some day.
The Commoners – “Walkin’ South”
-Maybe classic rock isn’t your thing, but if you dig on some rich electric guitar work then you need to click play on this one. The vocal is superb, too. Maybe it’s too much to compare them to Led Zeppelin, but certainly the guitar-rich blues rock style is a fair comparison. If rock radio sounded like this today, I’d still listen to the radio.
Cale Hawkins – “The Ferryman”
-Every once in a while I hear a folk song that would make Paul Simon proud. This is one of those. The layers of complexity here are stunning. The piano and vocal, especially, seem to dance a delicate dance here. The lyrics are positively poetic. Without exaggeration, this is one of the best folk songs I’ve heard all year.
Murder Murder – “I’ve Always Been a Gambler”
-This song is a great example of Americana music. The song’s style could be lumped into country broadly, but really it’s an interesting story about a criminal character. It feels like a classic song you might hear from someone like Kris Kristofferson. The gang vocal wins it for me, but the strings are really well done as well. Get yer toes tappin’, yall!
Bendigo Fletcher – “Sleeping Pad”
-When you click play on this song you’re going to think, “wait, I’ve heard this before.” I know, trust me. I did the same thing several times. I can’t quite place it, but the sound is devilishly enticing… and probably something we’ve all heard. As far as I’m concerned Bendigo Fletcher should join the canon of new folk with acts like Ryan Adams and Wilco. Let’s help more people here them, shall we?