Five Folk Acts to Get You Pickin’ and Grinnin’

Alright so there’s like a million different perspectives on folk music, some of which is down home and others can be quite sophisticated. Just look at the mid 20th century difference between the gentlemen in suits types from Greenwich Village and the mountain music from others. Both of those traditions (and all of their offshoots) are alive and well today.

Okay Mann – “Eternal Optimist”
-This track from the folk singer songwriter Okay Mann has a timeless quality to it. The phrasing reminds me of a much older style of writing, perhaps like Townes Van Zandt, but the production is much more modern. The result is something that feels genuine yet also has a spit shine to it that has me listening repeatedly.

The Likes of Us – “Oh Child”
-The easy comparison that we’ve made several times already for The Likes of Us is the Civil Wars. I mean they are THAT GOOD. But at the same time this track has its own spirit and power to it. The vocal style here is really enthralling. The way that the vocal dynamics grow through the song shows an incredible amount of power in their vocals. I like them both and they seem like one of those acts where the duo is better than the sum of its parts. They are really amazing.

Alan Barnosky – “Childhood Ghosts”
-We found Alan Barnosky a week or so ago and he’s been an instant favorite. His songwriting is rich and satisfying. Talking about Townes Van Zandt, Barnosky channels the old troubador with aplomb. The inflection on his vocal sounds like he’s been down some pretty dirty roads. The pickin’ ain’t too bad either. The whole sound put together, with these timeless nostalgic lyrics, make for simply one of the best folk songs we’ve heard all year.

Noah Derksen – “I do”
-We are not exactly the “wedding song” place. In fact, we’re more often the “funeral song” place. That said, Derksen’s latest share with us is this romantic and emotional song “I do.” It is, of course, about the vows of marriage. Beyond that, though, there’s a depth to the lyrical delivery here that is deeplying satisfying and interesting. Derksen’s vocal style is contemplative, making the simple melodic structure feel soothing.

Dawson Hollow – “Take Me There”
-I unabashedly love this song. From the cool beat to the gorgeous vocal harmonies, the whole thing just screams a favorite for me. I am really looking forward to following the rise of Dawson Hollow. Something about the guitars feels more snappy indie rock than typical folk for me. But the vocals and structure on the melody (at least for this single) feels like a sort of Fleet Foxes style. This makes me giddy.

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