Five Singer Songwriters to Warm Up Your Monday

Here in northeast Ohio it’s been cold for literally weeks. We’re looking for some music to pair with our coffee or hot chocolate. We found some pretty sweet singer songwriters that we think do the job quite well. Cozy up and enjoy.

Little Quirks – “Unwinding”
-It’s impossible not to compare these three talented artists with the Staves. That said, they stand on their own merits with some really incredible folk blending and songwriting. The quality on each of the voices is next level, creating a sentiment that is both sweet and satisfying. The lead vocal has a believable quality to it; you just trust that her lyrics are true. What a great sound.

TJ Stewart – “Set Me Free”
-The comparison to John Mayer is almost too easy to make. TJ Stewart’s style is cool and enjoyable. He has this calm about his approach to the song… maybe the word is “unhurried.” That quality makes his music such a pure joy. The lyrics are about freedom and, as they alter the classic hymn “Amazing Grace,” they seem to have a spiritual element to them. It’s one part blues, one part love song, and a ton of sweetness.

Paul Sweeney – “Reflection”
-The lyrical analysis on this one is pretty easy… there ain’t none. But it’s here because it’s beautiful and relaxing. Normally I would pair this song with some neoclassical tunes, but I’m going to include it here. If you’re working through the playlist while working or reading, this is a nice break from sad lyrics about lost loves and nostalgia. Funny though – if you really listen to this song – I bet you’ll think about a lost love or some nostalgic memory because that’s how music is.

James Riley – “Lightning Strikes”
-One of my most overused terms of analysis is “contemplative,” but honestly it’s the perfect word for Riley’s songwriting. The acoustic guitar sets off a fantastic vocal melody. The chord structure and dark style is exquisite. Listeners are immediately drawn into what feels like a naughty and forbidden storyline. There’s a storm, sure, but there is also something mysteriously sweet about this track.

Peyton McMahon – “See the Sun”
-McMahon’s vocal style is a bit more grandiose than most we cover, which makes him stand out. The layers of the guitar and the piano work really well here. That’s more difficult to pull off than most people realize. That said, McMahon’s emotional singing style really helps the song carry a powerful existential mood. It’s about the desire to live life more fully. This is excellent.

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