A Winter Playlist with Commentary – January 2018

You are here because you love music, so sit back relax and stay awhile. If it seems like people enjoy this (we know if you like it by views and shares, hint hint), we can make this a consistent feature on the site. So let’s get started with some music that goes perfect with your hot cocoa.

Other Desert Cities – “I am alive”
-The way the acoustic guitar glides on this track makes you feel alive. It’s intricate and interesting at the same time. The vocals work really well, too. Something about the song really reminds me of the Beatles’ “Blackbird” and that’s about the highest compliment I could give a track. Do enjoy for warmth.

Sophie Coran – “Feel it all”
-To put this song in perspective, I just shared it with my personal FB friends and told them it’s a “knock-you-off-your-feet” good vocal. So yeah, that’s how I really feel. This song has a classic sort of Postmodern Jukebox vibe (even a bit of Haley Reinhart in the vox), which is sure to win a lot of fans of that throwback style. It’ll definitely heat you up for this cold winter.

John Burnette – “Pale and Blue”
-This song has a wonderfully lulling acoustic fingerpicking part that feels like it could have come out any time in the past 100 years. The vocal style from Burnette doesn’t date it any more specifically, also feeling refreshingly old fashioned. This sounds like something your grandparents might enjoy on vinyl right beside you. Isn’t that the best kind of music? Think about home as you cozy up with this great tune.

Wild Child – “Sinking Ship”
-This contemplative acoustic track reminds me of Joni Mitchell almost without fail. The overall style is exceptionally sweet and interesting. The story at the heart of the lyrics is, I suppose, some sort of metaphor about a relationship. But for me, the mood of the track really fits well with the chill of the season and the hope we find in the piano work here is a perfect glimpse of those slightly warmer days that give hope for the spring.

Joal Rush – “Darlin’ Stay”
-Rush’s style is paradoxical; he seems to be both old fashioned playing off of a gentle banjo line, yet he also brings in this nice big modern folk sound too. I really appreciate the melded style that is equal parts old time and new age, creating something appealing for a broad audience. And honestly, it’s just really fun to handclap and sing along with this song. Warm up with your friends to this song about staying together in a relationship.

Welfare – “Sadie”
-This is a sweet, easy going anthem about a woman named Sadie. It’s written with an atmospheric sort of soaring style. The lyrics aren’t always clear, but the mood of the track is enough to make it worth covering here. Honestly, the harmonies were what caught my ear and remain the star of the show. There’s a gentle warmth to it, which makes it perfect for a wintertime playlist. The chord progression is deceptively complicated, being easy on the ear but (I suspect) quite difficult to play.

Stables – “Disagree”
-Stables have another optimistic indie folk sound that we love to support. The vocal is really a standout performance here. I can’t help but be drawn into the way the track is mixed with the strings and the vocals blending so perfectly together. I wish I could bottle up this track and use it as an explanation to other artists for how to mix a great indie folk sound. This is a really good song that is full of incredibly positive vibes.

Billy Kemp – “Another Life to Live”
-This is the most heartbreaking breakup song you’ve ever heard, honestly. It’s minimal in the recording style, allowing the scathing lyrics to cut through the air with so much more precision. It really sounds like it could come out of the hills with Pa Carter. It’s a really remarkable recording and song. I can’t wait to hear more from Kemp with this roots, raw style.

The Handsome Devils – “Heaven is having one hell of a time”
-This song is about the importance of combatting social isolation in the winter months. HAHA okay even I can’t hold the theme together with that line. Let’s just say it’s about staying warm with a good drink and some great friends? Yeah, it’s that. Anyways, this traditional country sing-a-long style will have you scaring the neighbors as you warble out your love for each other.

James Hersch – “Things I Said”
-If you like melancholic acoustic guitar work (and you should if you’re here), then you’ll enjoy this song. Something about the melody reminds me of “Suicide is Painless” (i.e. the MASH theme song). It just really works on this track. There’s a subtle mysteriousness to the track that piques my attention. When Hersch’s polished vocal enters the song, there’s a maturity to the song that punctuates the romance and the message.

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