Michael Witt – “Late Rose”
-Witt’s vocal quality is superb, giving the track a solid basis from the start. Add in some layered instrumentation and thoughtful lyrics to give the song added depth. When the full band emerges on the chorus, there’s a tangible sense of rising up. I can’t really explain how the song makes me feel, but the best word is probably inspiring. This is a beautiful song that plays on the energy and imagery of nature.
Isaak Opatz – “Bathing in the Ganges”
-This is an exotic form of folk music. Opatz’s vocal is solid and the slow developing melody is perfect for the style. There’s not an easy comparison to the sound, but you can’t help but think it feels a bit old fashioned (in the endearing way). We’re totally drawn in to the dynamic phrasing and unconventionally creative lyrics.
Baerd – “Mole Hills”
-When it comes to folk music, there’s no one way to do things. When we found Baerd’s Punch Brothers-infused style, we were immediately taken by the special composition. The gritty tone in the lead vocal helps to connect the rest of the track like mortar to bricks. The sometimes-spoken lyrics demand the listener’s attention. This is not a “sit back and relax” folk track; it’s a sit up and listen style and we are fans.
Olentangy John – “Horehound (Lots)”
-Call it folk or country or just really good, Olentangy John’s music is expressive and eloquent. Each line was placed on the page with blood. This sound is what I love about bands like Water Liars or Mandolin Orange. The sincerity bleeds from the song like an old Hank Sr album. I can’t wait to hear more from Olentangy John’s brilliant pen and guitar.
Sami Simon – “Carry You With Me”
-Simon’s style is wonderful, providing an articulate folk sound that has a sweet appeal to it. The phrasing is perfect, intricate melody lines that are curious to the ear and deliver straightforward messages. When the choral harmony enters during the chorus, you can’t help but sing along. With just the perfect balance of romantic and spiritual imagery, it’s a song that will have you coming back over and over.
Lincoln Foley Schofield – “McCarren Park”
-It’s an easy walking track with an optimistic folk style. I’ve never been to McCarren Park but I want to go there because of this song. I love that the vocal has a ton of passion in it. The instrumentation is not super complex, but it helps to deliver the message really well. The female harmony is the perfect touch to the overall sound. This is a sweet one.
All Faces – “The Oaks”
-This is what folk music in the 21st century is really about; singing a positive message with excellent writing and harmonies. The vocal blending on this track is outstanding. There are some cinematic layers here that give the song additional depth. It’s not just another jangly folk song. The full composition is intriguing and worth a spin for folk music fans.
Tim the Lion Tamer – “Dancer”
-Longtime followers of the site will be familiar with Tim the Lion Tamer. We’ve covered him in the past. This song is another gem in a wonderfully talented artist’s discography. The lyrics here are poetic. I love the way he records his work, crisp and poignant. The writing is able to take center stage while the acoustic guitar provides a sweet and rewarding basis to the sound. In short, I could listen to this all day.
Matt Spicer – “Build You a Home”
-Before I clicked play on this track I had never heard of Matt Spicer, but you better believe I will follow his work now. Listen to the intricate work on this song. From the guitar work to the elaborate harmonies, this is an absolutely phenomenal track. The string breaks help to set a sweet, almost transcendent mood for the song. The lead vocal has a clear, pointed sound to it. When all of these parts come together with sincere lyricism, it leaves a deeply rewarding folk listening experience.
Dane Page – “This Ain’t Goodbye Sweetheart”
-Page writes with an old school folk flair that I really appreciate. This recording puts me in mind of an artist that I really love by the name of Jeffrey Martin. Page’s writing is also reminiscent of Joe Purdy, another timeless folk artist. If you’re catching on here, these are also two of my favorite guys making music right now. Page is easily in that company. The developing verses, the easy going acoustic work, and the believable folk style in his vocal all put him on the map as a folk artist on the rise. Oh… and slide guitar. *swoon*