Ten need-to-hear singer songwriters

Luke James Shaffer – “Slow Down”
-Shaffer’s sound is, frankly, perfect for what we like to cover on this site. It’s definitely influenced by both folk and pop. What I love most, though, is the connection between the spirit of the music and the lyrical content. It’s about being with a special someone and taking your time. This will bring back a flood of memories for a LOT of people.

Avery Florence – “Faded into light”
-We’ve covered Florence before and I’m sure you’ll hear why; her vocal is immaculate. The style here is a bit of a mashup of folk and chill rock, but it all comes together for a song that feels uplifting and moving. There’s a bit of of a Lilith Fair vibe, if I’m honest, and that’s totally not a bad thing. The intimacy of the recording and lyrics make this one worth enjoying for multiple listens for full effect.

Johnny Gates – “Cliche”
-The rich lyricism and intimate recording style of this song is going to unsettle you, trust me. It’s a really fascinating track, though, and it has a tendency to prod my emotions. If you’ve ever been alone thinking about someone you long to be with who gave you the “wanna be friends” line, this song will cut deep. It’s a gift, but I’m not saying that it’s a party track.

Anthony Starble – “Paperweight”
-The vocal chops on this young man are impressive! From the outset you can hear soulful influences in Starble’s vocal. The lyrics work really well, denoting the feeling of aching and missing someone. The depth of emotion in the performance make it worth your interest. Starble is a vocalist to watch in the future for sure.

Passenger – “Heart to Love”
-We’re pretty thrilled when we get a submission from a massive star like Passenger. His press folks have been working to get tracks from his new album out to us and we just can’t say no. This track “Heart to Love” definitely has more of a Tom Petty style folk rock vibe to it. When you take that timeless sound and give it Passenger’s characteristic vocal… you have a real treat. Lots of folks are going to enjoy the hopefulness of this one.

Matt Spicer – “Where You Are”
-Spicer is an artist we’ve only run across recently, but always find ourselves saying yes to his music. From the thoughtful phrasing to the uniquely blissful accent on the vocal, Spicer brings a sound you’re just not going to hear anywhere else. Some of the melody lines here are deceptively complex, but the song feels as comfortable as your favorite sweater. We’re a bit early on this one because it feels like a perfect song for the autumn chill.

Ben Wagner – “When Things Try to Tear You Apart”
-Shh. Just listen. Stop reading for a minute and close your eyes to enjoy this. (Do it). Okay so did you hear that? It’s authenticity dripping from Wagner’s lips. The lyrics are positively Dawes-like. The melody is interesting and moving. The whole ethos of the track, though, is what keeps me coming back to listen over and over. There’s an immense amount of hope and love evident in this song.

Mark Pelli – “You Changed Me”
-Belli’s vocal is soulful and inspiring. He writes with an emotionalism “so hard it hurts.” The lines in this song will make you think it’s a Sam Cooke deep cut. His comp on his materials said Leon Bridges and I agree with that for sure. The easy-to-singalong chorus on this song gives it true hit potential. I’d love to be in the chrowd singing this one with Pelli’s fans.

Toucan – “We fell for miles”
-Who ever said all singer songwriters have to make some sort of melancholy folk music? They don’t! Toucan is a snappy pop funk artist with an incredible track here. There’s so much jazz and funk energy in this track you’ll never believe it. It’s positively Earth Wind and Fire level! Check out the way those horns give the rest of the track perspective and depth. It’s an eclectic and energizing track.

Amanda Shires – “Parking Lot Pirouette”
-My note on Shires is that she is the “Queen of Americana.” Odds are most of our readers already know who she is. Other than being the “wife of,” Shires is an iconic Americana talent in her own right. The complexity of this track is why we don’t call Shires a country singer; her dynamic Tammy Wynette style vocals smack headlong into a poetic and melancholy lyricism more befitting the modern Isbell-turn in Americana writing. This is a song about a physical movement that represents a metaphorical life change. If these lyrics don’t smack you between the eyes…

JP Cooper – “All this love”
-Okay. You listening? JP Cooper is the sound of soul, my friends. This song gives me literal chills up my spine. It makes me think of… uh… my past. I bet you can relate to one of these characters, too. The inherent love and passion in this song drips through with every line. But as you listen and feel the tension rise like any good story, the resolution is all the more satisfying. Give this one a spin and you’ll be a Cooper fan!

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