Cam Monroe – “I’ll Never Forget You”
-This is a beautiful love song. The songwriting reminds me of Ben Rector, which is high praise. It’s a quaint style that really pulls the listener in. It’ll probably make you think of someone special. Go ahead and send them the list. You’ll make their day.
Ben Larsen – “Turn”
-When God created on Americana music (somewhere around the 9th day), he had Ben Larsen’s music in mind. It’s smooth unlike anything you’ve ever heard, we promise. The soft, subtle believability of the style is infectiously enjoyable. When the horns enter, you’ll feel like you’re sitting in Muscle Shoals. This is an exquisite piece of music and criminally underappreciated. Let’s get it out there, shall we?
David Ayscue – “Child of Sin”
-Ayscue is one of those songwriters we just can’t say “no” to his music. There’s a charming vibe to every track he sends our way. It’s got your toes tapping already, doesn’t it? But then there’s this theological element too and you’re like… wait, this Billy Joel vibe also has some powerful lyrics too? Yes, it does. Listen to it twice for good measure.
Anna Elizabeth Laube – “I Miss You (So Much)”
-Well if the blues and country music ain’t siblings, they sure are kissing cousins. This sweet old country song is about as sad as they make em. Anna Elizabeth Laube has been on our site before and we spose she’ll be here again. There’s a bona fide country sound here with some aching, heartbreaking lyrics.
Ryan Davies – “Beautiful Thing”
-After you listen to several thousand demos and early career tracks, genres kind of become muddied. Is this a country song? Is it the blues? Maybe a little of both. But here’s the big point; Ryan Davies kind of reminds me a little of an early career Ray Lamontagne. See, I said it. But you know you agree. Just listen to the inflection, the phrasing, and those delicious chord progressions. Key in on the organ… and you’re gonna melt.
Barnez – “Fallow Fields”
-The acoustic work here is really fun. The lyrics are thoughtful and moving. The overall style reminds me of a short story that keeps you wondering what will happen next. I love that even though the instrumentation seems ordinary, there’s an unpredictability to it.
Si Clancy – “Mephedrone”
-I don’t know what it’s like to take the drug Mephedrone, but thankfully Si Clancy wrote a song about it for me. Apparently it’s pretty epic and mind altering. That said, the song has this cinematic dynamism to it that really does pull me in. I don’t have anyone to compare Clancy’s music to, but I will say every once in a while one of these tracks really pops for me. This one does that. The theatrical vocal, when well placed, can really soar.
James Edwyn and the Borrowed Band – “Quoting Sagan”
-Something about this song feels like I should be listening on vinyl to a classic band. There’s a touch of Eagles, Chicago, and generally that era of not-fully-rock but certainly-not-pop music. Sometimes the chord progression and overall vibe of this one feels like James Taylor. As you can see I’m confused but I like it. I’m hoping to dig a bit more into the rest of this album because there’s something special going on here.
Essie Holt – “Distant Places ft LANKS”
-Take a soft, subtle, moving piano… add an angelic but familiar voice… and throw in a solid poetic duo partner. It’s a beautiful recipe. The overall song comes through as a slow building piece that feels as much as a diary entry as a song. It feels like it hits a nerve for our historical moment, too, with so much distance and social isolation. It hits me hard.
Alex Bayly – “Distance”
-The word “atmospheric” is probably overused in the music industry. I mean, what music isn’t somehow in the ATMOSPHERE? That said, the ethereal magic of Bayly’s writing seems to hang and linger like a fog you’re happy to have. It’s a presence, holding in the air and making the environment a bit sweeter and more interesting. The texture of Bayly’s vocal is special, too, setting this songwriter apart in different ways. He reminds me a bit of the talented Alexander Wolfe. I’d love to hear them collab.