Kelsey Waters – “I Pour”
-Sometimes it can be hard to believe that “country music” in its current iteration is anything like its roots. But honestly, artists like Kelsey Waters come along and remind me that all is not lost. The lyricism in this song is absolutely stunning. There are layers here that will take multiple listens. It’s worth every spin.
Sara Keys – “Not Done Loving You”
-Whether you call her music indie pop or “singer songwriter” style, it’s a song that’s really enjoyable. That craving in your depth to be with someone again after a relationship ends… it’s such a powerful sentiment that will resonate with a lot of listeners. I like the juxtaposition between Keys’ pristene vocal with the subtle pop energy in the instrumentation. The combination is eeriely satisfying.
Luke Sital-Singh – “The Last Day”
-We have covered Luke Sital-Singh in the past. He is one of the artists that I would considered most “underrated” merely because his performance is consistently so good, yet I rarely hear him mentioned in other artists of his quality. I love the sincerity in his delivery every time. He’s got a Gregory Alan Isakov quality about his work and it’s a pleasure to cover his work. The thoughtfulness of this song is so sweet, yet a bit tragic. As nihilistic as I can be, I do not want to think about the End.
Frances Luke Accord – “Honeyguide”
-Well we have to apologize for the guys in FLA because we’ve been writing about them as a “him” for a long time now. Sorry! But now that we realize this is a band, we have more of an understanding of how the harmonies are so deep and satisfying every time. The style of this track is so satisfying and ethereal. We’re not sure how they do it, but we are so glad that they craft these gorgeous modern folk stylings.
COTE – “Restoration”
-This is a stunning acoustic track with deep layers that I find very satisfying. The relaxing element of the song is immediately evident. It’s almost pure enough to fit into our neoclassical coverage. Yet the lyrics reflect on this sentiment of having been something special and having crumbled. This is the restoration of that once incredible thing. The poetic imagery keeps the listener unsure of what once was, but it’s still really intriguing.
Foreign Affairs – “Faded”
-One of the biggest red flags for a submission is when it claims to sound like Jason Isbell. No one sounds like him. But when we clicked play on this track we found a country-flavored Americana honesty and a hard-hitting rock legitimacy. Well hot damn! This song defies genre conventions in the best way possible. Foreign Affairs strike us as a band that doesn’t color within the lines and we’re excited to follow their rise.
Charles Wesley Godwin – “Coal Country”
-Take the deep sincerity of Colter Wall and the joyous celebration of John Denver and you have Charles Wesley Godwin’s West Virginia anthem about coal. As the decendant of a coal miner, I have to say this one resonates in my bones. It’s such a tragic part of American history, really, but there’s a vital history here worth exploring. It’s a thoughtful Americana and folk style track that harkens back to the old days of Johnny Horton.
Augustus Carroll – “Leaving Carolina”
-The folk genre is one that is rife with disagreements and inconsistencies, but Augustus Carroll found a way to make us all get along. This… this is folk music and it is good. The “always make amends” sentiment of the song is really the point, isn’t it? Let’s stop our griefing and fighting, but instead come together for something beautiful and bright. Let’s work together. It’s lovely and the harmonies will pull you right into your happy place.
Rasmus Nelausen – “Letting You Go”
-The vocal chops of Rasmus Nelausen are one of a kind, truly. Then you add this nostalgic and impactful instrumentation to his work and you’ll find yourself connecting immediately. The toe-tapping folk element here is satisfying, but let’s never get away from the quality on Nelausen’s vocal. He reminds me a bit of the grit and glory that first pulled me into Dustin Kensrue. Nelausen is in that kind of company if you’ll just give him a shot.
Lindsay Beth Harper – “Washed in the Blood”
-Take the classic country narrative form, throw in a dash of gospel charm, and an impactful lead vocal… no, it’s not a new single from Tammy Wynette. It’s a debut with hit potential from Lindsay Beth Harper. It packs a powerful country punch. The verses lull and sway, but the chorus will smack you back into your place. Tempted to sing along, but trust me you’ll just want to take this one in and think about what you’ve done.