Late 2018 Americana and folk music

Here we are right before the “end of year” list season, we’d like to offer a few gems that have come across our desks in the past few weeks.

Foxwarren – “To Be”
-Andy Shauf’s the name, killin’ the folk scene is the game. Honestly, ever since another singer songwriter told me about Shauf several months ago, I have seen his name everywhere. He’s also really freaking good. This song has some classic vibes. I love the richness in the mix. It’s got a sort of Fleetwood Mac crispness to it. I can’t wait to hear the rest of this Foxwarren album. I think it’s got the potential to be a folk rock breakout.

Evergreen – “End of the World”
-I apologize I wasn’t able to write about this right away because I was busy sharing it on my personal social media with my friends. I am so blown away by the intimacy and sweetness of this song. You look at the title and think it will be dark and brooding, but it’s not. It’s about loving so intensely, knowing that we have to make amends and do the right thing. This is one of the most deeply human pieces I’ve heard in a long time.

Loyal Lobos – “Burn”
-We’ve covered Loyal Lobos in the past. She’s fantastic and fascinating, full of intrigue and truly unique style. That all comes through with one listen of any of her songs. She’s not trying to be or sound like anyone else. Loyal Lobos is one of a kind and that comes through in this latest single. The chording sits on the edge of darkness, pulling the listener into the introspective and decidedly evocative lyrics.

Harry Pane – “Heart’s Rhythm”
-This track was love at first listen, honestly. The easy picking in the opening of Pane’s track got my attention immediately. Then I heard his voice. Oh my goodness. Some people were just born for music and Pane seems to have that gift. There’s a depth to this track that goes beyond trite love song and moves into a passion expression of devotion. It’s really good and the coolness in the chord choices makes it feel imminently important.

Billy Crabbe – “Close”
-Okay so take a dose of the blues and mix in some elements of gospel and just the slightest dash of jazz… that’s the recipe for this engaging track from Billy Crabbe. It’s got lyrics of love but encapsulates a passion that is delightful. The energy in the organ work here absolutely highlights the track. For me the song is good all the way through, but if you hang on until the band hits their groove around the 2 minute mark, you’ll find yourself absolutely SOLD OUT to this tune.

Dirt Train – “Leave Me Alone”
-It’s a relaxing, chill beat with blues lyrics. The vocal reminds me a bit of what I loved the first time I heard Amos Lee. It’s the kind of Americana blues that reminds me of Frenchman Street. This is classic performance with quality from top to bottom. If this doesn’t make you think of someone, you are living a charmed life.

Bob Sumner – “Riverbed”
-The first time I heard Bob Sumner’s music I thought it was a blend of Robert Ellis and Rayland Baxter. Those are some heavy hitters, but honestly Sumner has that kind of charm to his style. Then I kept listening and liked him even more. There’s almost a James Taylor vibe there, too. The sincerity and depth of this track with gospel references and a folksy subtlety, it’s really a charming introduction to someone who looks to be a household name in Americana circles.

Daniel Blake – “For the Rush”
-The positive vibes in this track from Daniel Blake pervade. Yes it’s ultimately nostalgic, but it’s the kind of “looking back on another time of life” moment that feels more good than sad. Like yeah this thing happened, but aren’t we SO GLAD that it happened? It’s not looking back with regret, but looking back acknowledging something beautiful. I love the sentiment and the composition.

Michael McArthur – “Elaine”
-I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… if a song is named after a woman it’s either going to be really happy or really sad. There is no in between. This fantastic folk track from McArthur reminds me a bit of James Taylor from his hey day. There’s even a touch of Ray Lamontagne in his voice. But no matter what it sounds like, this is a song about a man really happy about a woman named Elaine.

Dave Thomas Junior – “Flickers in the Flames”
-Dave Thomas Junior is one of those artists that we always feature when we run across his music. The mixes are excellent, showing the development of an interesting and complex artist. I love that this track is not a straight folk tune, but has textures that absolutely fit in that genre. It’s a touch of pop mixed with some deep and thoughtful philosophical lyrics. It’s worth a few listens.

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