It’s almost 2019. Like, what the what? Is this even real life? Yes. It is. And it’s been a banner year for indie music and I, for one, am SUPER pumped for the quality supply coming our way these days. I’ve reviewed a lot of songs this year with artists releasing upcoming full-length, as well. I’m stoked (yeah, I still say that… don’t @ me, bro) about that. Thanks for coming along with me on my journey through the musical universe and being downright amazing. All of you! Well, most of you. Some of you I don’t know about, really. Like, the lady who pushed me and my kid out of the way at Giant Eagle to beat us in the checkout line. Maybe not you.
But I digress…
It’s genuinely hard to look back at the best folk albums and try to say one is the “best” or not. It’s even harder to narrow it down to individuals… but alas, it’s the end of the year and what kind of music blog would we be if we didn’t try to compile the best lists we can. This is the best I can do. With all due respect to all the folk heroes and super artists/bands/duos/songs/albums, here’s my Top 5 Best Folk Duos of 2018.
5. Winsome Kind
With smooth harmonies and two voices who seem to interlock so air-tight like a ziplock bag, what’s not to love? Specifically, with their track “We Call It Home.” The simple strumming fo the guitar is not so simple in the grand scheme of their sound. It’s dreamy, classy, and all-together wonderful. Their lyrics are heartfelt and homey, like a fireplace and a cup of hot chocolate. I’m excited for more of them in my life, and the lives of other folk/singer-songwriter lovers. Plus, they seem adorable. Which, I know, is not my job to say, but look at them. I want them to be my best friends.
4. Five Islands
For the folk purists out there, this duo is for you. You want the acoustic cut-time strum? Yep. Fiddle? Uh, yeah. Creamy-like-butter harmonies? You bet. Downhome country-esque lyrics, including a mention of Texas? Sure. And if you still aren’t convinced, they are siblings. Come on… you don’t get any purer than that! Her voice has a grit that makes me joyful and his smoky tenor texture only adds to my aural happiness. For reference, you can listen to their song, “No More Dancing.” It’s a work of beautiful art.
3. A Choir of Ghosts
They do tend to strattle the fine line between folk and singer/songwriter, but so do many other artists. Why put it in a box? But this group is one to watch. Their songs are nuanced and full of material… ups, downs, ins, outs, symphonic, acoustic, harmonies, layered melodies. They are not one note (see what I did there?) and I love that about them. As their latest music is truly lovely and generous, I will leave you with “Ester.” It’s a lyrical gem and a full-fledged hit in my book. The lyrics include the words, “over and over again,” and I think that sums up me listening to this song and duo over… and over… and over again.
2. Frances Luke Accord
So, umm, gimme more forever, please? Mmmmk? I could listen to “Who Do You Run From” every day for my lifetime and I think I’d still be perfectly content with that decision. As a duo, they are layered and full of so many classic folk-isms, but with such a great texture and fire that I’ve not heard in a long, long time. They have the ability to take a folk tune and make it hum, grab, burn, and move. Yeah, I know… I’m being a bit loosy goosy with my verbiage, but I will stand by it. Do yourself a favor and watch out for them. I’m so, literally so, excited to see what they do this upcoming year. I’m waiting impatiently for their bright future. For your pleasure, here’s the song I spoke of.
And drumroll, please….
(For those who notice, yes, they are technically a 4-piece band. But I couldn’t stop myself from breaking the rules. I’m a rule breaker, baby.)
Ahem… Here we go.
Decadent, precise, full-bodied, and every other synonym to describe absolutely delicious. That’s how I feel about Evergreen. And sure, that may seem too flowery a description, but let’s just agree to agree here, alright? Cool.
Vocally, they are so tight and complimentary of each other, that you just have to close your eyes and bask in it. They both have very different voices, and yet they blend so well. I LOVE THAT. No really, I do. It’s like musical magic when that happens. Musically, they are clear, simple, but not understated. They build and add when necessary and allow the quietness to reign when it needs to. As for the song I wanted to post here, it was difficult, but I’ve chosen “Hearts Remain” because of it’s darker, melancholic theme, and the vocals are so damn perfect, I just can’t. I can’t with them. I won’t say anymore… just listen.