Laurin Hunter – “Silver and Blue”
-I like this track from Laurin Hunter because it has so many of the key elements of good music for me. Hunter’s guitar and vocal are both extremely quality. I try not to throw around iconic comparisons too often, but Hunter has a real vintage Stephen Stills sound to his work. I think this song deserves considerably more airplay. The romantic context is wonderful and the performance is exceptional.
Jamie McDell – “Extraordinary Girl”
-There’s something about the “girl and her guitar” kind of music that will always hold a special place in my heart. The acoustic core of this track is absolutely perfect. The down home lyricism will put a smile on the face of our faithful folk and roots country music readers. McDell has the uncanny ability to allow her vocal to feel familiar and sweet while nailing all of the dynamics required for a song like this. It’s romantic, sure, but it’ll also keep you humble. This is a great track.
Roland Lewis – “Wait”
-Let the strings mingle in the air to create something beautiful. The air around Roland Lewis’s remarkable track “Wait” is hard to describe, really. The strings themselves are intricate and engaging, then comes a hauntingly sweet vocal that cuts right through the air. I could listen to this calm, peaceful type of music for hours and hours. It’s such an incredibly unique treat to find a song that is this well crafted from start to finish. As if I wasn’t in love enough, the horns enter. Be still my heart.
Sabel – “Two by two”
-This song is delightful. I can’t quite figure out if it’s old timey or distinctly modern. What I can feel, though, is that there’s a genuineness to it. The lyrics will make you think and the music will help you to relax. When you take the song in total, it’s a beautifully engaging experience. I think it would be a nice little poppy folk tune to slow dance with the one you love.
Hanna Turi – “Expand your mind”
-I have always been a sucker for vocal harmonies, so of course I melted when I first heard Hanna Turi’s music. There’s also an engaging power ballad style to the song once it gets going. The indie pop core of the song does my heart good. The harmonies, though, remain the most important part of the track. Sometimes the 80s energy feels a bit strange, but the chord changes and dynamic vocal work on the chorus make it all worthwhile. This is an adventurous little track.
Lauren Hibberd – “Hoochie”
-Hibberd has a really authentic style. She reminds me of the girls I knew in high school who could not be bothered by what others told them to do or how to act. It’s actually a very “punk” ethos despite being more of a straightforward indie rock track. No matter the category, the wry commentary on life and hard driving rhythm is sure to find a lot of fans among our more rock-minded readers.
Josh Lee Hamilton – “Here with you”
-This is our first time running into Josh Lee Hamilton, but based on this one track it’s easy to hear that we’ll have him back. There’s something special in Hamilton’s expressive vocal style. The way he creates space between the guitar and the vocal melody is really exquisite. I don’t know who he’s singing about, but you can tell that he means every line. I can’t think of a good comparison here (maybe Jackson Browne?), but Hamilton’s songwriting is refreshingly pure. I can’t wait to hear more of this kind of acoustic singer songwriter solo purity.
Cat Clyde – “Bird Bone”
-I almost decided to save this track for a different playlist; Clyde certainly deserves her own feature on the site (maybe coming soon?). This track hits the listener right between the ears, I’ll tell you that. Clyde’s powerful vocal makes no apologies on this track from the start. Then, to make it even better, there’s a vintage vibe to the song that is absolutely incredible. When the style and the vocal meet, it makes for an electrifying listening experience. This could have come out in the 60s, but fortunately for us it’s fresh as a daisy right now. I chair dance every time and I’m not even mad.
Joe Kaplow – “Mavourneen”
-So let’s handle this first; Mavourneen is not a what, it’s a who. It’s a woman’s name. Now listen to the lyrics. It makes more sense. This is a delightful little love song. The “you are… syncopated royalty” line makes me so happy, honestly. Kaplow reminds me a bit of the Tallest Man on this one. It’s just a delightful little acoustic folk tune from an amazingly talented artist. I can’t believe the layers of complexity here that come across as just another gentle toe-tapping love song. Even the harmonies on the chorus are perfect. This is the kind of folk music that I crave in my life.
Nicolette Macleod – “Opium and smoke”
-Sit down for this one. Nicolette Macleod is going to change your life. Macleod has a gritty authenticity that you just don’t hear much in music these days. There’s a dash of Janis and a bit of Joni in her work. But there’s a lot of uniqueness to the vocal quality that Macleod brings, highlighting the raw and engaging lyrics. This track has the potential to shake up the folk genre if it gets to the right audiences. It’s powerful.