Callum Pitt – “Here if you need”
-I like the easy going style that Callum Pitt brings to his music. There’s a familiarity to his rolling folk style that feels comfortable and engaging. When you take the full song in, it’s a really good time. It’s ultimately about running away with someone you fancy. That’s theme enough for a pop-feeling folk song if I’ve ever heard it. Worth a spin!
Westin and Mowry – “I’m awake for sure”
-This is an exciting, energetic track with an understated vocal. I’m enamored by the way the keys in the background (both keyboard and piano) seem to create a texture for the lead vocal. It’s dreamlike in the best way possible. Of course, the lyrics are about convincing yourself that this is real. It’s endearing, quite!
Gatlin – “Cold Night in Brooklyn”
-This track has a bit more of a commercial hue than a lot that we cover, but it’s so perfectly done we had to support it. Gatlin’s vocal is crystal clear, which really pulls the listener into the song. The backing track helps to create a comfortable style. You can almost picture a cold night in Brooklyn, cuddled around a fire (or, let’s be honest, a TV streaming Netflix). The lyrics are intimate yet accessible. This track is perfect for a romantic or easy listening playlist for sure.
Emily James – “I saw your face”
-We have covered Emily James quite a bit in the past two years and we’re not apologizing one bit. She’s an exceptionally gifted songwriter. James has an intimacy in her vocal that wins me over with every new track. This track is about that rush of feelings you get when you meet someone new and start falling for them so fast. It’s a fantastic track that will have you thoughtfully reflecting on some moments that… let’s be honest… will make you feel pretty uncomfortable (in the good way).
Tyler James Bellinger – “Feels like home”
-I don’t always judge a track by its cover, but Bellinger’s introspective look and inexplicable chandelier full of lit candles had my interest immediately. Then the song itself has this power pop style to it that demands the attention of everyone within earshot. The lyrics are convicting, about pulling in someone who seems like they are on the fence. I could be wrong, but I think it’s about fighting for a relationship when you’re tempted to walk away. It’s got some real attitude and I dig the pop rock core of the track.
Nicky Ash – “Beautiful”
-This piano pop song was written about the lead singer’s mother. The familial spirit comes through in each line. I was totally blown away by the quality of the vocal here. We hear a LOT of singer songwriters who don’t even come close to the quality of this vocal. It cuts through the air and feels like she’s practically whisper singing it into your ear. The production quality here allows this one to stand out in an otherwise overcrowded singer songwriter scene.
Simon Alexander – “Then, Maybe”
-We have covered Simon Alexander’s wonderful acoustic folk music in the past, so we’re happy to feature it again on this list. The phrasing that he uses is really exciting. I like the way he can talk about a rocky relationship with such plaintive sincerity. This track proves to me that you don’t need major production studios to write a song that will move someone’s heart. This one is beautiful.
The Sleeves – “Into the Well”
-I remember the first time I heard the male-female duo harmonies from the Civil Wars. I remember there were a lot of imitation artists that came in the wake of their Grammy winning success. The Sleeves are not an imitation, artist, though, but they deserve the comparison with the intimacy and sincerity of the Civil Wars. There’s a beautiful, articulate folk style to the music of the Sleeves. The lyrics are a bit abstract, but the full composition feels satisfyingly artful.
Phil Coomer – “Dance across the mountains”
-Songs like this one from Phil Coomer are why I became a blogger. I might not ever hear this song on the big time radio station near me, but the John Denver-esque style from Coomer is absolutely wonderful. The quality of the vocal harmonies here is simply amazing. I would guess that Coomer has spent some time with Denver and James Taylor records over the years. The joyful sincerity of the strings on this song is sure to put a smile on the face of anyone. The chorus is my favorite, but the verses make me think of some of my favorite old singers from my own life. This one’s a gift.
Vincent Lima – “Escape”
-I can’t explain why this song makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up, but that’s the kind of effect I look for when processing music. I think it’s because Lima puts so much spirit into his writing. The chords from the piano are merely a vehicle for his soulfully expressive vocal. I don’t know what’s got him shackled that he needs to escape, but I can tell you there’s an immense amount of pain being processed with this song. Whether its yourself or a loved one, if you’re familiar with addiction this song will wretch at your soul and make you feel alive.