Americana – Music from sea to shining sea

Farewell Company – “Shadows”
-The jangly Americana style from Farewell Company keeps impressing me. I don’t always jive with this type of loose, party folk rock music, but this band seems to strike a chord (see what I did there?) with me. I think it’s the fact that the guitar work is so unconventional, making it feel more like a 60s mashup than a conventional Americana style. There’s no jug band at this party, I’ll tell you that. It sounds more like a CSNY deep cut than it does some kind of banjo-based song about a pickup truck. This one’s got spirit.

JoDee Lewis – “Buzzard’s Bluff”
-Lewis has an engaging, lyrically heavy narrative folk style. But what you’ll hear from the start is that this has a dark side to it. The minor key tips off the listener to pending trouble. This isn’t a feel good gospel tune, for sure. Instead, it’s more likely to remind you of the desperation of a bayou blues tune that comes before the conversion gospel song. Dig into the story and feel something in your core. This is what Americana is all about.

Catherine MacLellan – “Out of time”
-MacLellan is technically Canadian, but she’s allowed to sing me this Americana song anywhere. Whew. This one is about as smooth and beautiful as they come. The easy going beat introduces a lovely voice, delivering poetic lyrics. I can relate to those lyrics about going places where it’s hard to stay. “All the time in the world is over.” Now that’s a line! Sometimes there’s just no way to fix what’s broken. I wish this song didn’t resonate like it does, but wow. Chills.

The Teskey Brothers – “Hold Me”
-Okay so spoiler alert – the Teskey Brothers are not American. They are from Australia, but they attribute Stax and Motown for shaping their sound. Let’s adopt them, shall we, America? I’ll tell you what, with half a listen I started clapping and singing along. This is what gospel, soul, and blues music sounds like as it lives in the modern day. I love that this tradition has spread across the world and I adore how powerful this song is. Around 1:45 there’s a bit a of a surprise shift in the sound, but I’ll let y’all discover that for yourselves.

Chris King and the Gutterballs – “Mama Gaia”
-I almost put this song on an indie rock playlist, but frankly Chris King and the Gutterballs are a bit too timeless in their style for that. This song feels like it could have come from the early 70s. I like the tone of the lead vocalist and the sound of the guitars. There’s a kind of Canned Heat energy to what they are doing. They could share the stage with Buffalo Springfield with this sound and no one would bat a lash. This is a classic song about love and hope for something better. It’s a great sound.

Mara Connor and Langhorne Slim – “Someone New”
-Well, what have we here? A male female duo in Americana that’s not trying to sound like the Civil Wars! That’s amazing. Honestly these two sound great together. I can’t really explain what they do so well, but they kind of sound more like Simon and Garfunkel than they do any contemporary male-female duos. That’s a compliment from a folk blogger, for sure. I like that this recording feels a little rough around the edges, meant to be consumed with a stiff drink and the hope that the next relationship is the one that will work out.

Jeramiah Red – “Wandering”
-At the time of posting this, the track literally has 2 views. If you’d click play on this one, I’d be personally obliged. If you like it, give this fella a follow because he is well on his way to a successful career. When we listen to Americana we’re often looking for something like Jason Isbell and Chris Stapleton, the soulful and engaging style that doesn’t just repeat the same old cliches. With Red, we found that in spades. Jeramiah Red sings with soul and writes with the right kind of twists and turns. When the band creates a bit of space for his vocal to steal the stage on the chorus, I’ll tell you what. BOY… I’ll tell you damn what. That’s it right there. When this one hits the end, I’ll bet you a fiver you play it again.

JB Boone – “The World Shrinker”
-It’s hard to explain to some artists what quality recording really means. Here. This is what I mean. Listen to this track. Listen to the exceptional mix. Listen to the way the lead vocal takes precedence but the guitars still sound amazing. Listen to how the left and right channels produce a wonderfully strong folk rock sound. This is a fantastic Americana song. The acoustic break leaves the listener thinking about the lyric of being “left for dead.” Then the next verse gets you thinking about just how small you are in the grand scope of the world. This ain’t Woody Guthrie Americana music, but it’s folk rock with a modern energy that I think makes it perfect for this playlist. But sorry JB, I don’t hate this song. 😀

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