Folk and Americana to sooth the soul

Titus Calderbank – “Mistakes”
-This is one of the most impressive, dynamic Americana songs I’ve heard in years. I had never heard Calderbank’s name before clicking play on this song, but he won me over immediately. There’s a power in the vocal that really transcends the song. The lyrics about reconciliation and cooperation are universal truths that work really well. This could be and should be a massive pop hit.

Wilder Woods – “Sure Ain’t”
-It recently came out that Wilder Woods is actually Bear Rinehart from NeedToBreathe, so I guess I can stop making that comparison in my coverage of this music. I really love the throwback Stax vibe of this song. Of course it’s not at all surprising that an Alabama boy would write music like this. It’s become cliche at this point, but there’s something in the damn water down there. This is incredible soulful Americana music. I could listen to this on repeat (and probably will).

Caleb Mabrey – “Just be friends”
-I found Caleb Mabrey last week and can’t believe he’s brand new on the scene. This music has a complexity to it that reveals years of music production. With comparisons to Noah Gundersen and David Ramirez in his description, I was skeptical. But hot damn this young fella can make some legit music. The production layers are deeply rewarding, allowing the sobering and honest lyrics to take over. If you’ve ever heard (or stated) the ill-fated “just friends” line, this song will stick with you.

Kathryn Legendre – “Going Crazy”
-We probably process 100 country tracks per every one that sounds like it belongs in the genre. And let me tell you Legendre absolutely has some country bonafides. Everything from the fiddle to the perfect amount of twang in the guitars, this is a timeless country music sound. Even the confessional lyrics are perfect for a mid-60s pop country sound. I don’t know what they can hear in heaven, but if they can hear it I bet Merle and George are tapping toes to this one.

Dom Louis – “Give it if you’ve got it”
-I think Dom Louis is one of the fastest rising stars in folk rock right now. If this music was coming out in the 60s, he’d be sharing stages with David Crosby and Jackson Browne. There’s a classic element to what he’s doing, but it also feels brand new. The guitar work is in a class all its own right now. If I was hosting an Americana festival, I’d invite this guy in a heartbeat. This is what timeless Americana folk rock is all about. A touch of blues and a lot of attitude, Dom Louis is our kind of artist.

New West – “Those Eyes”
-Tracks like “Those Eyes” by New West are honestly why I became a music blogger. I can’t believe that I’m not hearing this music all over the place. The lyrics are UNBELIEVABLE. It’s a love song that could seriously rank with something from Paul McCartney. The balance of the guitar and piano for the backing track create the perfect base for the lead singer’s gentle tenor vocal. Fans of Coldplay on back to the Beatles themselves will enjoy this breathtaking love song.

Wilder Woods – “Supply and Demand”
-We love covering neosoul music when it’s done well. The problem is that it’s often just hip hop with another name. This track from Wilder Woods, though, is what neosoul is all about. Sounding a bit like St Paul and the Broken Bones on this one, Woods brings a snappy pop soul style to our ears. It’s about love with a sultriness that makes it stand out in the crowd but with a decency that could have filled the airwaves in the 60s. It’s crispy, clean, and perfect for fans of the Stax/Motown era.

Cat Clyde – “So Cold”
-We’ve covered Cat Clyde several times for this new release. I’m very confident her album will be on my end of year list. Clyde has become a bit of an automatic “yes” when submissions roll in. Her scathing lyrical style are stealing the show for me lately. Clyde’s performance chops are absolutely amazing to me. The obvious attitude and anger in reference to the lyrics is almost theatrically brilliant. Clyde is a show stopper.

The High Divers – “Ride With You”
-When it comes to folk and Americana music, there’s a lot of variables to what can make a song stick with me. But I’ll tell you one thing that works every time; if you can sing in brilliant harmony and articulate meaningful lyrics, I will be interested. The moving tempo on the verses here gets the listener prepared for the fun loving 90s country vibe on the chorus. When it all comes together, the song feels like a perfect blend of timeless rock and country elements from the past 60 years. It just works.

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