Sam Lynch – “Not My Body”
-Sam Lynch is an incredible singer. Full stop. That’s really all I need to say about this song. But you know what? It also packs a powerful lyrical punch as well. Stylistically it’s a dash of jazz with a healthy dose of singer songwriter cool, but no matter what you call it this is a song worth your time. It’s perfect for a contemplative singer songwriter playlist. You should make one of those and add Lynch’s work here.
The 5:55 – “Headlights”
-I appreciate the high energy of the 5:55. They’ve consistently stood out for me over the past several months. The chords progress naturally, pulling the listener in to melodies that feel familiar without being derivative. If you grew up in the 90s and early 2000s with all the pop punk and vibey indie rock, this track will shine bright for you. You might say it’s… illuminating.
Okay Mann – “Ring Road”
-I am such a sucker for song like this one from Okay Mann. Here’s what it has – a positive, hopeful message with a quality acoustic guitar, stellar lead vocal, and horns for accents. I honestly couldn’t dream up a track I’d like more than this. It’s a definite contender for song of the year for me. I’ll be spinning it all year (and probably beyond). Maybe I should get my trumpet back out for when these cats come on tour! (He jokes, nervously.)
Toby Johnson – “Isla”
-I don’t know if you’ve picked this up over the years, but I love folk music. So when I heard the organic, charming sounds of Toby Johnson I immediately clicked accept. His music has a certain texture to it that feels richly “true.” In a world of so many production tricks, Johnson simply is the genuine article. I don’t know who Isla is, but Johnson’s sentimental and expressive lyrics will put a smile on your face even if you’re not her.
Grizfolk – “Hurricane”
–Grizfolk are one of those bands who have been around for a bit, so we were happy to get this track from them. The opening feels a bit typical of most folk music, but then when you get to the chorus it absolutely ROCKETS away. Sorry for mixing the metaphor of the hurricane (which is also quite powerful), but for me there’s a real tangible sense of the sound soaring when it gets to the gang vocal on the chorus. It’s hard not to think of bands like Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes on this one. It’s got moxy.
Thin Lear – “Your Family”
-There’s a soft, gentle style to Thin Lear’s writing on this track. I appreciate the additional depth that the organ adds in the background. It allows the lead vocal to pop nicely over the rest of the composition. The narrative lyrical style feels like timeless folk, even if the rest feels a bit more experimental. The entire composition is worth exploring, especially for fans of artists like Joni Mitchell or Brandi Carlisle.
Civiliana – “VOID”
-Some of you will be really glad to hear a harder rock song in this mix. Civiliana really surprised me with this one. It begins pretty methodical, but after the break you hear a KILLER guitar riff and some scorching vocals. For people who think rock music is “dead,” play them this track. It’s got the soul of a lion. The questioning, cerebral lyrics show that rock can be poetic in its own way. But mostly, you’ll just want to crank that guitar solo and bang your head every time the chorus rolls around.
Emma Elisabeth – “Cavalry”
-Emma Elisabeth is one of those artists that just showed up recently and consistently surprises me with her quality. Of course the vocal is top quality, but beyond that the overall song just feels right. There are hints of Fleetwood Mac at times, maybe even sort of pop in the vein of Sheryl Crow. Either way, Elisabeth has the ability to make a song feel like a natural piece of a playlist regardless of your mood.
Lizzy Land – “Losing My Head”
-If you put this song on a playlist and play it for your friends, they will ask you about it. Lizzy Land has tapped into a magical music moment that we’re in right now. It’s a palatable, infectious electro pop style that will get you dancing just the right amount. The lyrics are introspective but seems not to take themselves too seriously. This is such a fun, positive-vibe-filled track. I dig it.
Jamey Cummins – “Hinterland”
-Let’s end this little playlist with a gentle, intriguing folk tune. Cummins has one of those voices that sounds like he’s seen some places and taken some adventures. When you combine that with some note-perfect guitar picking, the composition feels really good. I guess you could call it “indie pop” in a sense, but regardless of genre this is a delightful song about seeing through the hard times. It’s sort of a lyrical folk version of the axiom, “learn from your mistakes.” It’s thoughtful and beautiful at the same time.