Smooth Hound Smith – “Waiting for a spark”
-If you’re looking for a timeless country-flavored Americana tune, SHS bring a really nice one here. The lead female vocal is really impressive, flavoring the entire track. Once it picks up it becomes a bit more commercial country, but the overall mood is engaging. It sure got my toes tapping.
Lauren Pratt – “Twenty-Five”
-From the very first strum, this song got my attention. I can’t quite explain why because there are a lot of songs with acoustic guitars, but it rolled nicely into a dusky female lead vocal that stunned me. It reminds me of the kind of music from the glory days of Willie and Kris. If you’re craving authentic country music about outrunning the law and a healthy dash of rebellious faith, this is the perfect song for you. I really dig the outlaw spirit and raw originality of this track.
Zephaniah Stringfield – “Bit o the blues”
-We covered Stringfield recently, but here is sneaking into another playlist. Bringing a charm that we haven’t heard since Clem Snide, Stringfield has a throwback sound that feels like he stepped right out of the 30s. The toe-tapping joy in the song construction will have you smiling through the hard times. It’s a timeless little ditty that I enjoyed from first listen.
Albie and the Wolves – “I’d Go Anywhere”
-Rule number one about Americana is that you don’t actually have to be from “America” to make it. This band from New Zealand brings more authentic Americana than most of the groups in the genre. I dig the combination of the strings and the vocals here. The melody feels like you’ve heard it a thousand times, yet still feels fresh and enjoyable. I’ll tell you what; if that alto female vocal on the second verse doesn’t make your hair stand… whew. This is a band making my short list of ones to watch for sure!
David Ellis – “Baby She Roam”
-If I’m honest, this is as much a 60s pop song as it is Americana. But you know what? I like it here. I like the easy going pop goodness with the delightful melody on the chorus. The light and airy harmonies on the chorus puts a smile on my face every time. If you ever think you miss the days of the Greenwich Village folk scene, spin some David Ellis and know that the old folk legacy is alive and well.
Stephen Hunley – “Fast as I can”
-First of all, don’t sleep on this record. Absolutely do not glance over this one because if you are looking for rich lead vocal and an authentic country-flavored sound you need this song in your life. Fans of bluesy southern Americana music are going to fall hard for Hunley’s music and style. I even put him in the Green River Ordinance category in terms of gospel-flavored goodness. I really like this song.
Surplus Daughters – “I wish, I wish”
-This song gives me chills because it feels like family to me. To be clear, I’m not related to the Surplus Daughters, but honestly they feel like distant kin when I listen to this song. The picking feels sweet and sincere. The vocals though win my heart. I literally am 12 years old again singing songs with my cousin on my Grandpap’s farm. Only music can do that. I love this song and hope to meet these talented Appalachian harmony singers soon.
Jason Tyler Burton – “Date night at the Dairy Queen”
-I’m not sure if you know this or not, but Kentucky is churning out some incredibly talented musicians these days. It’s really easy to put Burton in the category of original Americana artists from that region. The lyrics will have to crooning Dylan-esque turns of phrase about salt of the earth people. For any of us born in working class America (Ohio valley, here), this is a song that resonates in the soul. Burton captures a sad, raw reality of life in 21st century America.