Ben Strawn – “See in color”
-Ben Strawn has the perfect balance of understated vocal and moving melody. Something about this track reminds me of the Spring Standards, who I love. It’s a really nice chilled out sound that brings together a lot of what folks enjoy about the indie music “vibe.” The lyrics, too, can be quite chilling if you think about the concept of who your enemies really are. It’s worth a spin for sure.
Chris Capaldi – “Frequency”
-We’ve featured Capaldi in the past for his quality blues guitar work and solid vocals. It’s hard not to hear the Springsteen quality to the sound. The overall mix, especially the tastefully delivered electric guitar highlights, feels like a song from the 70s given a fresh life in the modern music scene. It’s definitely a track that defies genre and generational conventions.
B Hamilton – “North San Juan”
-If you think ETTG features too many artists that sound similar, click play on this excellent track from B Hamilton. It’s a sound that feels as classic as it does brand new. The guitar and lead vocal are spot on fantastic. The class-based sensibility in the lyrics is sure to resonate with a lot of the folks who follow this site. This one’s for the outsiders… and we’re here for it.
Matt Sperrazza – “Pittsburgh”
-I liked this track from first listen because I love the Ben Rector style pop piano ballad style. I fell deeper for the song because the subject is dear to my heart being a native of Western PA. That said, I think it’s a really well put together pop song that deserves wider exposure. The chord structure and vocal delivery are fantastic. I could see this becoming a big hit on a TV show soundtrack or the like.
Mylo Waters – “Live it on up”
-Let’s not bury the lede here; I put this song on my song of the year list straight away. This kind of energetic pop soul music is one of my favorite things in all of music. There’s a kind of Bill Withers lighthearted joy to the song that wins me every time. This feels like the kind of song that you’d hear a band jam to on a weekend in a bar dancing with friends. The joyful vibe and exceptional vocals makes this an instantly loveable song.
The Criticals – “Got no love for me”
-This songs wasn’t written in 1965 (as far as I know), but it sure sounds like it. Even the recording quality feels vintage. I’d love to learn more about the production of this track. It feels like it should be spinning on a 45 in the midst of the Cold War. What a cool, timeless sound. (It reminds me a little of the Yardbirds “For your love.”) And anyone who has ever been rejected by a would-be lover can totally connect with the lyrics. This is a fascinating tune well worth a spin.
The Social Hour – “You break my heart”
-The muted trumpet in the opening of this track works really well. The stripped down classic jazz style is delightful and pleasing. But what I like most about the piece is the way that it captures old school jazz in a modern way. There’s no need for new bells and whistles; it captures that timeless art so well. The vocal is great, too, creating an approachable tone and style in a genre that can sometimes feel a bit too aloof for the common listener. This is perfect for dancing with your love. I’m going to test this theory with my own bride of 13 years. 🙂
Ruby Gilbert – “Slave”
-This is a powerful blues rock track from Ruby Gilbert. I put it on an Americana playlist, even though Gilbert is Australian. It’s an excellent example of what raw bluesy rock can do. The lyrics and vocal style match up well for the genre. This one’s for the middle of a night out when things are getting a little hazy. Mmhmm.
Alan Barnosky – “Might be a call”
-We’ve covered Barnosky many times on this page, which is why we keep coming back for more! His lonesome bluegrass-tinged folk sound is perfect for these haunting times. The subtle harmonies on the chorus seep through to your soul. If you’re looking for a sound that’s as fresh as these first few mountain snows, give Barnosky a spin. You’ll be saying “yes” to all of his tracks like us.
Esme Patterson – “Light in your window”
-I don’t know whether to call this “pop” or alternative, but whatever it is, Patterson can sing really well. The groove has elements of 80s, 90s, and 2000s pop music. The track does a really nice job of creating these intimate “spaces” in the music. The energy is palpable and I dig this one a lot. I hope you do too.