A folk playlist to bring us on home for 2019

Motel Sundown – “Chicago”
-If you’re a fan of the kind of indie pop folk music that we often feature on ETTG, you should stop what you’re doing and play this track from Motel Sundown. The lead vocal feels like it could have stepped right off the stage at Woodstock. The harmonies are delightful and the full production feels like a different time (in the best way possible). I love the way the lush guitars fill the sound without washing out the vocals. The production is brilliant.

Mosa – “Hard Times”
-Hard times in 2019? Say it ain’t so. It’s amazing to live in a modern industrialized city with high speed internet and an abundance of food, but still feel like we’re in such dire times. We are. This kind of cathartic acoustic music feels like the same kind of chill rock that got people through the tumult of the 60s. It’s a beautiful track with an amazing lead vocal and lush instrumentation in the second half that feels like a journey home. There’s a ton of raw emotion in this song. I dig it.

Rainy Eyes – “Moon in the Mirror”
-If you love iconic country music styles, you will enjoy Rainy Eyes. This song feels like it could have been cut back in the 1950s. The way the electric guitar meets the traditional strings feels delightfully organic. It’s a sound that is sorely missed in country music today, so I’m happy to support it here. Share it with all your loved ones. It’s a gem.

D. Smith and Annalibera – “Was You”
-Folk duos have always been a favorite of mine, so to find this one with such unique voices and gentle connection… wow, it stole my heart right away. D Smith sounds a bit like Casey Abrams, who I love. Add in the delicate Joni Mitchell flavors of Annalibera and you’ve got something absolutely magical. The harmonies feel timeless, the message romantic, and the overall vibe makes me want to slowdance with my missus. Mmmhmm.

Luke James Shaffer – “Wash”
-With a modern spin on some gospel classics, Shaffer brings some new energy to old fashioned music. Shaffer’s overall style is soulful and inspiring. The use of space with hand claps and acapella parts are really moving as well. Even if you don’t believe the gospel that Shaffer’s singing here, the song has appeal as a piece of brilliant music on its own. I hope his benediction about everything changing is prophetic.

Stu Larsen – “The Loudest Voice”
-Every time I listen to Stu Larsen I think to myself “I should really listen to him more.” It’s magical the way that Larsen can blend his unique vocal with some magical string work. The rhythms are always so special. I’ve never heard a vocal line from Larsen and thought it was like someone else. He truly stands out as a uniquely talented folk artist and a voice of our time. Let’s do better to support him.

Kyle Blankenship – “Under”
-Blankenship was new to me with this track, but I definitely took notice right away. The clean electric guitar line reminds me a bit of what I like about Rayland Baxter. The vocal has just enough touch of rasp to remind me a little of the Americana icon Jason Isbell. When these factors blend together, they create a really fascinating sound. Blankenship’s particular brand of Americana is of interest to me. The sound has a spine and feels like the real deal. When he takes off on his desperate yell at the start of the bridge, there’s something primal about the performance. I’ll be back for more.

Oliver Hazard – “Gold Teeth Girl”
-This is what folk music is all about. The lyrics are laugh out loud funny. The jangly banjo is the soul of the piece and the gang vocals are enough to make the whole party join in. If you listen to this song without smiling, you probably need to get your pulse checked. It’s heaps of fun and will get your toes tapping for sure. It’s just a good time, slapstick little folk tune.

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