Ron Pope – “My Wildest Dreams”
-“You’re not quite what I pictured you would be. You’re better than my wildest dreams.” Aw, what a line! Ron Pope has a gift for songwriting that we’re happy we’ve recently discovered. But the acoustic sentimentality at the heart of Pope’s songwriting keeps his loyal fans coming back for more. The sweet sincerity of this song is sure to be perfect for that fireside relaxing time, whether it’s with a loved one or a good book.
Ben Strawn – “Something New”
-I have a sneaking suspicion that 2020 is going to be a big year for Ben Strawn. This song shows off a depth and sincerity in songwriting that puts me in mind of Rusty Clanton. Being that Clanton is one of my favorite songwriters of all time, it’s obvious that Strawn is headed down a promising path. The seeking, wanderlust sentiment of the song is relatable for so many of us creative types. The moral conundrum at the core of the lyrics carries weight beyond being just another nice acoustic track. This one’s got legs and the songwriter’s got a gift.
Lullanas – “Memphis”
-Twin sisters who are both acoustic singer songwriters, one with a penchant for country music and the other indie folk? Color us interested! Seriously from first listen, Lullanas pulled me with their brilliant production and style. The harmonies are not necessarily the driving force, but instead provide little highlights along the way. These two represent a delightful duo, primed for significant success. Something about the crooning lyric about a fleeing lover seems perfect for a timeless country style with that modern Taylor Swift aesthetic. It’s a quintessentially roots-informed 2020 style track and were are absolutely here for it.
Stu Larsen – “Phone Call From My Lover”
-If you’ve been around my folk coverage for any period of time, you know I’m a big fan of Stu Larsen’s inimitable style. His expressive lines roll right into each other seemingly effortlessly, although I’m sure he works hard in his songwriting. But listen to this little chords on this track, setting up each expressive line. It’s got a built in tension. Honestly, this is what separates some of the sophomoric artists we’ve covered from someone like Larsen, who has been honing his craft for years. Every line is perfectly placed; he’s a mastercraftsman and we are delighted to enjoy his writing.
Orla Gartland – “Heavy”
-Gartland is an auto-accept for me at this point. Her songwriting is on another level. The sense of melody is always poignant and strong. But this song presents a wonderful juxtaposition of weighty lyrics and a light composition style. As the two connect in your mind, they create this feeling of conflict-meets-resolution. Sometimes in life you just have to dwell in the heaviness of a situation. Gartland captures that beautifully here. I am SO IMPRESSED by her with every track.