Blaine Sharp – “Road to nowhere”
-From the first time I clicked play on this song, I could tell there’s an expressive soul behind the music. Sharp’s lyrical style and endearing vocal work really well here. Something about it reminds me of a slowed down song in a musical. The string work feels comfortable, like a lullaby. The uncertainty of the lyrics seems to be lulled into comfort by the sweetness of the melody. It’s quaint, in a word.
Callum Orr – “You are a place I used to live”
-Callum Orr has one of those guitar styles that can awaken people from whatever they are doing to stop and pay attention. The crooning melody here feels timeless, which allows the string work to stand out even more. The “now you’re just a melody” line, complete with that little modulation, makes this song an instant stand out. It’s amazing how the smallest details are what separate good from great. I’m happy to call this a great song.
Simen Lyngroth – “Morning Light”
-You can listen to thousands of folk demos before you ever hear a piece with this kind of sincerity and depth to it. The minimal approach might seem easy to pull off – after all less is more – but it’s incredibly complex what Lyngroth is doing. Every crack of the vocal, every misplaced finger on the guitar, every minor detail can result in a botched performance. This had to be perfect and it is. Poetic lyricism, deep emotional sincerity, and a soul-crushing realism. I am moved.
Kevin Dalton and the Tuesday Blooms – “The Dirt”
-If agricultural metaphors are for you, then this one is hay in the barn. Wait, what? Okay maybe it’s like a fine pasture field and you’re a grazing cow. Does that work? Anyways, the song has a nice mix of folk string work and some near-rock gritty vox. The blend is not like anything you’ve ever heard before but it honestly works well. The production takes an interesting act to the “next level.” I am impressed with the writing, the blending, and the overall performance. This deserves strong critical acclaim.
Noah Derksen – “Nothing”
-I think I’ve covered every Noah Derksen track I’ve received for a year or so now. He’s writing with a style that touches my soul, it’s as simple as that. I really enjoy the use of space between lines. Every strummed chord and every poetic line has purpose. In a world with so much “noise” billed as music, it’s nice to hear someone just sing from the heart. Let’s shine the spotlight on this lad and get him the spins he deserves.