Athanese – “Wolves”
-On first listen I thought the production was a bit heavy handed on this track from Athanese. Chill out, I thought. But I listened again and “got it.” The big production is because the song has a lot of energy. It has to convey a sense of the adrenaline rush of survival. That’s what the song is ultimately about. The slowed down folk duo elements give the poetic verses space to be heard, but the chorus is a declaration of survival. This is a cool sound you haven’t heard before but you’re going to like!
Sam Nichol – “Midnight”
-This might err on the side of folk rock more than pure folk, but all you modern day Tom Petty fans should stop what you’re doing and listen to this guy. Sam Nichol has one of the most unique voices I’ve heard in recent folk music. The energy of the composition leaves little doubt about the substance of the message. The chromatic work on the bridge is a stroke of brilliance. This is not your average jangly folk tune — and we love it for that!
The Collection – “In love with your soul”
-It’s so cliche to share a love song the week of Valentine’s Day, but to be fair we would share this any week! This incredible little song has the heart of a folk troubadour and a melody that woos us all. The delicate phrasing, quality lead vocal, and inspiring lyrics are excellent. As a man happily married for *does the math in his head* a long time… and a former horn player… this song brings out a whole lot of feels.
Talia Grace – “Melancholy”
-If you’re looking to have your heart break during a song, click play on this one. It’s sad, truly. It’s also delicately beautiful and deadly serious. I admire the “diary entry” sincerity of the lyrics about God, love, and loneliness. It’s a song that will cause a lot of reflection. Maybe it’ll make a few people pray, which would be a great outcome.
Nathan Evans Fox – “Cigarettes and Moon Pies”
-I can’t decide if this is folk music or country music. Perfect. I love this middle ground. The narrative style reminds me of the greats of the genre. This is the kind of song I’d love to play for John Prine and hear what he has to say. Ramblin’ Jack Elliott would be proud of this here tune. I love the acoustic guitar, the brilliant lyrics, and an ethos that makes me proud to be a folk blogger and supporter.
Joshua Hyslop – “Ash and Stone”
-In fairness, Hyslop is someone we’ve covered a good bit in the past. But what I can’t understand is why he’s not a household name in the folk world. He should be as known as Bon Iver as far as I’m concerned. His talent is incredible. The songs are literally all good. I’ve yet to hear something from Hyslop that doesn’t hit right in the soul. This track, complete with incredible string work and contemplative lyrics, is yet another contribution to a stunning discography. I rarely hear an artist who I think could sit in with Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young… but honestly I think Hyslop could hang in that room.
Life Like Water – “Looks like rain”
-This is a folk fan’s folk band. Honestly Life Like Water has this earthy 60s energy to them but this modern production quality that is literally the best of both worlds. I feel like they’d be a fun group to chill with in a van touring the country. I bet they read good poetry and listen to amazing deep cuts. That said, this song has incredibly artistry in its own right, complete with the kind of lyrics that make you listen dozens of times before you feel like you really understand. And then it hits. Naturist, calming, hypnotic, and immeasurably peaceful… this is a blessing of a folk tune.
Sonny Santos and Billie Marten – “Swear 2 G-d”
-From my first impression I was undecided on this song. I’m not a fan of using God’s name in vain, but like… it’s Billie Marten and she’s practically a saint. So? Neutral good? Anyways, after listening a few times my soul told me that it’s going to be okay. It’s gentle and delicate, focusing on love, with some of the most peaceful guitars you’ll ever hear. If devotion to love and vocal harmonies are wrong, I don’t want to be right.
Cole Shway – “Wait for you”
-If someone asked me to make a recipe for a good folk song, I’d follow this tune almost exactly. Give me a quality finger picked guitar, add in a solid lead vocal, and bring in some subtle vocal harmonies. The lyrics, also, have this romantic but earthy sensibility to them. It’s about dreaming but also (maybe it’s the banjo), something about the tune feels totally grounded. Like it’s okay to dream but then be tired and take a nap or whatever. Wait for people you love because they’re worth it.
Joseph – “NYE”
–Joseph are one of the premiere vocal harmony groups in the industry right now. Among indie folk fans, they are well known and respected. That said, this tune still deserves to be highlighted. “Just another night dressed up in glitter such a pretty picture.” The word pictures in the lyrics of this song are outstanding. The whole “we can get through this” vibe is relevant on both a personal and collective level.