Johnny Ashby – “If I was an island”
-I’ve been a big fan of Ashby since the first time I heard his music. There’s a lonesomeness (or sincerity?) in his voice that I find really comforting. It’s a bit of what I love about Ray Lamontagne if I’m being honesty. I really appreciate the seeking, existential nature of this track. The acoustic guitar is a delightful compliment to Ashby’s defining vocal.
Southern Pine – “Each word I speak”
-This track has a lovely, gentle nature to it. There’s a softness here that I don’t often hear in modern folk music. The lead vocal feels familiar and engaging. The understated style of the melody pulls me in and makes me want to listen more closely. Throw this on a coffee shop playlist and see what your friends think. I bet they’ll dig it.
Joe Taylor Hawkins – “Blue”
-I really appreciate the blues style of Joe Taylor Hawkins. It feels so relaxing, complete with an easy swaying beat. It’s like lounge blues. The vocals in the opening are the strongest. But more than anything, I’m just happy to hear this kind of easy going blues getting some attention these days.
Sebastien Lacombe – “Gold in your soul”
-The engaging style of this track feels like a fusion of pop singer songwriter and classic folk music. There are some commercial elements, but the overall spirit of the track seems to be rooted in a poetic sensibility. It’s about a romance, of course, but it is open enough that listeners can connect their own story. It’s a lovely little track, I must say.
Radiant Heart – “Museum”
-If I had to describe to people how to make folk “stand out” I just might play them this song from Radiant Heart. All of the elements are the same as so many other songs – the strings and voices aren’t revolutionary, really – but the composition is SO GOOD. This is a thoughtful piece that will make you take pause. Radiant Heart remind me of another band I love called St Paul de Vence. I’m thrilled to support this type of creative, innovative, soul-moving folk music.
WILD – “Do it all again”
-If you’re looking for a genre-bending song that will give you inspiration to get back up and keep trying when times are tough, play this one. The lyrics allude to this being about a relationship, but it could be about family or an old friend. It’s about keeping going for someone other than yourself. The harmonies musically steal the show (which is why I love the track), but the inspirational lyrics are definitely a big help for me. In a time with so much bad news, it’s important to seek out music like this to bring inspiration.
Gavin Powell – “New Light (Acoustic)”
-Sometimes you just need to slow it down for a turn, ya know? This piece reminds me that there are still people making real country music, even if you have to dig for it a little bit. The lead vocal has that “it” factor. I appreciate the energy, authenticity, and depth of this recording. Some day when the sun shines a little brighter, I hope I get to catch these guys live.
King Ropes – “Girls like us (Tandy cover)”
-I haven’t heard the original that this is a cover of, but I found the song to be plaintive yet engaging. It’s rare to find a song that can slow things down and pull in the listener so well. It reminds me of the old troubadours of the early 20th century, who seemed to be able to tell a story with nothing more than an acoustic guitar and a lonely voice. This track really surprised me and I’m happy to share it.