Norma McDonald – “Wonder in the summer”
-This is about as classic an Americana song as I have heard in 2020. I appreciate the sincerity in the vocal, the realism in the lyrics, and the quality of the full composition. McDonald’s vocal is absolutely outstanding on this track. If you’ve ever worked a long hard summer day, you’ll love this song because it’s about that refreshing end of a long hot day, personified by someone who is that fresh air. It’s a great song.
Painted Canyon – “You’re Right”
-The steel guitar and overall sound from this band feels a bit more country/Americana than folk, so I’m putting it on this playlist. The easy going style is comfortable, a salt of the earth approach to a salt of the earth genre. The lyrics focus on a relationship with a genuine message. If you’ve ever been in a comfortable relationship, this one will connect like a cup of coffee in the morning.
The Alpacas – “Midnight Dance”
-The Alpacas are right on that line between folk and Americana music with an argument in either category. I’m happy to support this sound either way. There’s a real energy to this composition that reminds me of some of the more engaging, progressive new folk outfits we have heard over the past decade. I adore the sense of wonder and adventure that this song conveys, as if you’re staring up at the starry sky, exploring all that is possible in the universe.
Tall Heights and Ryan Montbleau – “Helplessly Hoping”
-We rarely feature covers on our site, so when we do it has to be truly exceptional. That’s the case with this piece, a cover of the CSNY classic “Helplessly Hoping.” From the opening, the piece is delightfully harmonic. Of course the lyrics are classic, but it’s the harmony structure that made this song one of the most significant of a generation and a genre. We’re happy to hear this fresh take on it from some artists who can stand in the shadow of these giants.
Sugar and the Hi-Lows – “Dip Dow”
-A few years ago I had a chance to interview these talented musicians, Trent Dabbs and Amy Stroup. I was glad to get to talk with them and hear a bit about their songwriting process. This classic sound, recaptured in the modern age with contemporary technology, is really good! Sometimes I almost laugh with joy listening to the sheer fun the band seems to be having. Not all Americana has to morose and melancholy. We can jump, jive, and wail, too! Give this one a spin and share it with your granny!