Party of the Sun – “79”
-If you like the timeless folk rock energy that sometimes we call “Americana,” you’ll love Party of the Sun. Something about it feels like bell bottoms and sunshine. I mean, heck, there’s a prominent tambourine part. What year IS it? Just kidding. I love this song and I love the energy behind it. The lead vocal has that honest vibe that makes you just want to sit back with a Pabst and enjoy each carefully crafted line.
Beck Brothers – “Good ones”
-The tagline for this track was “not your grandpa’s bluegrass.” I really appreciate the sincerity in that sentiment. The sound really does have a transcendent bluegrass element. It’s not exactly “newgrass” but it’s also not Bill Monroe’s sound either. I would call it more of a hybrid sound. The honest, approachable lyrics and sensible composition style put it firmly in the Mandolin Orange style of modern bluegrass. I dig it.
Five Islands – “Lonely”
-I won’t mince words with this one; I just put it on my “song of the year” watch list. It’s a beautiful, timeless song that takes the best of 50s pop music and country music, bringing it into the modern day with exquisite production. The lead vocal, in particular, is sure to put a smile on your face. Once you hear the high harmony, you’ll smile from ear to ear. It’s a genuinely engaging style that puts Five Islands on my “ones to watch” list for many years to come.