Andy Kahrs – “When will my heart be free?”
-This track carries the weight of the world on its shoulders. It reminds me of something Woody Guthrie used to do in being able to make macro problems hit really close to home. I appreciate the minimalist composition and the sincerity in the vocal. This one will make you feel both joy and sorrow in equal measure. It’s a gospel lament for the ages.
The Jenkins Twins – “Rose red dress”
-There was a moment in music history when “western” music was considered a compliment to country music. That’s why the old Blues Brothers quote “both kinds – country AND western” was so funny. The Jenkins Twins bring back some of the magic of the “western” energy of what we might now call country music. The beat has a delightful flavor while the vocals will have you thinking of Dwight Yoakam in his heyday. It’s a beautiful sound, especially the “voice” of the electric guitar solos. The lyrics are charming, of course, but the whole composition is Americana gold.
Ryland Moranz – “Where are my blue eyes?”
-The banjo on this tune is enough for me. I could just listen to that pickin’ all day long. Then the lead vocal enters the track and it goes from good to great. The lines are written with a genuineness that we struggle to find in a lot of music these days. It’s a folk narrative form punctuated with sincerity and excellent phrasing. This sounds like it could have come down off the mountain with Ralph Peer himself. Add this to your Americana list and you’ll smile every time.