John Hollywood – “River”
-I’ve spent a lot of time in 2020 listening to the likes of John Prine, Blaze Foley, and Kris Kristofferson, so you can hear why I am so happy to have found John Hollywood. Aside from having an amazing name, Hollywood has a brilliant narrative folk style. His songwriting sounds so old fashioned, I had to search some of his lyrics to see if they were covers. That’s a compliment! Hollywood sings like he’s been on the road for a long time and he ain’t stopping any time soon. In a year where “time” was as confusing as ever, Hollywood stands out on this one.
Peaklake – “Long way to go”
-One of the great adventures of writing about music is clicking play on a song that you don’t expect. I had no idea what I was getting into with Peaklake, but the only band I’ve ever heard with this energy was one called Jus Post Bellum several years ago. It’s mysterious, bluesy, and gritty in the best way possible. This is an encapsulation of what makes Americana so amazing; it feels so unmistakably real. The lead vocal is solid but it’s the overall composition that emerges in a crowded music scene. This one is special.
Henry Conlon – “I’m coming home”
-You’ll hear 1000 songs before you hear another that hits you like this one. It’s got blues to the core. It’s dark, but with a bright light at the end. The metaphor of “coming home” for death but also the imagery of returning to your people… well, it just works on this tune. Conlon has the perfect voice that fits in the pocket for a track like this. I’d love to hear him duo this track with Colter Wall. It’s got a timeless darkness and spiritual transcendence that will send shivers up your spine.
Image courtesy: Henry Conlon IG