Aaron Espe – “Free”
-There’s a delicate, intentional delightfulness to this song. I appreciate the way that Espe’s voice bounces on the “top” of the recording. I can’t quite explain it in different words, but there’s a lighthearted peacefulness to this song that gets me every time. In a world that seems so heavy and ugly, Espe brings us a timeless sensibility with shades to the 60s folk revival with a clean, contemporary aesthetic. This is a fantastic tune that you should put on your playlists for the year.
Selmer’s Arch – “Song for Julian”
-When I first heard this song, I couldn’t figure out what I was hearing exactly; it just doesn’t sound like something that was written in 2021. It reminded me of the first time I heard Pokey Lafarge. People still make music like this!? I asked rhetorically. The answer is OF COURSE! And it’s so very good. Selmer’s Arch have an old time vibe and a sincere focus in this rooted chamber folk sound. The vocals have a rawness to them that makes them feel as uncompromising as the wilderness. It a world with hand clap-happy folk music, it’s nice to hear something with such unique energy.
Don River – “Wasting”
-The acoustic guitar on this track put a smile on my face, then the unique vocal style emerged on the track for something really intriguing. As the full band enters the track, it feels like a song that has a condemning message about making the most of our lives. It’s convicting, in a way. In any other year I would have called this “introspective” and moved on, but in this year it’s a bit more of a collective awakening. Be alive. Pursue your dreams, especially when it comes to relationships. This is such a creative, risk-taking track that really comes together in the end.