Kyle McKearney – “Devil water”
-This is a remarkable narrative folk song about… well, probably not actually water. It’s got a gentle storytelling style and an amazing vocal. The two work together for a style that we just don’t hear enough on the radio today. The production on this track is outstanding. This is what “real country” music means to me. There’s a depth of addiction expressed here that far too many people will be able to relate to, but musically it is absolutely fantastic and enjoyable.
Melissa Carper – “Back when”
-I almost cried the first time I heard this song. I haven’t heard classic country like this in years. Carper’s style is perfect, with a Kitty Wells style vocal. The lyrics are simple, as they ought to be, and relatable for folks from sea to shining sea. The production style is intentionally old time and it works incredibly well. I can’t get over how perfect this song is. It’s sure to be on my end of year list. Carper is one of my new favorite artists, regardless of genre.
Joe Sciarrone – “The boy from Troy”
-This is a song about the iconic Civil Rights leader John Lewis. It’s a beautiful example of narrative folk music, telling the story of a national hero. The down home connection of Lewis being a rural Alabama boy provides a wonderful basis to the story of his remarkable story. This song is definitely in the vein of Pete Seeger’s narrative style, passing on the story of real people who did larger than life things. “Good trouble was his middle name.” Indeed. Share this with your favorite history teacher.