Olivia Ellen Lloyd – “In the valley”
-If you’ve been around my Americana coverage much this year, you’ve seen Lloyd’s name a few times. I can’t get enough of this minimalistic, genuine Americana style. Lloyd’s poetic writing and pointed, sincere vocal, reminds me of the late John Prine. I appreciate the accessible, common folk style here. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear I grew up with Olivia Ellen Lloyd, or at least knew her in another life. This one feels just right.
Blue Cactus – “Come clean”
-There’s a lonesome honesty to this song that will creep right into your soul from first listen. Once the harmony vocal enters the track, it really takes off in some powerful ways. I think the atmospheric effect of the steel guitar really sets this song in a new light. I appreciate the unhurried, thoughtful, poetic style from start to finish. In a world where Americana can sometimes feel more like a rock concert, it’s good to hear a heartfelt expression like this from Blue Cactus.
I&I – “Tonight”
-I really struggled with whether to put this song with other rock or with Americana. It seems to fit into many categories, but one thing I can say for sure is that it sounds great. The vocal harmonies are the best part. The melody has a familiarity to it. The overall energy of the track is celebratory. It’s sort of like taking a blues sentiment, but flipping it on its head to being about a celebration. It’s a genuine feel-good tune.
Image courtesy: Olivia Ellen Lloyd IG