Colin Macleod – “Runaway”
-The opening of this song requires a bit of patience, but I urge you to give it a shot. Listen to the words of the first verse so that the chorus makes sense. Trust me that the guitar and vocal hook on the chorus is definitely a payoff, but you have to hold on to follow it. Putting me in mind of a modern Americana artist more like Ryan Adams, I appreciate that MacLeod uses some metaphorical and relational language to connect to the storyline. It’s a good song, full stop, but the electric guitars balanced with those killer vocals on the chorus will have you singing this one for hours.
Carnation Blue – “Patient”
-The characteristic vocal of Carnation Blue is definitely the standout feature of the sound. The easy going electric guitar makes the listener feel nice and comfortable, while the vocal gives a bluesy, country-influenced story about the good old days. The listener gets the sense that the way the narrator used to be is no longer the case, but it’s saying that life as different back then in good and bad ways. If you’re at an age where you feel like you’re glad where you are (i.e. middle age), this song will probably seep into your pores. For me, the electric guitar solo makes me feel like I should order another round and settle in. This band is worth staying at this bar for the night.
David Madras – “Firefly”
-The thing that makes Americana so good is that it is timeless. In a world with so many production tricks, it’s nice to hear a style that captures the strings, the vocals, and the lyrics in such a pure way. Madras brings together poetic lyrical qualities with a timeless “just good music” composition style. I get the sense that one could play this track for anyone from a grandparent to a small child and everyone would find something to like about it. The guitars are smooth, the lyrics are meaningful, and the lead vocal is solid throughout. The overall energy is folk-influenced rock, fitting nicely right in the pocket of modern Americana music.