Paige Shannon – “This house”
-This is a sad song, admittedly, but it gives me hope for the genre. It’s about living in a house that doesn’t have the same feeling of home anymore after a major change. I suppose it’s about a breakup, but the overall heart of the song feels absolutely genuine. There’s just enough margin for listeners to relate all while following the narrative. The waivering tone of the vocal is exceptional for capturing the emotions inherent in the lyrics. It’s a beautifully full performance that demands the attention of all Americana lovers.
Kyle McKearney – “Tough or die”
-If you’re looking for a gritty, modern style of Americana, you can’t do much better than Kyle McKearney. We’ve been saying “yes” to his music all year. The lyrical message of this one is all-too-familiar for a lot of American young men, who are often kicked from the nest with a message to get tough or die. The spirit of the track is to embrace the grit that it takes “to survive.” The syncopated beat, bluesy energy, and rock soul of the track comes through as a thoroughly modern Americana track for fans of Jason Isbell and similar rock-infused acts. McKearney’s gritty vocal makes the sound and the lyrics punctuate a powerful, relatable message.
Miko Marks – “Long journey home”
-One of my favorite aspects of Americana is when it captures a gospel spirit as well. This track from Miko Marks almost defies categorization, but the gospel heart is evident. The lead vocal is absolutely outstanding. If you’ve ever spent any time singing spiritual music, this one will definitely connect. It feels like 100 years ago and just yesterday. It feels like a family gathering. It feels like a church that’s lifting up from the ground in a fit of Glory. This track is both salt-of-the-earth grounded and well on its way to an eternal praise song. I dig it!