Ian Jones – “Liars, Criminals, Beggars, and Thieves”
-When I first clicked play on this track, I thought I stepped into a time machine from the classic 60s folk rock era. Then I thought… actually this is more like a modern style of folk like David Ramirez. But the reality is that Ian Jones is creating a sound all his own. We are here to support it. The guitar work is perfectly balanced, allowing for the vocal to stand out. The lyrical content is critical of politicians and leaders. It has a countercultural message conveyed with an enjoyable, accessible style.
Spencer Thomas Smith – “Wilder”
-I won’t bury the lede with this song; this is a song of the year candidate for me. It is a remarkable example of how Americana can pull on the heartstrings of the listener. Smith’s guitar and vocal are both so genuine that it immediately stands out in the genre. The tone of the vocal is undeniably smooth and feels a bit familiar, if I’m honest. The overall energy of the track, highlighted by the exquisite steel guitar, feels like the good old days in the best way possible. This is a song that would make John Prine and Blaze Foley smile.
Kelley Mickwee – “Boomtown to bust”
-If you’re looking for an old timey two step, give Kelley Mickwee a spin. I love this style and all that it represents from the classic canon of American music. Think about the tens of thousands of people who slow danced with a significant other (or an old flame) to a tune like this. There’s a lonesome sincerity in the lyrics that are quintessential country music as well. Heck, the fiddle solo is enough to make me love this track. The combination of the different aspects make it truly a beautiful example of a modern take on a classic sound.
Image courtesy: Kelley Mickwee IG