Ollie Matthews – “To say goodbye”
-Wow. I’ll go ahead and say it; this song blew me away from first listen. The chord changes and overall complexity are both incredibly impressive. I am inclined to compare Ollie Matthews to George Harrison’s innovative songwriting on this one. The expressive vocal work and poetic lyricism are really something special. This is the kind of unassuming yet powerful song that gets me really excited to discover new songwriters. Ollie Matthews has created a really phenomenal piece of music here and it deserves wider recognition.
Jacksonport – “Fresh flowers”
-Jacksonport might be the artist that most pleasantly surprised me in 2021, so imagine my delight in hearing a new track here in 2022. The expressive acoustic guitar work is enough to feature the song, but then there are these contemplative folk harmonies that are stunning in their own right. The combination of influences makes for a song unlike anything I’ve ever heard. Jacksonport has a remarkable ability of taking predictable components (guitar, vocals, harmonies, etc.) to create something that is unprecedentedly beautiful. Within the first minute, I put this song on my “song of the year candidates” list. Breathtaking.
St Anthony Mann – “Once more”
-Fans of folk music probably already know the name St Anthony Mann. If not, though, let me introduce you to one of your new favorites. The depth and complexity of this track is really something special. The vocal nestles nicely into the mix, where guitar, banjo, and backing vocals all create a rich tapestry. Typically with folk music I need to clearly hear lyrics to feel a connection, but this track does a nice job of inviting the listener into the mix. Instead of feeling like listening to performers on a stage, the production makes it feel like the listener is sitting in the middle of the band. It’s beautifully accomplished and a truly wonderful listening experience.