Three tracks showing the delightful variety within the mysterious genre of “Americana”

Barbarisms – “Three sisters”
-I can’t think of a greater juxtaposition between artist name and song features than “barbarisms” compared with this beautiful piece of music. Frankly, there’s nothing barbaric at all. This is a peaceful piece of folk-influenced Americana music. There’s something positively endearing about the production mix with the string work here. And if you are a harmonica lover, you need to hear this song. It’s got shades of “Poncho and Lefty” with a dash of Willie Nelson’s characteristic rambling western energies. Barbarisms’ “Three sisters” is a folksy Americana adventure that you simply need to hear.

Sycamore Special – “This old barn”
-Everything about this track feels just right. The vocal lead, the tight harmonies, and the picking (especially the mandolin) are all fantastic. If you’re a fan of the bright arrangements from some of the early Nickel Creek albums, you’ll find a lot to love about Sycamore Special. It’s got shades of traditional bluegrass with just a dash of more modern styling as well. But what steals the show for me is the absolute authenticity of the performance. I haven’t been this excited for an emerging bluegrass act since I first heard Arcadian Wild. Give this track a spin and add these fantastic promising artists to your own Americana playlist.

Ben Danaher – “The Actor”
-There’s a beautiful blend of dark hues in the backing music with bright energy in the vocal on this track. It instantly reminded me of what I first liked about David Ramirez. Danaher’s imagery in the lyrics pull the listener into the story of a nameless actor. It’s a depth of character development that we rarely hear in a song. Fans of Ramirez or even Jason Isbell will find a lot to like about the rock-infused folk-based sound here. The line “the critics they’re all livin in his head” resonates quite well. This is the kind of song that you can “enjoy” but sometimes the lyrics might just sneak up on you and make you rethink a lot of things. It’s an existential essay in folk rock clothing; we love it.

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