Brittany Ann Tranbaugh – “The Christmas Flannel Song”
-I don’t personally feature Christmas music very often, so for me to write about it I have to like it a lot. This is a wonderful song from Tranbaugh, with shades of John Prine’s storytelling and classic holiday sentimentality. I love that there’s a singalong “fa-la-la” section to the song in a way that feels like classic country music and not like holiday kitsch. The lyrics are relatable and the storytelling style just feels right for the holiday season. Put on a kettle of your favorite beverage and let this track set the mood for your home; it’s beautiful and captures this time of the year well.
Tommy Goodroad – “Teaching me to paint”
-If you’re a fan of classic country music, you’ll find a lot to like about Tommy Goodroad’s narrative style. The acoustic guitar is really well done. The pacing of the track keeps it moving along nicely in a John Hartford kind of way. Goodroad’s lyrical style is precise, inviting the listener right into the storyline. The melody feels comfortably familiar without being derivative of others. The best comparison one might make in the modern day is someone like Jason Isbell, who we consider one of the best songwriters alive. Goodroad certainly writes in a similar tradition, with both melodic and lyrical vibrancy that we’re happy to support here.
Farrow and the Peach Leaves – “Adeline”
-I hate throwing around the John Prine comparison too flippantly, but it really is warranted with this song from Farrow and the Peach Leaves. The attitude is a bit more southern rock than Prine, but it’s the attitude-laden authenticity that does it for me. “Call me a banjo cause I don’t mind gettin played.” It’s a perfect folk music line, honestly. The rock energy intersecting with folk lyricism ends up making an alt country gem; this is definitely the kind of track that would make Steve Earle proud. If we were able to nominate songs for alt country song of the year, we would nominate this one. It’s a great jam.
Image courtesy: Tommy Goodroad IG