IZHAV – “Freight train”
-One of the oldest themes in country and Americana songwriting is the freight train. Train hopping, hoboing, traveling the country as a way to leave rough beginning or to head to promising new places is a trenchant theme. This track carries on that tradition. While it doesn’t have the scratching acoustic of Jimmie Rodgers, it still nevertheless maintains the lyrical theme of finding a new start. The vocal harmonies and overall classic composition style is wonderful. When I tell people that I like Americana music, this is what I mean. Fans of Norah Jones style soft vocals will love this and fans of classic, poetic lyricism will adore the message here.
Mary Mahaffey – “I would take a boat”
-If you’re looking for a song about getting out of town, Mahaffey’s track “I would take a boat” might just be the one for you. There’s a consistent theme of momentum in the song provided by the rhythm section, highlighted by Mahaffey’s characteristic vocals and some excellent string work as well. If you’ve ever felt the need to be with someone that you’d do whatever it took to be with them, you’ll connect with this song. It reminds me a bit of “Ain’t no mountain” with regard to the lyrical theme. Fans of classic Americana storytelling love songs will like this one for sure.
Roy Holdren – “Bakersfield 1965”
-If you grew up on Buck Owens music, you’ll love this new track from Roy Holdren. It’s got a fantastic groove, characteristic California electric guitars, and a throwback style that I almost guarantee will make you smile. The lyrics are rich with classic imagery, mentioning the artists that inspire the sound as well as a charming connection with the band and sound itself. It’s a song about a sound that the song itself is paying homage to; it’s a clever little layered representation of the classic Bakersfield Sound, a prominent and important theme in the history of country music.
Don’t forget if you’re a fan of country and Americana music to consider picking up co-editor Greg Jones’s book Country Music Renaissance. It features prominent rising artists preserving these traditional genres.