Jonah Kagan – “The Roads”
-At first blush, this seems like a pure folk tune. Stay with it. There’s a rock energy that takes off just past the one minute mark and *trust me* when I say it’s worth sticking around for. I could try to describe the way the strings set up a change in effect in the lead vocal that provides an excellent haunting energy to convey the song’s message… but really you need to just hear it for yourself. The layers on this track are quite impressive. The lyrics have a thoughtfulness to them that I thoroughly appreciate, but it’s the sense of desperation in the vocal that really sets this one apart from the crowd. Definitely take a few minutes and give this one a spin.
Eric Jackson and the Willow River Band – “Summer”
-I haven’t heard a band so closely connected to the EarToTheGround “brand” sound in a long time. It’s folksy, sure, but it also has these wonderful harmonies that seem to transcend era or genre. The rock elements are joyful, allowing the quality of the vocals to really soar in the mix. Even though we’re in the middle of summer here, the lyrics are relatable in that it feels like summer is already over. I’m sure this is a metaphorical “summer” in the song more than the literal season, but as I approach a middle age milestone I can say I relate in that regard as well. It’s a bit disturbing, honestly, how much this song connects to parts deep down inside me in ways that I’m comfortable writing about and some not. I suppose others in my age and life stage will agree. Give it a spin.
Katie Buchanan – “The Last Ten Minutes”
-We’ve been covering Katie Buchanan for a few years and it’s easy to hear why she’s a regular around here… every dang song is a banger. This song opens with a scenario about what you would do if the next ten minutes were the last ten minutes. It’s about bargaining, appreciation, and cultivating a heart of gratitude when you do have something. I’ll tell you this one hits very close personally, not in a relationship sense, but when it comes to appreciating what I have in response to what I might perceive that I should have. Buchanan captures some complex emotions with a unique lyrical construct here. It’s complex and not “easy listening” by any stretch, but it’s worth serious consideration.