5 Easygoing Americana Singles You Should Hear

Miner

“A Morning Song”

Start your day with “A Morning Song” from Miner this week and see if the world doesn’t look a little brighter. The folk-rock family band from L.A. partnered with Matt Linesch (Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros) to record this new single from their forthcoming EP, Headwaters. If “A Morning Song” is any indication of what’s to come from Miner, this is definitely a band we need to keep an eye on. Give the effervescent single, “A Morning Song”, a listen here…

Jason Hawk Harris

“The Smoke and the Stars”

Jason Hawk Harris might be the guitarist for The Show Ponies, but he’s about to break out in his own light with this new single. “The Smoke and the Stars” combines vocals that pull on your heartstrings with stellar musicianship for a new Americana classic. This haunting number proves quite the stunning debut for Harris’ solo effort. Let’s hope there’s more music in store for us from Jason Hawk Harris. In the meantime, enjoy “The Smoke and the Stars” below…

Town Meeting

“New Hampshire”

Town Meeting brings that front porch feel right through your speakers and into your home with their new single, “New Hampshire”. The lively Americana act outta New England has shared stages with Sturgill Simpson, Old Crow Medicine Show, Willie Nelson, and the Avett Brothers, amongst others. I bet they left every single show with new fans. Once you hear the catchy energy of “New Hampshire” you’ll totally understand why.

Smith & Thell

“Toast”

This Stockholm duo sounds like they could be making their buoyant brand of folk-pop right in the heart of Nashville, rather than, you know, Sweden. Smith & Thell released their debut EP, Soulprints, earlier this month and “Toast” is the perfect single for your next impromptu Grrrls Night brought on by boyfriend douchey-ness. And if the words of that last sentence don’t resonate with you, this might not be your new jam… but it’s definitely mine. Check out “Toast” from Smith & Thell below or head here for the complete LP.

THESELANDS

“Reckoning”

The rustic vocals and Indie-Americana instrumentation of THESELANDS adds an earthy sound to the L.A. scene. “Reckoning” comes to us from the band’s 2017 EP, Enough for Love. Songwriter Dylan Lee Kalogris sits at the helm on THESELANDS and sets a somber tone on this single with in the lyrics well-matched to the alt-country sound. Give “Reckoning” from THESELANDS a spin below…

7 Flavors of Folk

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by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

Old Star

“Out Here Alone”

Old Star comes out swinging on their debut single, “Out Here Alone”. Seriously, this indie-folk number will kick you in the heart, but it does so with such beauty that you’ll want to go through the ache all over again as soon as the song ends. “Out Here Alone” erects a solitary atmosphere around the listener that feels a bit windswept and desolate, but there’s a warmth there too. Check out “Out Here Alone” from Phoenix’s Old Star below. Let’s hope there are more tracks to follow…

Bad Dad

“Some Bunny Gun Love Me”

This came across my desk labeled “Oklahoma City based country vapor wave-blues music” – so I was definitely interested. “Some Bunny Gun Love Me” might leave you feeling a little forlorn but that doesn’t mean you won’t be hitting that play button again and again. On this new single from Bad Dad, bourbon smooth vocals hover over dreamy Americana tinged with just the right amount of loneliness thrown in for authenticity’s sake. Give “Some Bunny Gun Love Me” a listen below…

The Fair Wells

“Where is Your Heart”

This duo might have the polish you’d expect of a Los Angeles-based band while holding to an earnest sound that one might expect to hear at a county fair in North Carolina or maybe Virginia (their home state). The Fair Wells craft a simple, sweet-tempered sound on “Where is Your Heart” that will hit you right in the sentimental side. Spirited harmonies meet earthy folk as The Fair Wells  pose the question, “Where is Your Heart”? This single comes to us from the band’s debut EP, Hurricanes, which is available for preview or purchase here. But, first, give “Where is Your Heart” a listen below…

Jordan Merrick

“Untitled #1”

The single comes to us all the way from Australia. Yes, what we would term “Americana” is considered just a good ol’fashioned Australian Bush Ballad down under. Folk knows no boundaries, geographic or otherwise, I suppose. Jordan Merrick’s “Untitled #1” sounds straight from the American Heartland from the anguished vocals to the rustic guitar. After you give the single a spin, it won’t surprise you learn that Merrick drew inspiration from Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks. Both Merrick and Dylan share an unadorned candor in their music that I love. Check out “Untitled #1” by Jordan Merrick below…

Ryanhood

“Alright Tonight”

This Tucson folk-pop duo dropped their new LP, Yearbook, earlier this month. Ryanhood is the combined effort of Ryan Green and Cameron Hood. Together, the pair create indie folk with a bit of bounce, but don’t let the feel-good attitude in the music distract you from the seriously dexterous guitarwork on the album. “Alright Tonight” is the opening track from Yearbook and offers listeners a sampling of what’s in store as they progress through all nine songs. Give the single a spin below and, if you dig the Ryanhood brand of folk, delve into Yearbook here .

The Roads Below

“I Want Us”

This Nashville 3-Piece puts a country spin on folk-rock with “I Want Us”. Now, if I’m being totally honest here, I’m not particularly partial to Contemporary Country as a style in either music or fashion, but I find myself quite taken with all the syrupy feelings in “I Want Us”. The Roads Below managed to unearth the squishy center of my black punk heart. This is the first single from the band, but I’m hoping that more will follow. Check out “I Want Us” from The Roads Below, uh, below…

Sam Coppenger

“Between Your Heart and Mine”

Sometimes it’s good to get in touch with your inner innocence. I bet even the most cynical of you out there harbors a little lost love for Mayberry (or maybe this generation is more Stars Hollow). “Between Your Heart and Mine” will bring you back to a time when love was earnest, the streets unlittered, and life seemed a little less complicated. Coppenger comes to us from Nashville by way of Pensacola, FL and you can give his single a spin below. To hear the album from whence this track came, head here.

7 Earthy Singles from Alt-Folk to Americana

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Old Nobodaddy

“Gun is Coming”

Yesssss. “Gun is Coming” is the stellar single from the New Orleans-based songwriter known as Old Nobodaddy. The track combines a stripped down lyricism with a compelling “swamp gospel” sound that goes straight for the center of your being.  This track comes to us from Nobodaddy’s forthcoming release, The Pretty Plea’s EP. I’ll definitely be keeping an ear to the ground for the release. You should too. Listen to “Gun is Coming” below…

The Show Ponies

“Sweetly”

This single is just as pleasantly affectionate as its title implies and arrives just in time for Valentine’s Day for all you lovers of love out there. The Show Ponies, out of Los Angeles, craft their own brand of Americana-tinged indie rock, or “indie-grass”, if you will. Everything about “Sweetly” is amiable and endearing, from the sweet-tempered vocals to the homey folk feel of the instrumentation. “Sweetly” comes to us from the band’s new LP, How It All Goes Down, which came out last month. Listen to the single below, and if you dig what you’re hearing, get your digi-download of the album here.

Anne Hall

“Goin’ Back Home”

This alt-folk single from Anne Hall fuses R&B with bit of American Heartland for an earthy, stripped-down sound I just love. In addition to these elements, Hall adds an easygoing West Coast breeze to “Goin’ Back Home” just to keep things nice and mellow. Or maybe that’s just an unintended consequence of the artist’s Santa Barbara residence. The single comes to us from Hall’s 2016 release, Wonderful, so if you dig the track, make sure you check out the complete LP (available here).

Jake Levine

“Lovestruck”

Jake Levine might be from New Jersey, but he sounds like he could be kicking dust in any Western bar of the Sonoran. The Americana sound heard on “Lovestruck” has a bit of a forlorn hue that is complimented by Levine’s own anguished voice. This song will tear at your heartstrings. Well, I guess, New Jersey as a history of producing artists that just get that Heart of America sound. Give “Lovestruck” a listen below and then head here to check out the album from whence it came.

Dearling

“Wild Blue”

This Denver-based four-piece indie act has a touch of that Western sensibility rolled into their genial twange. Dearling possesses all the country charm their names implies and you can experience it for yourself on their new single, “Wild Blue”. Lead singer Rachel James’ voice is both airy and earthy; and Dearling’s instrumentation matches her perfectly in balancing this dichotomy. “Wild Blue” comes to us from the band’s 2016 release, Inheritance, which is available here for preview and purchase. But first, give “Wild Blue” a listen below…

Ziegler Co.

“What A Life”

The London-based act known as Ziegler Co. brings us this indie-folk gem from all the way across The Big Pond. “What A Life” has a  carefree feel that will charm you on that very first spin. Unless, of course, you’re just a hateful, bitter person in the very core of your being. This single comes to us from the band’s EP, Soap + Water, just a couple months back. “What A Life” feels like a sunny stroll down a cobbled street just after a light morning rain. Give the single a spin below then head here for to check out the full EP from Ziegler Co.

Luke Hogan

“Who Else”

Now I really don’t say this very often, but Luke Hogan has a touch of Dylan in his voice which is weathered beyond his years… also like Dylan, I suppose. “Who Else” is the closing track to Hogan’s 2016 release, Nomad, which was record at Downtown Rehearsal in Los Angeles where the artist also resides. What might have been just called folk in 1964 is generally shuffled to the Americana side of the line these days, but we like it all the same. Give “Who Else” a listen below…

 

7 Emerging Singer Songwriters

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by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

Lucas Laufen

“Boulders”

Australian artist Lucas Laufen pairs a stripped down sound with an emotive lyricism; both of which can be heard on his new single, “Boulders”. Laufen spent much of this past year out on tour, but he returned to his home nation to perform and gather inspiration for his forthcoming release, due out next year, before heading to Berlin where the artist will be living for the foreseeable future while working on his second EP. “Boulders” is peaceful and pensive – my favorite combo. Give the single a listen below and then head here for the complete EP.

Nicole Boggs

“Something New”

Nashville-based artist Nicole Boggs has a smoldering voice and a soulful sound on her new single – the aptly titled, “Something New”. After releasing her debut album three years ago, Boggs decided to take her sound in a new direction. This single is the transitory process between what was and what she will become. And, I must say, I’m intrigued. Fusing blues and soul, “Something New” provides a stellar introduction to the sultry vocal stylings of Nicole Boggs. Give the single a spin below or head here to get your own digi-download of the new EP, also titled Something New.

Cody Crump

“Seventeen”

The mellow folk music of L.A.’s Cody Crump heard on “Seventeen” envelopes the listener in sweet and somber sounds. This single comes to us from Crump’s ambitious 2016 album, Good Luck, which clocks in at 19-tracks. Pairing a straightforward lyricism with an orchestral layering of vocals and guitars, Crump crafts an uplifting musicality on “Seventeen” that carries through to his other songs. You can check out the complete LP right here, but first give “Seventeen” a listen below…

Amy Gillespie

“Wintertime (For Blue)”

This dreamy number by Amy Gillespie immediately reminded me of Joni Mitchell. Only then did I realize that the “For Blue” part of the title of this track was actually a dedication to Mitchell’s quintessential album, Blue. Gillespie shares many qualities with Mitchell including a penchant for introspective lyrics and gentle shifting soundscapes. Give “Wintertime (For Blue)” a listen below or score your own copy of the single here.

Justy

“Can’t Explain It”

Staten Island’s Justy has a unique, smokey-sweet voice reminiscent of Macy Gray. On her latest single, “Can’t Explain”, Justy meanders through the enchantment of love against a mellow, jazz-tinged musicality. The single incorporates HipHop elements for a completely modern take on the love song. At only 21-years-old, Justy is quickly establishing herself as an artist to watch. Give “Can’t Explain It” a listen below…

Bethany Becker 

“I Want Love”

The music of Bethany Becker might come along with the tag “country” but you shouldn’t go in expecting Loretta Lynn. Instead, think early Taylor Swift: pop-tinged country. “I Want Love” offers an innocent, earthy, upbeat anthem for those transitioning into adolescence. Hailing from Austin, the 18-year-old Becker proves she’s got promise on “I Want Love” which was written with a little assistance from Grammy-nominated songwriter and producer, Jeff Pardo. This single is the title track from her 2016 debut LP (available here). Check out “I Want Love” by Bethany Becker below…

Madi Earl

“Walls”

Madi Earl might not be old enough to vote, but she’s already garnishing attention for her songwriting skills. “Walls” has an electropop vibe and smooth vocal style. Earl’s not just a singer-songwriter, but also a pianist and violinist. Madi Earl plans to release her debut EP next year so this is definitely a young artist to keep an ear turned toward. Give “Walls” a listen below or head here for your very own copy. If you dig “Walls”, I also suggest looking into other her previous singles (also available through iTunes and Soundcloud).

 

6 Americana Singles

The Handsome Family

“Gold”

I love love love The Handsome Family so I’ve been counting down the days until their new album comes out next month. Unseen, the 10th studio release from the married duo, drops on September 16th, but The Handsome Family shared this little ditty to tide fans over until the full album reaches record stores. “Gold” is a haunting murder ballad that follows you down the street on a cold and windy night. It will stay with you, breathe softly behind you, and watch you while you sleep. Listen to “Gold” here…

Henry Black

Six Feet Underground

Singer-songwriter Henry Black has an earthen sound that highlights the indie-folk feel of his music. “Six Feet Underground” offers listeners a somber and stripped-down number that could easily be included on the soundtrack in some windswept Western. Not bad for a city boy out of New York. Listen to “Six Feet Under” and, if you like what you’re hearing, delve further into Henry Black’s demos (available on Soundcloud).

Winchester Treaty

“Your Mother’s Chair”

This song comes to us from the Philly 3-piece known as Winchester Treaty. Who knew Pennsylvanians could have such a Western sensibility? “Your Mother’s Chair” could liven up anyone of our dusty, desert stages with their folksy style of indie rock. Fans of the Avett Brothers should give Winchester Treaty a spin. Listen to “Your Mother’s Chair” here and, if you like the single, move on to the full EP by the same title.

The Other Words

Don’t Take Me For Granted

This country-infused folk act out of Los Angeles packs some serious down-home punch. Between the twangy vocals and eclectic instrumentation that includes a banjo, stand-up bass, and lap steel, The Other Words has a rustic feel with some modern rock chutzpah. If you’re partial to a little Southern-style, musically-speaking, I would recommend looking into The Other Words. “Don’t Take Me For Granted” can be heard here and additional tracks are available through their Soundcloud page.

Kindatheart

Like What I See

This indie outfit from Austin definitely has an alt-country feel that we can get behind. “Like What I See” is mellow and lively at the same time; fusing indie and Americana seamlessly into a singular sound. I especially enjoy the harmonies between the two vocalists on this track: the world-weary and the uplifting. Give “Like What I See” a listen and, if you like what you hear, check out additional tracks from Kindatheart.

Robin Lynch

“Hold Your Horses”

Robin Lynch doesn’t go in for that newfangled electro-infused R&B. He’s more roots in his rhythm and creates music inspired by the Delta Blues. Lynch’s latest single, “Hold Your Horses”, brings to mind artists like Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker with a sound more Middle America than most of Middle America. I’m also a big fan of “Rambling Pony”, another track available on Robin Lynch’s Soundcloud page. So, if you like “Hold Your Horses”, I recommend delving further into Lynch’s musical offerings.

 

Why You Should Listen: Broken Horse

broken horse01by Frank Ippolito
Associate Editor

Tell me your vibe is Psyche/Death Rock with retro Jazz/Country and you have my attention.

Alex Oropeza (guitars/vocals), “Yuma Joe” Byrnes (drums) and Bill Cuevas (bass) execute this sound, by the way, and they had my complete and utter absorption from the very first drop of the virtual needle.

To Tucsonans, I’m sure Broken Horse is very well known. They formed in 1986 and played Club Congress all the time before moving to San Francisco in 1992 according to their site. But to a Valley dweller like me, I had no idea this band existed, and that is a bloody shame.

I’m telling you, I’m not sure if vocalist Oropeza’s voice could be any smoother, any velvety-er. There’s an unstated bass, provided by Cuevas, and (the late) Byrnes’ drums are powerful when they have to be.

Can I say a little something about the lyrics? So epic. Like, Greek tragedy epic. Which is good because they would pale in comparison to the music. Which is Spaghetti Western epic.

Why you should listen: Because you won’t hear tales of death, killing, revenge and gun slinging combined with a mix of music special-ness like this.

What you should listen for: In a word: All of it. [Actually, Frank, that’s three words. -Eds.]

What they sound like: Like a Quentin Tarantino film meets The National meets a great storyteller with a big ol’ guitar and something to say.

What you should do while listening: There’s a lot of ways I could go here… (Wait what? Is that a Rhodes? Man, that was cool…first listening comment aside…)

Let’s see. You could get into your Lincoln Continental – not the ones Matthew McConaughey is schlepping – the kind with the suicide doors. A black one, preferably, and go on a road trip to Tijuana.

Or, if you’re not that adventurous, grab a bottle of Jack Daniels, a shot glass, and hole yourself up in a darkened room and get the demons outta your head.

Here’s where you can hear this gem: