In Andy Shauf's "Hometown Hero," what starts out as a satirical (but oh so lyrical) portrait of a small-town might-have-been, ends up as a charming, everyman fantasy come true.
The simple tones that open "Every Drop" are signifiers of the aesthetic purity that Thad Kopec yearns for -- and finds in this warmly unfolding, deceptively lush, acoustic-electronic song.
Rhiannon Giddens' first solo album is a clever collection of songs spanning American music's history, including tunes made famous by Nina Simone, Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline and Odetta, among others.
Emerging from the gorgoues beachside town of Byron Bay, Australia, Kyle Lionhart's music, as heard on the track "On My Own," fits snuggly between the falsetto-rich harmonies of Bon Iver and the folk-pop reveries of City and Colour.
The new track "Dog Named Bart" finds San Francisco duo Tidelands (Gabriel Montana Leis and Mie Araki) enlisting the help of John Vanderslice and Debbie Neigher, as well as Magik*Magik Orchestra, for a sound that's orchestral, folkloric and uplifting.
Best Girl Athlete features the voice and songwriting of Katie Buchan, a Scottish teenager who displays an uncanny gift for lush, classically-infused folk pop (not to mention a knowing Burt Bacharach and Hal David reference), as beautifully displayed on the new track "He's Calling Me Over."