Bruce Molsky may have been born in New York City, but his musical scope reaches far beyond any city, into the mountains and valleys of the world.
It's not often one encounters exciting, experimental folk-rock from Prembrokeshire, Wales, but that's just what one discovers in the band Little Arrow and the dense, sound-shifting "Medicine Moon."
The cover photo of this disc is a composite of Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge, one image overlaid on the other. It's hard to see who belongs to which hands, or which head goes with which shirt, and indeed, the music on this disc continues in that vein -- they play so closely together, it is as if the two minds have become one. It's unreal.
Lera Lynn is a rising Americana star on the move.
The Lowest Pair has a timeless old-time sound. Promo photos aside, Kendl Winter and Palmer T. Lee make no pretensions to authenticity. On a track like "Moving On," the beauty of their harmonies and intricate banjo-and-fiddle arrangements speaks for itself.
Memphis, Tennesse isn't generally thought of as a hotbed for chamber-folk music, but it depends on your vision of "chamber" and "folk." The vision of Memphis Dawls -- featuring a varied cast of musicians, including Holly Cole, Jana Misener and Krista Wroten -- is as inspired by classic Memphis soul as it is the complex, emotional pop of Big Star (the group recorded in the hallowed halls of Ardent studios). The new song "Please Don't Leave Me Now" expresses a string-drenched yearning that defies narrow definitions.
Recorded under the sparest of conditions -- apparently just two microphones and an open door -- Gwyneth Moreland's "Little Black Flies" finds the Northern Californian in a timeless, contemplative folk mood that lingers long after the small but lovely song is through.
Lilly Hiatt's lovely twang is sharp at times and lulling at others in these three pared down versions of songs from her sophomore LP, "Royal Blue."
Hannah Aldridge's debut album, "Razor Wire," was released in mid-2014. Newly-divorced, and in a self-confessed "dark place," Aldridge made an emotional about-face from sessions recorded in her hometown of Muscle Shoals, Alabama and instead turned to Nashville, Tennessee.