"Got a quiver full of fire and a head full of rain, and I've been clinging to the drifting air," begins Patrick Park's lyrically majestic and musically humble "My Holding Hand Is Empty." It's the kind of song that only a serious songwriter could write; that it's so well sung and performed just makes it all the more remarkable.
Performing for more than 20 years, the Nields are no amateurs when it comes to contemporary folk-rock music.
Elephant Revival's sound, at times described as "transcendental folk," is haunting and beautiful, serious and comforting.
With a voice that sounds like it was scraped from the bottom of a well at the bottom of the world, Benjamin Shaw is an unlikely candidate for making purely beautiful music. And yet the langorous, delicate "Goodbye, Kagoul World" is just that.
The cinematic, world-folk ensemble Black Prairie (featuring members of the Decemberists and Bearfoot, for starters) stretches out into indie-pop territory on the bouncing, catchy, accordion-laced "Let It Out."
With folk sensibilities (and sensitivities) and a rock 'n' roll kick (and a bit of chaos), New York's 5j Barrow pushes (and then tears up) the envelope on dynamics and emotional release on the new track "Talking My Soul."