Every year brings its lot of music goodies. Below are the ones that we had the privilege to hear and enjoy. As usual, the list is edited by Mateo James with the input of everyone at the WSS team.
Going Down to the River, Doug Seegers (USA)
Releasing your debut album late in life infuses the record with experiences and maturity. Doug Seegers’ debut solo album is raw, rootsy and emotionally charged. A brilliant 62-year-old singer who struggled with homelessness for years, Seegers found acclaim when Swedish country- and pop-singer and songwriter Jill Johnson discovered him in a Nashville food pantry. The two subsequently recorded his song Going Down to the River as a duet that climbed to the top of the music charts in Sweden. the song features Jill Johnson providing some lovely harmonies and successfully contrasting vocals as well as Swedish singer, composer and songwriter Magnus Carlson. This is the solo version.
September Fields, Frazey Ford (Canada)
From the album Indian Ocean come the fresh waves of Frazey’s Ford sound. From the vocal delivery to the instrumentation to the arrangements, everything fits perfectly. Best known as the lead singer for well-loved alternative folk band the Be Good Tanyas, Canadian singer-songwriter Frazey Ford follows her critically acclaimed solo debut album Obadiah with an equally soul-packed release that sees her fulfilling her lifelong dream of working with the Hi Rhythm Section (made famous for backing up Al Green and Ann Peebles) in the historic Royal Studios in Memphis, Tennessee.
A House Is A Home, Ben & Ellen Harper (USA)
Singer-songwriter and musician Ben Harper teams up with his mum Ellen to bring us this deeply personal album, Childhood Home, that explore the intricacies of family life with honesty and generous intimacy. A House Is A Home introduces this collection of ten songs with the magical harmonies of Ellen against the folky guitar of Ben and sets the evocative nature of the LP (six songs are written by Ben and four by Ellen).
Bridges, Krista Detor (USA)
Country/folk feel with a touch of Jazz and an interesting yet subtle bass input. Krista Detor’s voice lazes above this like chocolate over toast.
Galleries, Jonathan Tarplee (England)
There is something about this singer-songwriter. Sit back to hear it. This is galleries from his Attachment Theories release.
Free Like Smoke Tiki Black feat Jo Bywater (England)
“There are moments when the planets align and everything is wonderful with the world… That happened with the collaboration of Tiki Black and Jo Bywater… One of my favourite songs of the year”, Radio Host Rick Stuart
You’re the one that I want, Lo-Fang (USA)
With deceptive looks and name, Lo-Fang beautifully takes on the John Farrar’s classic in his debut album Blue Film and for all those reasons, I’ve got chills.
Getting Away, Marina Florance (England)
Take a break from love so you can appreciate it anew; better explained by Marina Florance and only one of the beautiful tracks of her new EP.
Bird, Gino Sitson (Cameroon)
Gino Sitson releases another album, Bamisphere, laying his virtuoso style with soul. Listen without prejudice.
Struck Gold, Little Sparrow (England)
Little Sparrow continues the promotion of her LP Wishing Tree with the EP from which this title track is extracted.
Comfort, The Moth Lantern
This ecclectic band supported by nicely pen songs, great dynamics and instrumentation, strong vocal lead and ecclectic sounds offer us Comfort among other tracks from their LP Light Waves. More on them in their interview at http://www.1inmusic.com/discover-the-moth-lantern/
Tamed, Daria Kulesh
Daria Kulesh releases her EP Eternal child, a kind of sung set of letters to her loved ones and once loved once with a voice that possesses the honesty and unconditional love only possessed by an eternal child.
Another book, Rowan Ross
Rowan Ross releases his sophomore album, Fireflight, in 2014 and it follows in the melodic and varied steps of his debut album, Second Fiddle from which Another book is extracted, a track discovered via Fatea and still calling for its listener to harmonise to. Check his interview at http://www.1inmusic.com/rowan-ross-singersongwriterviolinist/
Easy, Sheryl Crowe
Sheryl Crowe takes it easy and her country-based return is a humble triumph.
Ghost changes, Ian Matthews
There is an element of enigma in Iain Matthews’ The Art of Obscurity’ accentuated by the fusion of folk with some Jazz and the key changes and semantic lexicon reminiscent of early Bowie and his own typical insightful lyrics and intricate guitar work. Slowly but surely addictive. Tiki
Careless Words, Ani Di Franco
Ani DiFranco takes a chance in 2014 with Allergic to Water and it pays. Bold and subtle at the same time, this personal 12-track album is full of light melodies and surprises all at once.
Trouble’s Lament, Tori Amos
Unrepentant Geraldines is the new album from the prolific musician including a duet with her daughter (again). This track clearly stands out on the album.
Rufus Wainwright releases a best of highlighted by several hits including this one.
The Silver Lining, Sarah McQuaid // Walking into white
Folk is jazzed up big time when Sarah McQuaid teams up with her dream band. For more than the single, check Walking into white, the full LP also reviewed at 1inmusic
Mistakes Of My Youth, EELS, The Cautionary Tales Of Mark Oliver Everett
The introductory guitar of this track immediately hooked me in, so whatever was going to be happening was going to struggle to get me out of it. Singer-songwriter Mark Oliver Everett of American alternative rock band Eels formed in California in 1995 sings “I can’t keep defeating myself, I can’t keep repeating the mistakes of my youth”. Tune to your raw self, unimpeded by marketed sounds of crisp tuning.
Some superbly written or translated stories bringing some Russian folk to contemporary times and English shores. Listen. Love.
Right Time, Nikki Lane
Nashville singer-songwriter Nikki Lane nails her sophomore album All Or Nothin’ with her voice and style reminiscent of Wanda Jackson and Duffy and lyrics like “It’s always the right time to do the wrong thing” in the introductory track. She teamed up with Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys for a record that turns the vulnerable singer-songwriter stereotype on its ears.
Lucky, Hafdis Huld
Hafdis Huld has returned this spring with her third solo album, Home. Appropriately titled, the entrancing new album was written and recorded entirely in her picturesque wooden house located in the Icelandic mountains near Reykjavik. Home features beautifully stripped down production with a simplicity and directness that helps to showcase Hafdis’s pure and assured vocals to perfection. Written with an array of highly respected international songwriters, Home is a superlative collection of Hafdis’s trademark songwriting skills that her worldwide fans have come to expect.
Blood test, Kris Delmhorst
Kris Delmhorst presents with the title and introducing track of her album a reflective stance on…Kris Delmhorst’s new release describes a moment of reckoning and centering in the songwriter’s life, and in society as a whole. In this collection, Delmhorst acknowledges the weary work of an intentioned life – and the new American dream of presence and perspective in a frenetic time. Featuring new collaborators – friend and fellow songwriter Anders Parker (Varnaline, Gob Iron, New Multitudes), and bandmates drummer Konrad Meissner (Brandi Carlile, The Silos) and multi-instrumentalist Mark Spencer (Blood Oranges, Lisa Loeb, Laura Cantrell, Son Volt).
Feels Alright, Shane Piasecki
If this feel-good album by Shane Piasecki is his way to literally “Set You Free” then he might not be that far from having achieved it at least for the time it takes to hear these songs. I love the blend of folk, pop, rocj and R&B and sometimes even blues. It features some well-known session players and this can be heard
Right on time, A.J. Croce
From the album Twelve Tales, ove love, a voice like James Morrisson and with some playfulness at the tip of the tongue that flows through the music tooCroce traveled to record this album in five cities across the country, allowing each producer to select two new songs to record. Legendary producer Cowboy Jack Clement (Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash) signed on first for sessions in Nashville. Croce then went on to record sessions with Allen Toussaint (Dr. John, Paul McCartney) in New Orleans, Greg Cohen (Tom Waits, John Zorn) at Tom Waits’ introduction in New York City, five-time Grammy winner Kevin Killen (Elvis Costello, Peter Gabriel) in Stamford, CT, and in Los Angeles for sessions with Mitchell Froom (Crowded House, Los Lobos) and Tony Berg (Fiona Apple, Bob Dylan).
Many critics have dismissed Sheezus, Lily’s Allen new album, as safe and unoriginal pop. I wouldn’t know. I recognise Allen’s most missed tongue, cheeky with a sarcastic accent, her laid-backness, her style even though the genre itself is not typical. There are definitely some good things there and it is still a pleasure to listen to the London lady.
Mum, I like a girl / Untamable (untameable), Sofia
A lovely film of a voice, candid expression like an hesitation and apology about the words in the letter to her mum about her kind of love. Sorry that i let you go but i ain’t sorry that i love her. The theme is by now unoriginal but who cares.
The Mighty Storm, Peter Bradley Adams
Here comes “The Mighty Storm” with its dramatic settings accentuated by Adams whispered / smoky / aching vocals, the Amerindian-feel of the rhythm of the Rock/Americana. The Mighty Storm is marked by strong melodies, the band’s understated, but muscular playing and the calm emotional intensity of his singing. The lyrics are the album’s most positive, but Adams’ whispered, aching vocals provide a dramatic contrast, implying the loneliness that often resides in the heart of an enraptured lover. The songs on The Mighty Storm may have a placid surface, but the soothing melodies and Adams’ low-key delivery run deep to portray the joys and insecurities of the human condition with a rare compassionate insight.RELEASED: February 4, 2014 on I Me Mine
Dry morning? / It won’t always be this way, Ethan Johns
In your shoes, Sarah McLachlan
Three-time Grammy winner and legendary singer-songwriter makes her Verve debut with her eighth studio album, Shine On. Sarah has sold over 40 million albums in her career and is one of the most respected female artists in music today. ‘This album is about moving through the second half of my life in a more mindful and meaningful way, recognizing that every day, every moment is precious and though we all have our issues and problems, our damages, we all have the ability to continue to learn, grow from our experiences, thrive and shine on.’ – Sarah McLachlan
Living With A Long Way To Go, Del Barber
For his fourth album Prairieography, singer-songwriter Del Barber ventures farther into traditional country music with a mix of lyrically superb storytelling and polished finger-style guitar work, warm hometown melodies and his intoxicating personality.
I Wanna Love You, Jessica Lea Mayfield
Make My Head Sing is the second new album from “artist to watch” (Rolling stone ), singer and musician Jessica Lea Mayfield. Laid back vocals and deja-heard music make it an easy-to listen collection of tracks
Ghost, Jeremy Messersmith
from the album Heart Murmurs, Jeremy Messersmith can break your heart one minute, and then put those fragile pieces back together again the next. The Minneapolis singer-songwriter candidly chronicles the ups and downs of modern relationships, all within the simple but striking constructs of his indelible, poignant pop songs. On his assured and expansive fourth full-length album, Messersmith moves past the existential, death-laden themes of his 2010 breakthrough, The Reluctant Graveyard, to focus instead on the broad topic of love and the eternal affairs of the heart. And this polished, impassioned new batch of songs represent another confident artistic step forward in Jeremy’s flourishing career.
TAGS: Singer-Songwriter | Indie Rock | Indie Pop | YSMFun and engaging, familiar Pop
Dear River/ The fire, Kina Grannis
There are some lovely elements from the engaging sophomore studio album Elements from Kina Grunnis. Interesting vibrato, fun and infectious popwas released on May 6, 2014 and lush acoustics and folk-driven vocal.
A Feather’s Not A Bird, Rosanne Cash / The River & The Thread
Quite prolific this year, Rosanne Cash forced us to choose one album only and one song of course. By know means does this song gives you the breath of what the lady did or can do so just think of it as only one feather of her proverbial bird, to paraphrase the opening track of the album.
Jerk Ribs, Kelis
The ecclectic taste of her FOOD release, marrying her musical and culinary loves and specialties to explore pain, happiness and everything in between. She describes her 6th album, warm from her unique and honest voice and , as ‘a kind of unspoken lovefest’, involving two unlikely partners. Food is a startling combination of Kelis’ most frank and vulnerable vocals to date, and Dave Sitek’s (TV on the Radio) inimitable sonic imprint. Littered with transcendent, Spector-esque lift, warm bottom ends and vast depth, the music is the perfect backdrop for Kelis’ unique voice. The latter has only improved with time and experience, and the album candidly explores .
Chuck E. Weiss
Red Beans and Weiss, the newest album from Los Angeles legend Chuck E. Weiss is extraordinary fortune to record the album without the pressure of a time clock. He began recording in October 2012 with strong encouragement by his friends and mentors, Tom Waits and Johnny Depp, who are executive producing this album, which all consider to be Weiss’ best work yet. Mateo
Wires, Basia Bulat from Tall tall shadow (2013)
I am still unsure about Basia Bulat’s choice of arrangement or some of their delivery but the songs are nice and worth mentioning
Diamonds on the water, Oysterband
Faniliar sounds revisited.
Twa Sisters, Emily Smith, Echoes
Emily Smith released two albums this year. Twa Sisters was on Echoes so there you go.
Midnight Oil, Eliza Gilkynson from The Nocturne Diaries
That feel of acoustic guitar around the fire. Akthough the album cover is probably a spoiler.
Wrong, Mindy Miller
The soulfully warm voice of Mindy Miller serves us classic country on the rocks in her May 2014 and 3rd studio release Let it Burn
According to plan, Augustana, Life Imitating Life
Pop imitating pop by Augustana.
Dave Van Ronk, Live In Monterey
High Hopes, Bruce Springsteen
The Boss releases a mixture of alternative takes of existing songs and covers with his band.
Le piano du pauvre, Leo Ferre
The release of the best of Leo Ferré, very much one of the most reverred French singer-songwriter, called Meilleure collection française: le meilleur de Leo Ferrè gives us a trip back into the treasures of French folk, so-called Chanson