6 favorite new songs from the past year or soSeptember 19, 2010
1. Mumford & Sons – Several of you were victim to a mass email I sent out this summer after I discovered this group while driving home to Chicago one evening. They are a West London group that sing Americana folk/bluegrass and have incredible depth of lyrics and harmonies. Becca and I are both about fit to burst that we are going to see them live at the end of October when they come through Chicago. While “Little Lion Man” was the song I originally fell in love with, their whole album “Sigh No More” is highly worth your time, just ask Katie 🙂
2. Rachel Ries – While Rachel’s music has been among my favorites for quite some time, this year I finally got my hands on her most recent full-length album “Without a Bird”. She is a Chicago singer/writer/musician extraordinaire with Menno connections and while this grainy video does this song little justice, it is one of my favorites. For a while earlier this year, this album would be what I listened to on repeat as I tried to go to sleep. The tight harmonies created between Rachel and Ariel Bolles (the woman playing the upright bass) are so tight and haunting, combined with strong story-telling lyrics means that if this is an album you don’t have yet, you should fix that soon.
3. Tanya Davis – I first discovered this Canadian artist after seeing her beautiful spoken word piece “How to be alone”. I liked the song so much, I dug around, found her record label and bought her most recent CD. My favorite of her songs is “Thesaurus” which encapsulates much of her style of simple melodies, plaintive voice and a sound that is perfect for listening to while driving solo.
4. House of Doc – This is a group that my parents actually told me about, they heard them at a Mennonite worship/arts conference and my Mom actually used one of their songs at the most recent Hess reunion. They are wonderful examples of what richness a few voices can produce when blended so perfectly. I couldn’t find a good youtube video for these guys, so if you want to get an idea of their sound, head over to their MySpace page and listen to “Rain Before The Fall”
5. Emily Rodgers – This year is also when I got to hear Emily live for the first time in a non-Electric Brew setting. It was a really incredible show and wonderful to see how her sound has shifted in the time since I had last heard her. Another Goshen College/Bethany connection, Emily has an incredible voice that is now backed up by an entire band. I think this NPR quote (from her website) really sums up her music, “a haunting, unforgettable voice that radiates with a surreal beauty. Though the songs are rooted loosely in traditional folk, Rodgers’ voice and the creaky production give it a creepy, slightly more experimental feel”. If you click on that NPR link, you can find a free download of Hurricane from her new album “Bright Day”, but my favorite from the album is actually “In Spring Alchemy”. But you should make up your own mind, by going over to her website and buying it for yourself. Or better yet, go see her live the next time she is in town.
6. Adele – I am not sure entirely if I first heard of Adele this year, but I have been watching her song “Hometown Glory” on repeat for the past few weeks. She is British and only 19 when her debut album won all kinds of awards and Grammys and she is a perfect example of the old soul (or at least old voice) in a young body. I love this song and also consider it a perfect driving/reading or just sitting on the porch swing song. Have a listen: