This week, like most weeks for me, was filled to the brim with folky sounds. I have been listening to 3 artists this week with a surprising frequency, for no particular reason other than their quality tunes.
1. “Violin” – Amos Lee
First is Amos Lee’s “Violin.” This is a song from his most recent album that dropped earlier this year. To be honest, the album did not live up to my expectations (which I will detail further soon), but this song is the perfect step from his previous sound. The song opens with some obscure guitar-esque songs and jumps drastically to a singer-songwriter vibe that Amos Lee is very adept at capturing. His lyrics are what draw me to him mostly; he can be implicit, jeering, and vague all in one song, and he does so very well in this one. The song has a lot of ambient stuff going on in the chorus which is what collectively made his album hard to swallow for me, but there isn’t too much here in “Violin.” I wholeheartedly approve of any song with pedal-steel guitar in it, and this one meets the criteria.
2. “Calgary” – Bon Iver
This song was released by Bon Iver recently and is from their forthcoming self-titled album. Bon Iver has got the ambient indie-folk vibe down to a science. Justin Vernon’s falsetto singing style is unique and his instrumentation is seemingly hand-crafted for his voice. If you want to mellow out just press play. They don’t have a definite effect on your state of mind, in my opinion. “Calgary,” along with many other songs from Bon Iver, are songs to listen to when thinking is the worst thing you could possibly do to yourself, and we have these moments very often as humans. It completely distracts me from whatever it is that is going on in my life; while it is important for music to take you somewhere when you listen, I think it is just as, if not more important for it to take you away as well.
3. “Shelter” –Ray Lamontagne
Ray Lamontagne is one of those artists that have you saying after your first listen: “Damn, I wish I had his voice.” He has one of the most unique and resonant voices I have ever heard, all those kids on American Idol and other singing-talent shows should be taking notes and stop trying to emulate Bruno Mars and other Pop-music ilk. This song is from his first label-release Trouble, and the song is carried completely by his vocals, and you can tell it was by design. It is hard for Ray Lamontagne to make a bad song, the guitar in this one is simple for the most part and the drums aren’t anything to scream about. The ambient strings are a nice touch, but if you are looking to listen to a singer, pick this one.