Sonically, punk rock and folk may initially seem like completely disparate musical spirits on opposing ends of the spectrum. On one hand, you have a wall of driving distortion and gruff gang vocals. On the other, you have minimalistic acoustic guitar and a voice that’s often more Bob Dylan than Johnny Rotten.
However, the last few years have brought the two genres closer together. More specifically, members of punk rock bands have gone on to launch equally successful solo singer-songwriter careers. While there are a handful of punk rock veterans doing this trend justice, I singled out my favorites for this edition of 3 Of The Week.
1. “Time Will Tell” – Dave Hause
As the singer and guitarist of Philadelphia punk act The Loved Ones, Dave Hause had also cut his teeth in other punk bands like Paint It Black and The Curse. “Time Will Tell” is the first track on Hause’s first solo record Resolutions, which was released in 2011 through Paper + Plastick Records. While I initially found the music video jarring, I was hooked on the song itself instantly. Hause has remarkable vocal range for a punk singer and gives an exceptional performance on this track. The instrumental arrangement is flawless, from the sparse piano in the intro to the thundering drums and guitar assault at the end.
2. “Recovery” – Frank Turner
In his early 20s, Frank Turner was the frontman for the English hardcore band Million Dead. Now in his early 30s, Turner has made a name for himself as a folk rock performer, playing everywhere from small clubs to Wembley Stadium. Joined by his backing band The Sleeping Souls, Turner delivers on his latest single “Recovery.” The song is from his upcoming album Tape Deck Heart, which was released in the U.S. on April 23. “Recovery” has an undeniably infectious chorus, Turner’s trademark lyrical wit and superior production quality. While the song tackles the all-too-familiar breakup themes, Turner’s competence as a wordsmith gives the song a sense of authenticity. In short, this song necessitates replays.
3. “Nomad By Fate” – Chuck Ragan
Before releasing his first solo album in 2007, Chuck Ragan made a name for himself as the co-frontman of seminal Gainesville punk rock band Hot Water Music. “Nomad By Fate” is a song from Ragan’s 2011 solo release Covering Ground. The intricate fiddle runs, call-and-response gang vocals and driving guitar strumming propel the song like a driving freight train under Ragan’s melodic, gravel-coated bellow. As a man who has spent most of his life touring, his tale of a life spent on the road is nothing if not genuine. “Nomad by Fate” is a stellar track that balances his commanding voice and his minimalistic, yet melodic sensibilities.