Folk/Country

Dogs on Shady Lane reflects on sweet and sour notes in new single "18"

Something dreamy, something sad—that is the glow that radiates from “18,” the new indie-folk single from Providence’s Dogs on Shady Lane. The acoustic guitar strums that softly thread about during the track begin to brighten as dreamy electric guitar accents pile up, and the reverbed vocals of project leader Tori Hall gently reflect on life and its sweet and sour melodies. Refrains such as “thick as brick but stick stone, hurt/me less than silence and warn/but burning hands mend me like wool, so feel me up/I’m too old to be crying so much” hint at strength and vulnerability, at the physical and its memory. The new track by Dogs on Shady Lane has in it all the charm of the indie-folk genre: escapist sounds you can drift away to and lyrics that ground you to a reality you help to shape; if you need a moment away from your busy Monday, we have it for you streaming below. - Rene Cobar, photo by Kannetha Brown

   

Lila Blue boldly faces the end in new video "The Dead"

Perhaps the most entrancing element of “The Dead,” the latest video by New York songwriter Lila Blue, is the way in which it maintains a mellifluous air despite its various dark parks. Pervasive drone dominates the background as images of the artist somberly half-submerged in water inform the track’s visual component, yet Lila Blue’s lilting vocal performance, and lyrical defiance of looming death, endow the production with a celebratory energy.“If we don’t wake up in the morn, we’ll know that we passed boldly, fearless… rather than life whittling us down until we’re worn,” she sings, embracing both the end’s inevitably yet stressing the importance of a life well-lived. In this sense, “The Dead” resonates as a triumphant indie folk release, one that proposes a counterargument to the somewhat depressing conclusion to James Joyce’s novella of the same name, while maintaining a cooled atmosphere few within the genre can replicate. Watch it below, and stream the rest of Lila Blue's recently released LP Leave Me Be, out now.

   

Woundikin shines in gritty single "So It Goes"

This past April, Boston’s Woundikin released a gritty folk single that seems to float, smoky and soothing even. “So It Goes” lets its acoustic guitar arpeggios fly, and the lead vocals linger to form a melody that comes from reflection, understanding, and acceptance for the unknown things of this world, as beautiful as they can be. Woundikin, like many of us, is making the best of his time in quarantine and so we have this gift for the weekend ahead. Check out Woundikin’s Tiny Desk Contest 2020 performance of the song streaming below. - Rene Cobar

   

Liz Bills pays tribute to mothers in new single "Mama's Song"

Nothing stirs emotion quite like a serene country twang paired with honeyed vocals, both telling a story of gratitude and love, that is exactly what Liz Bills’ “Mama’s Song” does, and it does it so well. In the new music video for the song, photographs of families, and of course of mothers flash across as Liz contemplates through music and lyric the importance of being grateful for the sacrifices mothers make; those very sacrifices make tributes all the more necessary. Released yesterday to commemorate Mother’s Day, the brand new song is a message that hits home. Haverhill’s Liz Bills keeps things simple with delicate guitar string plucks and a vocal melody that is quite smile-inducing, quite fitting for a story to relate to. Stream “Mama’s Song below for a good start to the week. - Rene Cobar, photo by Carissa Johnson

   

Alan Scardapane tells his story in demo album "Winter House"

Putting a collection together of one’s work is no easy task, each piece is part of a greater story being told, and it must be told well. Boston’s Alan Scardapane does this brilliantly with his collection titled Winter House. Each track showcases Alan’s easy-going approach to music and serious melodic chops. Songs like “Camden Yards” drop you into a place of comfort: the music, with its lingering harmonies, and soft acoustic guitar plucks, flows like a cool river or a spring breeze you want to listen to, to breathe in, take in. “Without You” is folk-rock for the moodiest of days and the warmest summer evenings. Alan has collected his best tunes of 2014-16, and it shows; stream the edgy “Whiskey Girl” below for a proper weekend greeting. - Rene Cobar