Hawktail: “Annbjørg”

True musical talent is a gift to the world, at any level. But when the player’s skills reach into virtuoso terrain, it is an absolute wonder to behold. Anyone who’s ever seen Yo-Yo Ma perform would likely agree. So what happens when, essentially, four Yo-Yo Mas join forces in one band? Hello, Hawktail. Populated by […]

John Smith: Hummingbird

JThere’s something truly special about English folk music, whether it’s the dulcet tones of Nick Drake or the gentle lilt of Sandy Denny. With ancient structures, intersecting cultures, and rugged coastlines aplenty from which to draw inspiration, the genre often leans toward the melancholic, reflecting the UK’s oft-grey skies, and stories are passed from one […]

The War and Treaty: “If It’s in Your Heart”

There are a lot of things about being human that are hard and scary. On the inestimably long list, being vulnerable with another person is most certainly near the top. It requires immense courage to share something of yourself with another, when their response isn’t sufficiently pre-determined to be positive. Whether it’s saying “I love […]

David Huckfelt: “Still and Still Moving”

The wisdom of the ages-old adage “This too shall pass” tracks back to Persian times and Sufi poets. Various tellings from a multitude of traditions recount a random Eastern monarch who wished to have a ring etched with a saying that would help him through hard times. The saying certainly accomplishes that goal, but also […]

Hush Kids: “Goodbye Rain”

There are some who feel that two voices, when coming together, need be of differing timbres — one smooth, one rough. They would have us believe that a too-similar pairing won’t work, like a double-negative in a sentence negating itself or an opposites attract kind of quantum thinking. But some of the greatest musical duos […]

Lucy Wainwright Roche, “Quit with Me”

In an episode of his Revisionist History podcast titled “The King of Tears,” Malcolm Gladwell determines that the devil is, indeed, in the details when it comes to writing a really great weeper, and he deconstructs some of the saddest songs in country music to support his thesis. In his thinking, the flashpoints of real […]

Gregory Alan Isakov: “The Stable Song”

More so than many of his peers, Gregory Alan Isakov has a magical, mystical way with a folk song. There’s a tenderness to his approach that never tips into the abyss of corniness that befalls so many others. His new collaborative album, Gregory Alan Isakov and the Colorado Symphony, is a perfect example, as the […]

Courtney Marie Andrews: “Rookie Dreaming”

Somewhere, somehow, between being born in Arizona in 1990 and moving to Washington in 2011, singer/songwriter/guitarist Courtney Marie Andrews managed to spend some time in Laurel Canyon in the early 1970s… at least metaphorically. And her new album, Honest Life, seems to be the result of bending that space-time continuum because, while she keeps company […]

Michaela Anne: “Where Will I Be Found”

Over the past few years, a lot of ink has been spilled about outlier country artists who honor their heroes rather than chase the trends. The women oft-cited in that regard are Kacey Musgraves, Brandy Clark, and Ashley Monroe, though lately, another wave has joined their fray — Margo Price, Dori Freeman, and Michaela Anne, […]

The Isles Captivate with the Dusky Lull of “John James”

Three-part harmonies — when rendered well — are one of music’s great pleasures. If those harmonies happen to be set against a captivating musical backdrop, then all the better. That’s certainly the case with “John James,” the first track from the Isles’ Embers debut. The Brooklyn-based trio members — Hannah Read (voice/fiddle/acoustic guitar), Tamsin Wilson (voice/acoustic guitar/dobro), and Megan […]