The Floridan singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Unknown River set the bar for penning immersive escapist honkytonk hits plateau-high with the standout single, Outlaws on My Trail, taken from his debut album, The Dead River Passage.
The fiddle and banjo-driven single delivers a vignette of a man coming to regret the repercussions of his down-and-out actions; the combination of the simple country living exposition and the upbeat arrangement and vocals is enough to make the experience of outlaw-evading sound like a riotous way to see the sands of time slip away, and therein lies the beauty of Unknown River’s indomitable magnetism.
By taking the influence of bluegrass, delta blues, country, rock and old-timey traditional tunes, Unknown River’s amalgamated Americana signature is designed to strip away the plight of modern-day malaise and entrench you in the ease and euphoria of eras that are far from bygone – roots-crafted sanctuaries are just one hit on play away. Press it.
Outlaws on My Trail is available to stream on Spotify.
The Victoria BC roots rock renegade Chance Brown delivered a bluesy bluegrass invitation you won’t want to turn down with his latest single, Come See ‘Bout Me.
Don’t let the acoustic guitar-wielding cover art fool you. Come See ‘Bout Me is more electrifying than anything Jack White has crafted in his entire career and just as rich in mainstream appeal thanks to the garage rock infusion. The track is so much more than a live wire, it is more reactive than the Chernobyl power plant at the point of explosion.
Between the harmonica blasts, the lap steel tones and the tightly controlled chaos of the choruses, Chance Brown succeeded in paying homage to the traditions of blues and ensuring that those aural traditions have a place in the contemporary music industry.
After spending his life in unwavering devotion to honing the different elements of song-crafting, Chance Brown has polished his talents and maintained his passion, initially ignited by the likes of Justin Townes Earle and Gord Downie, enabling him to become one of the most scintillating raconteurs of truths in any town.
Come See ‘Bout Me was officially released on the 18th of August; stream it on YouTube.
To kick off their eponymous EP, the Minneapolis band The Way Back Yard put their own baroque spin on the folk classic Wayfaring Stranger. The vignette of a world-weary soul traversing dirt roads in a bid for self-discovery may have been around since long before the Civil War, but it still lyrically rings just as true today in an era that is blighted by a collective loss of meaning.
The folky Americana retelling of the melancholic tale will embed itself deep within your soul; with every cello and violin sting pull, you will feel more of the gravity projected by the three-part harmonies that The Way Back Yard has become revered for.
They’ve come a long way since playing in backyards in the Twin Cities; their Crosby, Stills and Nash-inspired melodies have received extensive radio and podcast plays, and they’ve become part of the furniture in the Minneapolis bluegrass scene. On the basis of the gravitas in their cover of Wayfaring Stranger, it is about time for them to become a global folk phenomenon.
The self-titled EP from The Way Back Yard is now available to stream on Spotify.
Taking you simultaneously to a veranda in Sicily and a back porch in Louisiana, the soundscape in the standout single, Wandering Soul, from the singer-songwriter duo The Fretbender’s seminal album, Long Overdue, is a beacon for the wanderlust dreamers to follow home.
Between the harmonicas, slide guitars and folksy vocal lines which sugar the atmosphere with compassion for the world-weary to savour, Wandering Soul is a timeless rootsy Americana offering which will nestle you within its euphonic comfort.
The husband-and-wife duo, Diane and Bob Kordas are known for their homely senses of soul and their unique roots infusions, which allow heritage sounds to resound on contemporary airwaves. Following their hotly anticipated LP, we hope there’s plenty more in the pipeline.
Wandering Soul is available to stream via Spotify.
Before you head to your first rodeo, learn the ropes from the Floridian traditional country rock raconteur Brandon Bing. Taken from his latest whisky-soaked album, Huckleberry, his seminal single, Don’t Bring Your Car to a Rodeo, is an enlivening invitation into the roughneck culture of rodeos.
The foot-stompin’ rhythms drive good vibes right through the upbeat hit while the folky strings bring the gravitas that Brandon Bing is renowned for in the country music scenes far beyond his own turf. Off the back of his 2021 EP, Dyin’ Breed,he received accolades from the International Singer-Songwriters Association, and he’s toured his sound across the states with appearances at Live Oak in Nashville and at the BMI Songwriters Festival in Florida.
Don’t Bring Your Car to a Rodeo video is is now available on YouTube and you can also stream it on Spotify
The country rock raconteurs behind Hodges Country are primed and ready to take you down the ramshackled county line in their latest upbeat single, Country’s Kicking, which has been picking up plenty of steam on the airwaves since its July 2022 debut.
With over 128k streams on SoundCloud alone, the father and son duo led by American singer-songwriter Steve Hodges paid a stunning ode to his late wife, who was the co-creator and muse behind many of his greatest hits; her legacy is in a blaze of glory on the basis of Country’s Kicking alone. How the wake and tragedy can translate into such euphoric country rock raucousness is the epitome of beauty in my book.
Delve into the bluegrass righteousness for yourselves by heading over to SoundCloud.
With the quirky intensity of Neutral Milk Hotel and the bluegrass crooning of Tom Waits, we couldn’t help succumbing to the soul in Drew Peterson’s album, St. Jude, A Duck and the Crooked Line.
The opening single, Duck, is a narratively escapist Midwest adventure from the independent roots singer-songwriter who has been twanging acoustic strings and entertaining rowdy bars on the Minnesota scene for over two decades. The softly gruff vocals work their way through the dry humour in the lyrics over the minimalist production, consisting of little more than accordion and strings. But that is all Peterson needed to sonically consume you with the endearingly titled, Duck.
Femme fatale tracks always seem to veer into a soullessly predictable direction, but David Place steered Honky Tonk Woman into a far sweeter territory, armed with no more than a Taylor acoustic, Americana-roots-emanating vocal cords and a sense of romanticism that could turn any cynic.
Five albums down and international touring stripes gained, the Melbourne-born, Italy-based artist knew just how to capture his audience through Honky Tonk Woman; the ingeniously metaphorical lyrics resound just as much as the bluesy finger-picked notes.
The official music video for Honky Tonk Woman is now available to stream on YouTube.
The country and roots collective, Few Miles South, may have been dubbed the ‘Country Pretenders’, but their latest single and music video, Doggone, set them apart as distinguished escapist originators.
I haven’t been as endeared by Bluegrass Americana since wandering into a festival tent and discovering Hayseed Dixie in a cider-addled haze. Yet, despite the pickup truckload of heckin’ wholesome, Doggone was never in any danger of registering as a novelty.
There’s some serious gravitas in this ode to one of the best fuzzy 4-legged aspects of our existence. Toni’s timelessly arrestive vocals against the punchy rhythms, blazing acoustic guitar solos, and the striking fiddle are an alchemic mix.
Doggone will officially release on May 13th; you can check out the official music video by heading over to YouTube.
Her sound may scream Nashville, but Savannah Gardener’s roots are implanted in London’s landscape; she’s captivated audiences across the breadth of it, and she’s set to swoon plenty more with her latest single, City of Cowboys.
How many songwriters have perpetuated the myth that making one single entity your ENTIRE world is romantic? Millions? All it took was one soulfully demure single from Savannah Gardener to dispel it. Her emboldening approach to lyricism on the subjects of heartbreak, adversity and triumph carries an intuitive resonance that makes her soundscapes captivating from the first breath.
The twang of the bluegrassy resonator guitars, the accordance of the gentle chords and her anachronistically sweet vocals pull together to deliver the ultimate urban county redemption story that you’ll want to aurally turn the pages of time after time.
City of Cowboys is now available to stream on SoundCloud.