Talk about making a statement on your debut album. Walker’s moving acoustic ballad is both a highly personal reflection on his father’s battle with cancer and his own desire to be a better person. Simply stunning.
Few artists pour their soul into their songs like Michael McDermott. Everything about this song – from the lyrics to the soaring chorus to McDermott’s impassioned vocals – packs an emotional punch.
Memphis songwriter John Kilzer passed away suddenly earlier this year, but not before sharing this moving ballad about embracing missteps and doubt to find a sense of contentment. “May you learn to love the scars.”
Porter serves up a blistering rock song that lambasts the state of the world and issues a call to arms.
Well I’m done with pointless poetry, I’m gonna say what I really mean
We’ve got to learn to love each other before we turn into machines
Our redemption song can topple walls, but first we must compose it
The dream is dead, and everybody knows it
Lula Wiles’ genteel instrumentation and luminous harmonies give this poignant ballad of lost love an opulent aura.
The Wild Reeds stand up to the expectations placed on them by others with a slice of pure pop perfection, anchored by a rousing – and infectious – chorus.
The gentle sway of acoustic guitars and restrained but persistent percussion give this ode to getting over heartbreak an engaging charm.
It’s a necessary evil to be working on a sequel now
a dangerous endeavor, but maybe more than ever
I need a reckless heart again, one that wouldn’t mind if I let you in
yeah I want a reckless heart again, I think it’s time to move on
Sometimes you just need fist-pumping “me against the world” anthem. They don’t come much better than this.
A majestic old-school Memphis soul ballad, made all the richer by strings, organ and, of course, Brasher’s commanding voice.
The stark beauty of this haunting ballad stands in sharp contrast to the social and political turmoil that is it’s lyrical focus. “When all hope is gone, all that’s left is hope.”
Classic Carll – sharp commentary with a touch of humor, set to a rousing blast of Texas honky-tonk.
I just wanna do my labor, love my girl, and help my neighbor
while I’m keeping all my joie de vivre
but it’s sure getting hard, brother, in times like these
I could use just a little bit of help in times like these
Things aren’t what they seem in this tale of dealing with loss, Foehl’s fragile voice adding to the song’s emotional impact.
Charlie Marie’s tale of ill-fated love plays like a timeless country classic.
Ariana Gillis shares a wonderful folk fable about the search for comfort when faced with profound loss.
Ritter returns to his folk roots with this plea for more humanity in the world.
Ingram offers up his take on the beautiful “Tin Man”, co-written with and originally recorded by Miranda Lambert.
With a line as simple — and evocative — as “an ashtray in an old motel, I filled up with my regrets”, Carroll demonstrates why he is one of folk music’s great wordsmiths.
About the author: Mild-mannered corporate executive by day, excitable Twangville denizen by night.