1. “If I Could Make You My Own” – Dori Freeman. The sort of song that makes the distinctions between country and folk kind of meaningless: it’s just a fantastic melody, no matter how you slice it.
2. “Bitter End” – Gordi. The opening lyrical and melodic salvo of this moody, expansive, downtempo acoustic tune are a knockout.
3. “The Sailor” – Ethan Samuel Brown. Brown’s rough-around-the-edges voice and Ray LaMontagne-inflected arrangement create a svelte, romantic folk piece.
4. “Joe” – Max Gomez. Fans of David Ramirez will love this down-and-out storytelling in an alt-country acoustic vein.
5. “City of Vines” – Ryan Joseph Anderson. Anderson’s smooth voice and subtle intonation shifts fit beautifully with the gentle arrangement in this fingerpicked folk tune.
6. “Fast as I Can” – Loyal Wife. The vocal performances in this dusky, forested acoustic tune are excellent.
7. “Little Ann Sucking Her Thumb in Terror” – Little Husky. A delicate little walking speed lullaby that is entirely endearing.
8. “Come and See” – Lean Year. This track puts a slightly woozy cast on the “hushed and intimate” school of alt-folk. A beautifully weary vocal performance leads the way through.
9. “Billy Burroughs” – Jeffrey Martin. Sounds as if the expansive work of Gregory Alan Isakov got some Jason Molina sadness mixed into the sound.
10. “Before” – Jason van Wyck. This quiet, piano-led composition has more in common with minimalist composers and modern composition practices than the droning synths that are often associated with “ambient.” The enfolding atmosphere is extremely well-developed.