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Hello 2015: Acoustic

Last updated on January 20, 2015

Hello 2015: Acoustic

1. “Father’s Day” – Butch Walker. Do you want to cry? Butch Walker’s gorgeous, vulnerable, powerful eulogy for his father will make it happen. This is masterful songwriting.

2. “Through the Night and Back Again” – Michael Malarkey. With the casual vocals of Josh Ritter, the smooth yet perky vibe of Alexi Murdoch, and a charm all his own, Malarkey is now one to watch.

3. “How You Should Be” – Ethan Jano. Here we have a country-rock hollerer with a Johnny Cash strum, train-track drums, and a twitchy overall mood. It’s exciting.

4. “So Let’s Go” – Alan Doyle. If Imagine Dragons decided to write a sea shanty folk tune with some Celtic vibes, we’d have this astonishingly chipper tune. This should be crushing radio right about now.

5. “Never Gonna Cry” – Ryan Culwell. Mmm, I just can’t get enough of that Southern Gothic, windswept troubadour, Jason Isbell stuff. Mmm, mmm, mmm.

6. “Juniper Blues” – Chris Jamison. Jamison sets a stately, hushed mood, getting emotional without getting histrionic. For all those fans of the dignified dive bar singer/songwriter who takes his job of offering the soundtrack for climbing into a tumbler of whiskey and sadness seriously.

7. “Monterey” – Grand Lake Islands. Rides the link between cerebral folk mysticism and dreamy beach-bum sunshine nostalgia with surprising ease.

8. “I Need a New Hymn” – Grant Valdes. The latest in Valdes’ settings of unpublished hymn-writer Haden Laas’ texts is a perky, quirky, breathy tune that calls to mind an optimistic Elliott Smith, if you can imagine tapping your toes to Smith’s work.