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Folk/Country





Simon Flory Channel '70s Country On “Haul Away The Blues”

In 2021 so far, the country music fan base is so fragmented that fans of the cross-over country albums on the Billboard Top 10 and fans of Americana heroes like Chris Stapleton are likely not the same fans. However in the case of Simon Flory’s new album “Haul These Blues Away,” it’s pretty much guaranteed that fans of both country genres will be enthusiastic about Flory’s album because it is actually more of a folk album than it is a country album — and a 1970’s soft-rock/1970’s country rock reminiscent album to boot! 

 

In the past few years, millennials have been increasingly drawn to music that predates their birth, especially soft country folk/rock. Before the pandemic kept me away from my karaoke night, I had noticed starting in 2015 that 20 and 30-something singers at karaoke preferred to try their hand at “Black Water” or “Best of my Love” (the Eagles one) or “Amie” instead of singing newer music. 

 

A Chicago transplant to Fort Worth who had taught guitar at Chicago’s famous Old Town School of Folk Music, Simon Flory’s fluency with Dylan, The Pure Prairie League, The Eagles, The Byrds, The Marshall Tucker Band, John Denver and Linda Ronstadt (all favorites at the school) makes for some solid songwriting influences on “Haul These Blues Away” that are likely to entice a young adult audience stretched thin with post-college grown-up responsibilities. 

 

On “Haul These Blues Away,” Flory’s Gram Parsons-like “Peter Mack Built A Semi Truck”, his Pure Prairie League square dance stylings in “Hogback Road” and the Eagles-like mellow road trip song “Atoka” sidestep the question of where country music’s future is heading. Those listeners who were partial to The Drive By Truckers’ 2020 release “The New OK” as well as fans of Robbie Fulks, Steve Earle and Chris Stapleton will probably appreciate the poignant political subtext of the devil story in “Hogback Road” as well Flory’s story of how his childhood shaped him as a compassionate political activist in “Learning How to Talk.” The duet with Daisy O’ Connor on “Walking Stick” is another sweetly thrilling surprise, especially in a unique song reminiscent of Jason Isbell’s “Dreamsicle”.

 

There are so many sweet moments on this one album. The harmonies backing Flory’s lead vocals by the talented duo of Clay Parker and Jodi James on some of the tracks provide a stress-relieving mood that music fans have long appreciated whether skilled harmonies are those of The Carter Family or those of The Zac Brown Band.

 

- Jill Blardinelli


 

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Francis Luke Accord "Sunnyside EP"

Frances Luke Accord, Nicholas Gunty and Brian Powers, have released a new EP, "Sunnyside", via Two-Dale Records. This is the duo's first release on their new label and first since 2019's "Silver & Gold".

This is EP further's the duo's impressive catalog of soothing Folk music, and is a "glimpse into the larger body of work" the duo has created during the pandemic.

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Lou Heneise "Bad Day"

We are proud to be able to premiere the first single, "Bad Day", off the forthcoming debut EP "Trial & Error" from Singer-songwriter Lou Heneise.

Lou blends Americana and folk traditions with raw, honest, and endearing lyrics. "Bad Day" will be officially released on March 26th and "Trial & Error" will be out April 9th.

Photo by Paul Vriend

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The Bellow & The Whale "Wild Dogs Howling"

The Bellow & The Whale have released a new EP called "Wild Dogs Howling". This is the first new music from the duo of Bianca Bernard Black & Julia Lee Norris since the release of their debut EP, "The Noise Still Lingers", back in December.

The duo creates a sound that bends genres like soul, folk, and pop into something unique and beautiful peaceful.

The second single from their 2020 EP is called "Right By My Side" and is accompanied by an amazing video featuring the talented dancer Michaela Parks.





Wild Pink's "A Billion Little Lights"

 The release of new music from the Wild Pink is cause for mellowed-out celebration and so today we're in luck because the band (but not that band) just yesterday released their third full-length LP (yes I realize that's redundant) and it's called A Billion Little Lights. From the first bars of "The Wind Was Like A Train" an auditory spell is cast by John Ross & Co. as a warm-hued synth melody is joined by chiming guitars and marching band snare and weeping steel guitar woven together like a comfy quilt and finally Ross himself as he gently intones a Zen koan about what sounds like a game of horseshoes played on a frozen lake and how he's got your back despite the seeming recklessness of this scenario with the song culminating in a string section flourish all clocking in at an economical 2 minutes and 37 seconds.

Listening to the opening track I can't help but think of Jason Lytle and Grandaddy during that group's heyday, or at least their gentler material, but Wild Pink provides an Americana spin on the indie aesthetic that sets them apart, and on the whole, A Billion Little Lights finds many beautiful wrinkles to explore in the veins of blissed out folk and alt-country and roots rock reveries all while contemplating subjects such as the inevitability of time's passage and the violent settlement of the West and social media oversharing and Carl Sagan's Cosmos and Florida retirement homes (Ross grew up in Central Florida before relocating to NYC years ago) with the latter two of these enumerated subjects acting as inspiration for the song below whose video features one of the stars of Schitt's Creek and also features backing vocals (just like "The Wind" above) from Julia Steiner who fronts the Chicago-based band Ratboys. (Jason Lee)

 

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