It’s a new year and we’re back at it, posting a slew of new sessions every week. The abbreviated first week back on the scene still yielded some real gems as we started the year hot.
All of the streets that the people in Sam Outlaw songs travel down are about as lonely as they’re ever going to get. The doors can be kept unlocked, with the fear of intrusion minimal. All of the gazes that are had are those of clouded eyes, of droopy hearts, yearning for that lost someone to swing back into the picture, to stroll in through the front door, after all this time. Even then, there might only be a slight chance of full reconciliation. It’s obvious that all of the people in these songs are flawed, perhaps even to the point of total loss, but lots of times folks have a hard-ass time seeing that. They play on. They move back in. They love and want for the wrong person, just because they’re that familiar person. Outlaw’s brilliant, bittersweet country songs are of the ilk that led to the coining of the phrase “tears in my beer.” Check out Sam Outlaw’s session here.
One year ago, not a single one of us knew that we were looking for a guy like Hozier, or a guy like Sam Smith either, for that matter. They came right at us, blindsiding in a way that everyone was smitten with them both on contact. “Take Me To Church” and “Stay With Me” are songs that introduced us to singers and songwriters who are so signature and individual that whether you like it or not (and really, what’s there not to like about those two, no matter where your tastes align?), those guys are here to stay. And it’s for great reason. They made us feel stuff deep in our guts and right to the pits of our hearts. They overwhelmed us with all that pain and with all of those churning grey clouds of human existence. Well, we’re here to nominate Josef Salvat as one of 2015’s potential versions of Hozier and Sam Smith. Give a listen to this session and the stuff’s right there.
A Nashville band that you’re going to be hearing a lot more about in 2015. I can’t get enough—such a sweet touch with these guys. Jackpot. Check out Midnight Pilot’s session here.
Albatross and Chris Simmons
Adam Stockdale (who goes by the moniker of Albatross) and Chris Simmons made an overnight trip—nearly nine hours—from Nashville to Rock Island to record these two sessions, before heading off to Fairfield, Iowa, the home of what was formerly known as Maharishi International University, the world’s largest training center for transcendental meditation and the site of the recording of the Beach Boys’ most panned album, M.I.U. The songs that both of these native Englishmen are prime examples of what it means to keep your ears, eyes and heart open to whatever you might come upon. They spare words for those moments of tiny light, when there are very few words in the script, when it’s all just up to the fates and the wolves. Listen to Albatross and Chris Simmons’ session here.
As we’ve begun the sinking into the abysmal winter months here in Iowa, between the holidays and the numbness of temperatures, I’ve found a little time to explore some new music, and here are a handful of the best discoveries: Bond St. District (if you like Run The Jewels, this is just as interesting, with more of an MF Doom bent), Reed Foehl, Lost-Dawn, Mick Jenkins (super pumped about this guy!), Bud Bronson and The Good Timers, Youth Signals, CORNERS, Mayeux & Broussard, Land Lines (Denver-based—unreal good!), HEAT and KSRA. Now go out and have yourself a week!