The Pew Playlist is now at full strength! That means there’s 50 new and recent Americana songs ready for you. Going forward I’ll rotate 5 off the list each week and add 5 new ones to keep it fresh.
The playlist also continues to gain followers. If you like the list, please share it with your friends. More than anything, sharing the list helps the artists.
Without further ado, here is this week’s Pew Playlist presented in the order they were added to the list. Music is sorted for an enjoyable “mixtape” experience. But feel free to shuffle it up!
“NEXT TO MINE” – ZACH CORNELL
“Next To Mine” will immediately connect with all of us that grew up on classic 80’s country. With an a cappella opening, relatable lyrics, and cozy harmonies, it instantly reminds you of offerings from Alabama, Shenandoah, and Vince Gill. However, the rambling banjo gives it a rustic authenticity those artists lacked, while Zach Cornell‘s deep, twangy voice has a way of making this love song feel like it’s coming straight from the heart.
“NO ONE TO SAVE YOU” – GARRETT OWEN
Usually the word raw is used to describe songs that are stripped down, vocals almost breaking from emotional strain. On “No One To Save You,” Garrett Owen reminds us that a musically pure track can carry a ton of feeling. Mournful electric guitar sets the mood, while Owen’s vocal inflection has just the right edge of emptiness to make this classic country style ballad a raw reflection on a relationship coming to a close.
“A LITTLE MORE LOVE” – RON POPE (FT. VON GREY)
There are few constants in the music scene, but one certainty is the depth of introspection that Ron Pope puts into each of his songs. A keen self-awareness allows Pope to explore his inner-self, while his gift for writing lets him share his reflections in a profound way. While Pope’s aching vocals tell his struggle to find a love that feels like ‘enough,’ the gentle support from Von Grey give it a tender warmth that makes you feel like everything will be okay.
“BIRDS OF A FEATHER” – SHIRA
Self-described “fairy-folk” singer-songwriter Shira gives us a dreamy soundscape on “Birds of Feather.” The song starts minimal, with gentle acoustic guitar, before building to a grand orchestral background. As the music swells, so does the power of Shira’s vocals, as she displays her impressive range.
“LINES OF LOVE” – WAITING FOR SMITH
Some songs just put you in a better mood and “Lines of Love” from Waiting for Smith is definitely one of them. An optimistic message, an uptempo melody filled with lively acoustic guitar and tambourine, and a soothing vocal delivery make this folk song fun.
“THE OFFERING” – XANTHE ALEXIS
From our recent Mother Church Pew album review: “The Offering,” is reminiscent of the country songs I grew up on, as electric guitar twang meets on-point harmonies.
“EXPECTATION RUNS” – THOMAS CSORBA
Well-crafted lyrics can carry a song a long way. However, it’s Thomas Csorba’s vocals that make “Expectation Runs” a prime example of story-telling Americana. Csorba has a gift for pulling just the right emotion from each word.
“STRONGER” – FREEDOM FRY
I’ll admit the band name Freedom Fry gave me a bit of a pause. A quick perusal of their bio explains that it comes from the duo being half American and half French. In “Stronger,” the husband/wife combo display a delightful chemistry on harmonies, while banjo, acoustic guitar, and a lively drum rhythm make the song an upbeat toe-tapper.
“LONELY HEART OF MINE” – NED HILL
Hitting on the roots-rocking side of Americana, Ned Hill gives us a jukebox-anthem with “Lonely Heart of Mine.” A classic country undercurrent of electric guitar and loneliness-filled lyrics is boosted by the addition of piano, organ, and fiddle.
“THE RECKONING” – FRONT COUNTRY
Your first listen will have you thinking this song must be about the current COVID-19 crisis. It may come as a surprise that “The Reckoning” by Front Country was written more than a year before the outbreak. However, metaphorical lyrics about a sickness (the need for widespread societal change) take on new significance with all the challenges and changes of 2020. A powerful vocal delivery of the impassioned words is the star of the song while the accompaniment of strings and banjo make for a wonderful supporting cast.