This edition of The Pew Playlist once again circles the globe with Americana and Folk offerings from the United States, Australia, and Norway. There’s also a lot of love songs in the mix this week, paired with heavier topics of breakups, the tolls of addiction, and the struggles with mental health.
Without further ado, here is this week’s Pew Playlist presented in the order they were added to the list. If you haven’t followed The Pew Playlist on Spotify, please take a minute and hit that button in the Spotify app. Music is sorted for an enjoyable “mixtape” experience. But feel free to shuffle it up!
“WHISKEY & WINE” – IVAN & ALYOSHA
I used to say that you can’t really describe Americana, you just know it when you hear it. “Whiskey & Wine” from Ivan & Alyosha is a one of those songs that doesn’t simply check off Americana boxes–it’s a prime example of everything that gets you hooked on the genre. A soulful, classic country rock influenced ballad about the struggle with alcoholism, it features the warm glow of electric guitar, a plaintive drum beat, organ, and well-placed vocal touches from Brandi Carlile and the Hanseroth twins.
“WOKE UP DRUNK” – CREATURE COMFORT
In “Woke Up Drunk,” the latest single from Nashville’s Creature Comfort, tinkling acoustic melodies meld seamlessly with indie rock influenced electric. Pops of percussion, contemplative lyrics, and little touches of strings round out this intimate reflection on the aftermath of a breakup.
“DARK STORM” – MIMI GILBERT
Haunting, raw vocals take center stage on Mimi Gilbert‘s open examination of her mental health in “Dark Storm.” It’s the slight tremor in Gilbert’s voice that packs the true emotional punch. The song is a folk rocker at its core with an electric guitar melody and a powerful bass groove that swell with Gilbert’s increased introspection.
“SURRENDERING” – JUNI HABEL
A hypnotic melody pairs perfectly with Juni Habel‘s beckoning, dreamy, folk vocals on her latest single, “Surrendering.” The song has an ethereal quality–a fairytale ballad come to life. It stands out as an exploration in minimalism, as the track maintains its gentle acoustic instrumentation, relying on tempo changes to maximize the impact of Habel’s vocals.
“THE LONG DARK” – CAMPHOR
Folk music meets chamber pop influences on “The Long Dark” from Camphor, a project of singer-songwriter Max Avery Lichtenstein. An emotional exploration of loss and recovery, the song leans on the interplay between Lichtenstein’s haunting vocals and the crisp, glowing instrumentation.
“STARRY EYES” – WYN DORAN (Ft. Justin Wiggins)
With a history of international choir competitions resulting in performances at famed venues such as the Sydney Opera House in Australia and Carnegie Hall in New York, it’s impossible to miss the classical training in Wyn Doran‘s vocals. Doran’s crisp voice is the showcase of “Starry Eyes.” The deeper harmonies provided by producer/songwriter Justin Wiggins contrast perfectly with Doran’s range.
“DANCING ON THE MOON” – BATTS
BATTS, the project of Melbourne-based musician Tanya Batt, brings us a love song set in space on “Dancing On The Moon.” While the setting may be unique, the tenderness and longing in the lyrics translate universally. The use of a minimally strummed acoustic guitar puts the focus on Batt’s yearning vocals.
“MY QUIET” – KRIS ANGELIS
Tender reflections on love are set to a soft acoustic melody on “My Quiet” from L.A.’s Kris Angelis. The song’s depth comes thanks to its contemplative lyrics that are filled with emotional wandering and brought to life by her naturally reflective vocals.
“BETTER” – EMILI
A folk-pop song gets a jazzy twist on “Better” from Emili. Ripples of piano interplay with a gentle acoustic guitar melody. However, it’s the artist’s clear, tender vocals that keep this saccharine love song pure.