1. Midwestern Exposure's "Spike Drivin' Man" is a lackadaisical take on the "train as social progress" metaphor. It works quite nicely, particularly with the band's ever-so-off-kilter vocals.
2. Sheron's "Small Life" is gorgeous, plain and simple. I don't have much more to say about it.
3. "Better Than This" by Big Little Lions is heavy on the folk pop tropes but in all the best ways possible. It's catchy, fun, and light.
4. Emay Holmes has the life of a legendary bluesman. An active duty Navy sailor, "The Deployment Song" brings some intimate insight to the moment of departure.
5. "Slowly" by Alexandra Angele is a languid journey through a triumphant breakup.
6. Boy Band has been featured here before. "Sorry (High and Dry)" is another example of the band's expert combination of folk elements (in this case, an incredible three-part harmony) with newer instrumentations.
7. "It Doesn't Matter Now" puts King Borneo's passion for 60s psych-rock on full display. It's a dreamy waltz through time.
8. Red In the Water's bio speaks for itself: "This song marks the death of our American dream. One month after writing
this song, to everyone in our lives dismay, we quit our 6 figure jobs,
moved into an old Volkswagen van and started to actually live. Our youth
will no longer be wasted." If they did have such jobs, it's nice to know that Nomad's got some talent to bring with the cash and the drive. Nevertheless, their obvious joy and relief is a treat to listen to.
9. The Breathing Room's beautiful "Strangers on the Road" is a wonderful meditation on growing into oneself. The warmth of the guitars and airy vocals creates a fantastic juxtaposition of two conflicting urges.
10. Andrew Johnston's "Redheads" confronts Johnston's experiences with mental illness and suicide among friends and family members. It's a moody but sensitive exploration of unexplained childhood memories.
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