Karen Dalton

February 2, 2012

Well, this Oklahoma lady certainly wasn’t anyone I was familiar with up until finding her albums on Bandcamp. Never reaching success like contemporary artists like Bob Dylan, folk artist Karen Dalton released only two albums in the 60’s and passed away in 1993. Living a tumultous life, she never got a chance to focus on a career and being a strongwilled woman, she didn’t exactly have the record industry stumbling over themselves in order to work with her. Until independent label Delmore Recordings decided to dig through the vaults in order to find more recordings to unearth.

The album 1966 compiles recently found reel-to-reel recordings made by her estranged husband during a late-night rehearsal, and just like Strawberry Heritage it’s naked and raw folk music in its purest form. With sparse instrumentation – mostly just a twelve-string guitar – the focus remains on the songs themselves as well as Karen’s fragile-yet-powerful vocal delivery. Fourteen great tracks, some covers and some being unknown originals – all worth giving a listen. Check it out!

Sample track:

Bandcamp: http://delmorerecordings.bandcamp.com/album/1966
Website: http://delmorerecordings.com/

Jacob Bullard

January 2, 2012

More low-key Americana folk is served up by solo artist Jacob Bullard on his latest release Growin’ Seed. A Michigan native, he started making music after finishing college and has so far released two EP’s and one five-song demo.

Simplicity is the key with the main instruments being Jacob’s own voice and his acoustic guitar. Stripped down and with a modest production this is mellow, heartfelt music perfect for life’s laid back moments. Two releases are available as a free download, so check him out!

Sample track:

Bandcamp: http://jacobbullard.bandcamp.com/
Website: http://www.jacobbullard.blogspot.com/

Strawberry Heritage

December 22, 2011

Just like all the studio magic in the world can’t turn awful music into hits (well, it used to be that way), no amount of tape hiss or lack of decent recording equipment can take away the impact of great songwriting. Grand Rapids trio Strawberry Heritage is a perfect example with their seven track EP The Demo Tapes that might actually have gained from it. A sort of low-key mix of indie and heartfelt folk music performed with guitar, banjo, percussion and some occasional violin it was presumably recorded live, giving it a homey, honest feel that’s really endearing and makes you focus on the songs themselves.

Totally unproduced you still get treated to some really nice music with hooks and a down-to-earth quality that suits them perfectly. Available as a free download you should definitely check these guys out!

Sample track:

Bandcamp: http://strawberryheritage.bandcamp.com/
Website: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Strawberry-Heritage/323347821015080

Shakey Graves

December 20, 2011

For a nice slice of true Americana, try Shakey Graves debut offering Roll the Bones. We’re talking stripped-down alterna-country displaying some really nice songwriting talent (low on info I’m guessing it’s a one-man outfit). Laid back songs, nice (spartan) instrumentation and heartfelt vocal delivery it has that timeless feel that characterises good folk music. Add a bare-bones production for that “homey” feel and you got a low-key lil’ winner!

Ten songs in all – including a live song plus a cover of Bruce Springsteen‘s I’m on Fire – perfect for listening on those rainy days when you got nothing better to do than smoke cigarettes and stare out the window. I had a hard time finding a favorite track, and the album has no set price, so make sure you check it out!

Sample track:

Bandcamp: http://shakeygraves.bandcamp.com/
Website: http://shakeygraves.tumblr.com/

Milk & Eggs

December 17, 2011

Well, we’re related so I’ll be the first to admit that I might be a bit biased, but the debut album from Jordan Sellergren‘s outfit Milk & Eggs is a truly great work of rootsy folkmusic, and the more I listen to it the better it gets. With just acoustic guitars, mandolins, cello and bass they manage to get across more emotion than some of the over-produced music available today. Starting out in 2009 while living in New Zealand she now resides in her home state of Iowa performing live as well as working as a graphic designer.

Nine basic, stripped-down songs filled with so much heartfelt vocal honesty it’s almost painful – especially my two favorite tracks Buddy Brown and Oh Fresh Water that have an amazing haunting quality – this album is truly a gem!

Sample track:

Bandcamp: http://milkaneggs.bandcamp.com/
Website: http://facebook.com/milkaneggs