Soundscape: Folk It Up

shakey graves

[Photo from Kit Chalberg, Courtesy of KitChalberg Concerts Blog]

There is something about folk music that resonates with my soul. The name folk stems from the German word Volk meaning “the people.” This genre is deeply rooted in storytelling and dominated by acoustic instruments. Anyone who has read my reviews before knows that I am passionate about lyrics and try to make personal connections and folk artists seem to effortlessly connect their words to listeners on a grassroots level. This allows people to hear the rawness and heart behind every word. Alright enough background, let’s folk it up!

The Way We Move – Langhorne Slim

Off of Langhorne’s 2012 album of the same name, “The Way We Move” is one of his most recognizable songs. This anthem acts as a rallying call to his friends who often feel misfit and out of place. I love listening to this song in the car. It’s the perfect song to roll your windows down and yell along with the lyrics.

Good Kisser – Lake Street Dive

“Good Kisser” is the lead single off the band’s 2018 album, “Free Yourself Up,” which fits perfectly with the message of this song. She is singing to her past lover reminding him of her, “abilities,” when he tells his friends about their separation. He left her in the dust for his past love, and she wants to remind him that he’s going to be missing a whole lot more now. Lead singer Rachael Price is soothing to the ear, but don’t mistake that for her having a soft voice. She packs a lot of power into this song.

Ain’t No Man – The Avett Brothers

Similarly to Lake Street Dive’s album, this song calls people to act free from the uncontrollable circumstances and enslavement we feel on earth! The Avett Brothers create a catchy campfire tune whose lyrics hold more honesty than the regular mindless singalongs you’ve heard at summer camp. The band is rejoicing and embracing their life in the fact that no man can hold them down.

Someone New – Hozier

Anyone who has heard Hozier knows he has a whole lot of soul. “Someone New” takes that soulful singing and creates a more up-tempo track than other songs found on his 2014 self-titled album. The chorus line “So I fall in love just a little, oh, little bit / Every day with someone new” sums up his message: he falls in love with these “strange perfections” in people and every day is a discovery for him. By the second chorus, you’ll find yourself wanting to sing along.

Take It All Back – Judah and the Lion

The first time I heard this song was live in concert. The band had incredible energy and surreal banjo and mandolin playing, and thankfully, that energy is just as recognizable on the track. As lead singer Judah Akers stated in an interview, this song is unlike any other track on the album. The song has a groovy beat and easy to learn lyrics which makes it the perfect fit for any playlist.

Peculiar – Chef’Special

On this track, the band talks about their lives and the people who have been a part of their journey so far. The Dutch lead singer Joshua Nolet sings at a pace where I want to just stop and listen. Whenever this song pops up on my playlist, I can’t help but dance and sing.

The Gardener – The Tallest Man on Earth

“The Gardener” is an intriguing song. While the lyrics are rather dark and brooding, the melody is somewhat upbeat. The song touches on the emotions of wanting to be perfect for the person we put on a pedestal. Okay, a common message already heard in many songs. But, he portrays these feelings using the metaphor of a murderous gardener. Just this description should give any music lover a desire to hear the song.

Dearly Departed – Shakey Graves (feat. Esme Patterson)

Alright, find your duet partner! In “Dearly Departed” Shakey Graves and Esme Patterson observe the “ghosts” of a past relationship. The song is not as creepy as it sounds. While the lyrics allude to ghosts stalking the house, the melody is cheerful reminding me of old country-rock vibes.

Colours – Grouplove

Grouplove has a knack for writing catchy party songs, and this song is no exception. The lyrics take you into the mind of the lead singer, and can honestly be a little confusing when trying to decipher what he’s saying. But, the words are fun to sing and will liven up a party or karaoke event.

Hold On – Alabama Shakes

Every time I hear this song I feel invincible. The song is instrumentally pleasing and the lyrics are about not knowing where life will take you and holding on to the moments that speak truth. I play this song whenever I feel doubtful or uncertain, reminding myself to keep striving against the unknown.




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