For anyone who has ever driven through Ohio, it’s not an uncommon sentiment to believe that the state is filled with absolutely nothing. Despite its lack of geographic beauty, Ohio has given us something for which we should be eternally grateful: Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney. Together, the two Akronians? Akronites? Brothers of Akron? I looked it up, it is indeed Akronites. Together, the two Akronites make up the Black Keys, who exploded into the mainstream last year with their brilliant album, Brothers. The follow-up, El Camino, drops next week (December 6th), and the more I hear from this record, the more excited I become. Recently, the band released five new tracks from the album, which you can check out on their website for the simple exchange of an email address.
So head to their website to hear the new tracks now, and pick up El Camino on December 6th!
Paste Magazine released their annual “best of” list today, and I am ecstatic to see a great folk representation! A lot of albums that I love from this year are on the list, both in the folk, as well as other genres. It has really been a great year for music lovers. Check out the list here!
That lovely island across the pond keeps popping out beautiful folk artists. With Johnny Flynn, Mumford and Sons, and Laura Marling already to its credit, England has once again given us something special. This time it’s in the form of Ben Howard. With the release of his debut album, Every Kingdom, earlier this October, young Howard has shown that he is quite the talent. Possessing guitar skills that rival Kristian Matsson (The Tallest Man on Earth) as the best in the folk game, and a voice with a uniquely beautiful tone, Howard’s songs are a delight. He is also one of very few artists I have ever witnessed combine the impressive guitar technique known as “tapping,” with singing. It’s a sight to behold, guitar playing that majestic, with lyrics and a voice just as strong. There is no doubt that Ben Howard is the complete package and has a bright future. So, get familiar!
For more on Ben Howard be sure to check out the recommended songs and video below! Also, be sure to visit his myspace!
Recommended Songs: “Old Pine,” “Keep Your Head Up,” “These Waters,” “Promise”
“Old Pine” from his debut, performed for Watch Listen Tell.
Michigander Paul Baribeau writes some of the bravest songs in the folk scene today. Gritty, extremely personal, acoustic gems, that are over in a flash. So don’t blink, you might miss the beauty. Take the brilliant “Never Get to Know,” for example. Easily one of the most heartbreaking songs of the last decade in folk music, it lists all the people Baribeau will never know because they have been lost to drugs or alcohol. After two somber minutes the song ends with a triumphant declaration, “I’ve been let down by the people that I love/ But I will not let down the people who love me.” Moments like this are what make the bearded troubadour special. There is no lack of heart to his songs, no lack of depth, even though they usually come in under three minutes.
It could easily be said that folk music often focuses on dazzling voices. Simply put, Paul Baribeau would not fall in this category. His voice is far from pristine, but it doesn’t need to be. In fact, his songs benefit from the cracks and the strain. As his vocal cords stretch to their limit, eventually breaking, your heart breaks right along with them.
For more on Baribeau, be sure to head to his website/tumblr! Also, don’t forget to check out the recommended songs, as well as the video below!
Recommended Songs:“Ten Things,” “Christmas Lights,” “Eight Letters,” “When You Go Back to College,” “Never Get to Know”
Baribeau plays “Wild Eyes” in a Pink Couch Session