Hickory Wind: 5 Songs of the Month
Vince Recommends Some Summertime Twang
1. Laura Marling – “Where Can I Go?”
It might be easy to rope Laura in with the countless other wispy-voiced female singer-songwriters populating the indie-folk genre; however, Marling’s latest release, the terrifically complex and multi-layered “Once I Was an Eagle,” positions the 23-year-old apart from her peers. This track starts starts slow and contemplative before some dancing organ and vigorously strummed acoustic guitar propel the song forward with breakneck momentum.
2. The Men – “Bird Song”
Brooklyn’s The Men exploding onto the scene in 2012 with the well-regarded “Open Your Heart” album. Their follow-up, 2013’s “New Moon” finds the band continuing to explore their country influences. The group is often labeled as a straight-ahead punk rock band, but this particular track shows off some dirty slide guitar, and a harmonica part that carries the melody into an outro jam. Fans of the Rolling Stones should like this one.
3. Bert Jansch & Peter Kirtley – “The Parting”
Jansch’s influential guitar playing and folk songwriting influenced countless of contemporary acts, and his music continues to gather appreciation and new devotees. This track is from the soundtrack to the documentary “American Routes.” Jansch and Kirtley’s guitar playing interweave in a delicate balance that is remarkable in its restraint and subtlety. This song is absolutely beautiful.
4. Michael Hurley – “Sweedeedee”
Hurley is one of folk-country’s most enigmatic and beloved cult songwriters. A troubadour in the truest sense, this track showcases Hurley’s light guitar playing, his warbly falsetto, and his deadpan delivery, which features a bit of talk-singing to move the narrative along. The track is both funny and deeply moving as Hurley talks about his days living in “fleabag apartments” near NYC’s Washington Square.
5. Dave Van Ronk – “Dink’s Song”
Van Ronk was once-known as the Mayor of MacDougal Street, New York City’s famous Greenwich Village bohemian enclave. A huge influence and mentor to Bob Dylan and other folk songwriters who worked the clubs up and down this street, Van Ronk’s music remains criminally underappreciated. This track is a traditional song that Van Ronk makes all his own through an absolutely stunning vocal performance displaying his appreciation and devotion to traditional American blues music. This is one likely to raise the hair on the back of your neck.