Worlds Of Songcraft Pt. 3: Anna Mieke, Rachel Sermanni, Bedouine, Erin Durant & Shannon Lay

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Anna Mieke: Idle Mind

After a nice schlep across Europe, seems like a good time to get another batch of amazing songsmiths at you. If you missed out volume one and volume two, feel free to catch up. My first pick is the gorgeous music of Idle Mind, the newest album from Irish singer Anna Mieke. Her songs have the feel of black-and-white photography, a shades-of-grey contrast, sweet-but-stark sound. Mieke contributes not just her songs and voice but, somewhat impressively, guitar, piano, cello, dulcimer and bouzouki to fill out a rather lovely soundscape. This is real good.

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Rachel Sermanni: So It Turns

Looks like we’re staying in the U.K. for a little bit longer. Rachel Sermanni is a new discovery for me, but the Scottish artist has been around for a while. Listening to her third album, So It Turns, out last month, makes me wish I’d discovered her earlier. The record is dark and lush, an almost perfect specimen of introspective rock-flecked folk from top to bottom. The album plays like a one-sided musical conversation that draws you in and holds you rapt. Highly recommended, get Rachel on your radar now!

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Bedouine: Bird Songs Of A Killjoy

Have you heard Bedouine yet? The Californian singer, Azniv Korkejian, put out a here-I-am! self-titled debut on Matthew E White’s do-no-wrong Spacebomb label a couple years back which was wonderful, indeed. But her follow-up on Spacebomb, Bird Songs Of A Killjoy, is a revelation. My first listen was punctuated by me saying aloud to no one “oh, this is very good,” “this is very good,” and “good Lord, this is amazing” track after track. In a short while, she has honed a sound that fits her dreamlike voice and decorated with a timelessness that cherishes in old folk lovesong motifs and creates something altogether new and unique. If you haven’t heard this one yet, what are you waiting for?

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Erin Durant: Islands

Find your new favorite songwriter yet? Can’t go wrong with any of these, but how about give Erin Durant a try. The New York City-based singer is out with her second album earlier this summer, the beautiful Islands, produced by Kyp Malone. Durant’s sweet folky voice is accompanied by her dulcimer and piano playing and joined by a host of excellent New York-based musicians to create a music vapor lighter than air. Many of her songs are rooted in nature and the sound matches with a comforting earthiness. This is Sunday morning music, or really, any time of day. Enjoy!

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Shannon Lay: August

I’ve got too many great must-hear albums of exquisite songwriting and music to fit into a single week, or even three. I’ll finish up this week with one more and get to some more later on down the road. Let’s finish with August the fantastic new release just out at the end of, uh, August, obviously from Shannon Lay. The album title comes from the month, a couple years back, when Lay quit her day job to pursue music full-time. First of all, great choice, she’s got it, for sure. Second of all, I think that’s kind of kick ass and appropriately, the songs on the record really percolate with unburdened freedom and the joy of independence. The album was recorded at Ty Segall’s home studio and that certainly didn’t hurt with the liberated energy that ties together stripped-down folk and unconstrained rocking with plenty of heart. Hope you dig this one and all of this week’s, back with more real soon.

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