Down Home Comfort Edition: Zach Aaron, Danny Barnes, Jess Jocoy, Luke De-Scisio And Pharis & Jason Romero

By Aaron Stein May 20, 2020 8:17 am PDT

Zach Aaron: Fill Dirt Wanted

Ah, the comfort of some from-the-heart folk music, nothing quite like it. Here are five maybe-not-on-your-radar artists with new music to keep you cozy in these trying times. First up is Zach Aaron, whose third album, Fill Dirt Wanted just came out and is, well, maybe comfort isn’t quite the word, but it’s stark, poetic and hits the spot nonetheless. Aaron is a folkie in the Guthrie vein, spinning stories, singing truths, haunting fiddles and banjos when necessary, and just his guitar and voice when they aren’t. Enjoy!


Danny Barnes: Man On Fire

Man On Fire opens with “Mule” a song sung from the point of view of a working-farm mule, the banjo and voice of Danny Barnes setting a stage for a working-farm kind of album. Still, this mule gets some respect, Barnes is joined at various points on the album by Bill Frisell, Dave Matthews and John Paul Jones (not too shabby!). Still, it’s Barnes who shines on this must-hear album, with his real-deal folk sound that’s equally comfortable in the Appalachia of yore and modern day. Check it out, I think you’ll dig it.


Jess Jocoy: Such A Long Way

Often those fresh-on-the-scene ones-to-watch reach out and grab you right away. Sometimes they creep up on you with subtleties that may not reveal themselves right away. Such A Long Way, the debut from Jess Jocoy, is in the latter category, a quiet film that unfolds its plot slowly. Jocoy’s voice is strong going up and coming down and her sound is some got-to-be-Nashville comfort, with a backing band that lets her songs do the talking. Give it a whirl.


Luke De-Scisio: Good Bye Folk Boy

On the other hand, it was about five seconds into his new album, Good Bye Folk Boy, that I knew I wanted to hear more from Luke De-Scisio. I just wasn’t sure if it was the hypnotic finger-picked acoustic guitar melodies or the passionate singing that grabbed me harder. The U.K. songwriter has that knack, the turn of phrase that puts the music into the words themselves and a touch on the guitar that’s an emphatic kind of delicate. This one you’ve got to hear, I hope you’ll give it a listen.


Pharis and Jason Romero: Bet On Love

Finally, what’s more down home comfort than a husband and wife duo singing close harmonies and spinning folk magic? Pharis and Jason Romero sound like they’re from another time, heck, a parallel universe where rocking chairs sit on porches, everybody in town is a friend and a banjo is never too far from reach. Heck, they even own their own banjo shop. Their just-out Bet On Love is a chance to visit that place, for an hour or so at least, lovely traditional sound in the Welch/Rawlings tradition. This is the good stuff, I hope you do enjoy this and all the picks this week. Take care, friends.


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