In this – the age of the Coronavirus – many of us are stuck at home, isolated with only TV screens and the glow of laptops and phones to keep us connected. In other words, there isn’t much to do.
Videos by American Songwriter
However, one thing that is available to us all is the wide world of recorded music. And now is as good a time as ever to get to know some bands you may not have heard of but ones that you will assuredly enjoy, dear reader.
So, buckle up and get ready for a digital ride around Seattle (three times, wow!), Taos (New Mexico) and Berkeley Heights (New Jersey).
Among Authors, “Ain’t No Sunshine,” Seattle
Front man, Ian Ketterer, must have one of the best singing voices on the planet. Recorded after the death of songwriting legend, Bill Withers, this song rendition hits like an arrow in the heart. He sounds like Jeff Buckley when he opens his mouth to let out a melody. And then Ketterer can rev it up and make it sounds like the volume of his voice may burst. Yet, it never does. The tension remains beautiful.
Blue Scholars, “Loyalty,” Seattle
One of the Emerald City’s historically important groups, Blue Scholars helped pave the way for contemporary Seattle rappers like Macklemore, Travis Thompson and Gifted Gab. The duo always repped the Northwest with pride and infused wisdom into their lyrics. Rumors have swirled throughout the city that they may reunite for a show or two (who knows?) but until then, Blue Scholars are worth celebration.
Max Gomez, “He Was a Friend of Mine,” Taos
No matter how many nobs and sounds human beings figure out to add to the recording process, there will always be something special and to the point when it comes to a person singing a song with an acoustic guitar. In many ways, it’s the basis for modern storytelling all over the world. Pluck a few strings and tell a few tales. Here, Max Gomez carries on that important tradition expertly.
Our Dead Fathers, “Spells,” Seattle
There have been some great bands to combine the echo-ambiance of the ethereal with the heft and heart-pounding thud of rock ‘n’ roll. Groups like The Walkmen or The Growlers come first to mind. With “Spells,” Our Dead Fathers continues that noble sonic work. There is direct purpose to the push of the track while, at the same time, offering some melodic ripples sideways into the world. It’s an achievement. Like using church bells to accentuate an electric guitar solo.
Juliette Reilly, “Married,” Berkeley Heights
Hard work has always been essential. Today, with so many options and so much noise in the world, it can be hard to stand out. So, what do we do? Work harder, of course! And that’s what this pop anthem by Juliette Reilly is all about. Devote yourself to the grind and reap your rewards! Reilly delivers this poignant message with some lively and sticky flare to make sure the idea doesn’t get lost on you (or her) at any point.