Five to Discover: Acts You Need to Know

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, New York City, Everett (WA), Los Angeles and Boston.

Ayron Jones, “Take Me Away,” Seattle
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Emerald City rock ‘n’ roll expert, Ayron Jones is the sound of the storm on the horizon. Rumbling grey clouds, torrential winds, face-slapping rain. Outstretch your arms like Lieutenant Dan on the top of Forest Gump’s boat, Jenny, and let the elements wash over you. Here, Jones offers his latest single, “Take Me Away,” played live for local powerhouse radio station, KEXP. With gravely, dusky vocals and a guitar that don’t quit, Jones has arrived.

DOV, “Reciprocate (feat. Vaughan),” New York City
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Even on mute, this video could impact you on a very personal, intimate level. With the volume on, however, it takes your psyche to an even higher level. The NYC-based DOV, who moved to the states after a time in the Israeli army, sings like a broken heart slipping into a puddle of perfume. The word “tenderness” is floated about often, but here, tenderness is personified. But tenderness is not weakness. Nothing about this song or video is incapable, insufficient. Everything is buoyed, filled with love and honor.

Young-Chhaylee, “Some Kinda Love,” Everett
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The Underground Sam Cooke from the Pacific Northwest, Young-Chhaylee’s voice is textured and palpable. Muhammad Ali could come down a long runway, shadow boxing in a brilliant robe, and Young-Chhaylee could be on the microphone singing the introduction song. Timbre and a knowing tone solidify this new song from the crooner. Subtle rock production fills out the song, which I’ve probably listened to 173 times since Thursday.

Jake Hays, “Sober,” Los Angeles
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This SoCal singer has a bright future if this is the bar he intends to set for his pop-rock music. Here, Hays sounds like Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys, one of the most heart-pounding bands in the world today. In this new video, Hays explores the idea of sobriety and drug use. Hays treats the familiar subject differently, though, he compels you to listen, which is the mark of a strong artist. We want to hear him sing more about it. With each note, we want the next.

The Ballroom Thieves, “Only Lonely,” Boston
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This east coast Americana band offers a numinous howl with their finger-plucked, haunting songs. In this way, the band provides the soundtrack to the 3 AM hour on the dimly lit campsite. Fire crackles, secrets creep. The band sings like the chilling breeze rustling the leaves that crest below the silhouette of the distant mountains. They are one with the ghosts and the sprits, they know the rhythm of the river, the eagles and your heart.

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Behind The Song: Leonard Cohen, “Everybody Knows”