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, Tyler (Texas), Grand Rapids (Michigan), Unknown (U.K.) and Bristol (U.K.).
Gus Clark, “Ragtime Millionaire,” Seattle
It’s easy to envy artists like the Emerald City’s Gus Clark. While he’s the type to likely say, “What? Envy me?” He’d be joking, at least in some respects. Clark is the skilled sort that can walk into any town, guitar in hand, and earn a following. He’s a busker, an actor, a goof, a friend – he’s a performer. As willing to trade a song for a shot of whiskey or that $100 bill somehow floating out of your pocket.
Chance Peña, “Rise,” Tyler
The Texas native, Chance Peña, is a soaring singer with as much passion as skill coursing through his songwriting veins. He’s the type of artist whose music plays as a winner plants a flag into the earth. A giant bird flies overhead and a cool breeze pushes the bird upwards towards the sun. It’s victorious music, as emotional as it is textured, nuanced note after noted.
Lady Ace Boogie, “Free,” Grand Rapids
There’s no substitute for an acute acerbic spittin’ rapper. Lady Ace Boogie embodies that truth to a T. In fact, truth is the light source from which the artist drinks, illuminating then the rest of the world one word at a time. Her sentences are the sentences of her lyrical captives. While there’s a lot of rap music in the world, it can be hard to find songs that focus on the words and lyrics, first and foremost. Look no further than Lady Ace Boogie.
SAULT, “Wildfires,” Unknown
If you’re a fan of music, chances are a friend of yours has come up to you and said, “Have you heard of SAULT?” It’s quite the magic trick from the U.K. band that fans know very little about. It’s possible, though, by the time you read this, SAULT will have identified themselves or become the most popular band in the world, but at the time of this writing, their mystery remains. What is clear, however, is the band’s insight, intellect and musical taste. As inspired by the Greats in music as they are by justice for George Floyd, SAULT is assuredly here to stay for as long as they want.
Katy J Pearson, “Fix Me Up,” Bristol
Country music is always changing. That may be the best part about it. Like the plains and mountains it came from, the genre’s landscape is always evolving. One new iteration is Bristol’s Katy J Pearson, who offers a bright, clear sensibility for songwriting mixed with a touch of subtle humor. She’s as willing to belt out a mind-melting ballad as she is to joke about watching movies alone on a Saturday night. That’s the kind of person to stick with long-term.