New Zealand singer songwriter Bruno Merz will release a new album ‘Whisper Turn’ in January 2018. Some three months ahead, he’s allowed the world an early glimpse of what to expect, as the title track is already streaming on Soundcloud.
Taking the softer moods of Josh Rouse, the accessibility of ‘Gold’ era Ryan Adams and coupling that with narrative drive of Michael McDermott, Garrett Hinson hits upon a winning formula on his second full length album. ‘Nothing Is Destroyed’ serves up a selection of timeless tales and immensely appealing Americana sounds; it’s the kind of record you get halfway through and find yourself wondering why he’s not far better known.
There are thousands of acoustic singer songwriters out there sharing tales of broken relationships and personal travelogues – those all important journeys of the heart, if you will. On ‘More Scared Than Me’, Australia’s Bec Stevens takes folk pop into very outspoken territory, very much as Frank Turner did on his best-selling break up record ‘Tape Deck Heart’. This is not new ground for folk music, but when delivering such familiar themes from a female perspective, Stevens’s work comes across with an unflinching honesty, resulting in a short collection of songs which should resonate with many listeners.
At the very beginning of 2016, Hector and The Leaves released ‘Little Bee’, a self-financed EP of material drawing influence from The Beach Boys and The Beatles, redressed in singer-songwriter threads, mixing 60s pop with strains of folk from across many decades. While the EP didn’t necessarily gain country-wide recognition, it showed Tom Hector to be a songwriter more than able to take different influences and recycle them with style, while still allowing his own personality to inform the result. Eighteen months on – and after posting a selection of musical sketches and unfinished ideas online – ‘(interiors’), the first proper follow-up, takes more of a lo-fi singer-songwriter path, but the many things that made ‘Little Bee’ worthy of an ear are still very much in evidence.
Having made waves on the underground UK folk scene and gained positive press claiming them “exquisite songwriters”, the arrival of Ferris and Sylvester’s recorded debut is cause for celebration. ‘The Yellow Line’ might only feature four songs, but each one shows off just enough subtle differences to be a great showcase for the duo’s talents. Between Archie Sylvester’s guitar work – often heavy on Americana styles, but also making time for a little blues and a teeny smidgeon of rockabilly – and Issy Ferris’s full but also soft, almost ghostly vocal tones, the performers are a perfect match for each other. Their songwriting gifts, too, have a near timeless appeal, weaving narratives that should appeal to ninety percent of an Americana loving audience.