By Christopher Treacy and Dale Henry Geist
Nora Kelly Band – “Horse Girl”
On their latest single, Montreal’s Nora Kelly Band reminds us that ‘country’ is a frame of mind more than a specific sound. It’s a sad tale of being born in the wrong zip code: as the chorus says, “Horse girl in the city.” Fun if mystifying video, taking in all the visceral pleasures of a county fair.
Laurel Hells Ramblers – “Raleigh and Spencer (feat. Joshua Quimby)
How blue is my grass? Pretty darn blue, as it turns out – but not totally. The pickin’ is righteous and the tune has a pedigree so steeped in Appalachia that its author is lost to the mists of time, but the singing is far from high and lonesome: raw, raspy, scoured. It works like gangbusters.
Celine Ellis – “Leave It With Me”
Ellis has a voice and sensibility that translate to translucent pop-folk. This one carries a hint of the Avett Brothers, Jane Siberry, even John Denver. It’s a beautiful ride – enjoy.
Kara Cole – “Mary Francis”
This is a soulful slab of Southern Americana. Cole’s voice, on the country side of Memphis, rides a Muscle Shoals-style groove in this wounded look back at a formative relationship, relegated forever to the past.
Rachael Sage – “The Other Side”
Light, inventive, couched in a bed of horns, Sage finds a comfortable place to set this elliptical allegory. Belying the lightness of their delivery, the lyrics carry a message of longing. Wouldn’t any of us want our beloved to “meet me on the other side”?
Roselit Bone – “Ofrenda”
The marvelously-named Roselit Bone look to that day when an unspecifed “you” (maybe it’s me?) are finally delivered to your fate. It’s a gorgeous 6/8 ballad with a vocal delivery and sonic embellishments that evoke U2 at their most mystical.