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Tag Archives: folk
One of the many pleasures that comes with setting up my hideout in the San Marcos, Texas area is the wealth of talented singer/songwriters that also have chosen to take up residence. Over the years, I’ve run across a number of them that have truly blown me away with their talent, and one of the more recent personalities to step out of the pack is Cecil James. I knew he was a solid guitarist (this coming from a completely inept guitarist) and a singer with a richness to his voice similar to that of M. Ward, but with a bit more playful storyteller, but up until recently, I had no idea what he would sound like in the framing of a recorded project. These curiosities were laid to rest with the recent release of Las Canciones del Borracho, a 3-song EP that plays out like a movie story arc that lies somewhere between David Lynch and the Cohen Brothers. He’s always sounded great acoustically, but hearing him with a strong backing band and focused production not only brings out the sonic griot in his lyrics, but it subtextually comments on his ruminations about being an isolated soul in search of close company full of kindred spirits. In my humble opinion, that should be relatively easy to find around San Marcos, especially with a calling card like Las Canciones del Borracho in your back pocket.
Like most music scenes, or scenes thriving with creative spirits, band lineups tend to shift on a near daily basis, and many bands step to the plate to see who can survive the game. Recently, a group of talented San Martians found themselves combining forces in the downturn that 2020 has been, and despite the bleakness of the era they found one another, the noise that they are creating is joyful and inspiring. Old Lane recently released Sanctuary, an apt name for their lead single considering the times, and the song is a rollercoaster ride of introspection and observation wrapped up nice and neatly in bluegrass packaging. The song bookends on a high, energetic note, while the midsection halves the time signature and propels listeners into a brief, dreamlike state. If this song is an indication of the musical quality to come, then strap in, because Old Lane seems hell-bent on taking us far and wide. Dig the song, share it around, and throw the band a buck if you can afford to.
Many people are finding themselves having to face problems that have always existed while trying to survive in the shadow of COVID-19. For Suzanna Choffel, who self-admittedly knows her problems are lesser compared to those of many out there struggling, found that these times brought up ideas she explored in 2019 while preparing for the birth of her second daughter. During her first pregnancy, the red tape and games of health care opened her eyes to the true nature of the American health system, how politicians give lip service to the industry, and how it impacts women in particular. These ideas manifest as Good Problems, a dual attempt for her to recognize the bigger problems in the world and to inspire those going through them. As if this effort was not enough, $1 from each sale of this track will go towards the ACLU and their efforts to even the playing field and make life a bit easier for everyone. Support if you can, but definitely give this one a listen regardless of whether you can support or not, as Suzanna Choffel‘s immense talent cannot go ignored.
The San Marcos-based collective Water on Mars has been vigilant over the past couple of years in regards to shaping their sound and fine-tuning their chemistry as a band. After a run of live shows and a few one-off recordings of singles, Water on Mars is kicking off the summer of 2019 with a brand new EP. The songs are tightly structured, dynamic, melodic, and full of wonderful vocal harmonies that have become a signature of Water on Mars‘ sound. It’s available on all the major streaming services at this time (clicking the cover above will take you to Spotify), so don’t hesitate to look them up and give them some streaming love!