Roscoe (Midlake Cover) – Ellie Goulding
This is the Ellie I first knew and fell in love with, with that sweet, raspy, English accent and just an acoustic guitar. I’m always amazed at her ability to make someone else’s song sound like it was always her own, and this one is no exception. Roscoe falls at the mercy of her talent and is full of intrigue and passion. The way she hits that final chorus, after winding her way through the story and melody that lead us there, gives me chills and has me singing along every time.
The Wolves – Bon Iver
All it takes is three chords to have me spellbound, and the outro of this song totally delivers. I could listen to Justin Vernon and friends sing, “What might have been lost” forever and never tire of it. For me, the triumph of this song is 50% how it builds from a whisper into the most unbridled beautiful chaos. The other half of my heart goes to all the extra time and space in between phrases that lets you hear those little string slides and sips, clinks and clanks. It’s such a treat to hear something so raw, grand, and humble.
PS: Ellie Goulding also does an awesome cover of this song too!
Cosmia – Joanna Newsom
What a queen! This song is full quirk and totally gets under my skin. Every flurried gesture and silky phrase is genius, and I know other music theory nerds out there will definitely get a kick out of its orchestration. Joanna Newsom is a harp prodigy and you can definitely hear it in this track as she wields the instrument and sings at the same time. I play this song on the piano and there are still some sections that trip up my coordination! I discovered her as a teen singing Peach, Plum Pear and have been hooked ever since; I think I would have been a harpist in another life.
To Whom It May Concern – The Civil Wars
To Whom It May Concern is sugar and spice and all things nice. It’s a love song written to the person you haven’t met yet; I might be crying just a little bit listening to this song as I write. The Civil Wars sing with pure tenderness, and create a perfect musical interpretation of the feeling of first love and butterflies in your stomach. I love the melody played in the guitar and the lilting lullaby feel it gives.
Break The Cycle – You + Me
You + Me (aka City & Colour + P!nk) is the collab you never knew you needed! Break The Cycle is happy-sad, which is just how I like my folk music to be, and the message is one that I think the whole world today really needs to hear. Dallas Green’s voice is pure perfection; I shake my head in disbelief every time I hear him recorded or live. Alecia Moore is a powerhouse singer and knocks everything she does out of the park. Typically in a lot of male/female duets the male takes the lower line and the female takes the upper, but Dallas and Alecia often swap rolls in their album together and it creates the most beautiful tone colours. Bonus, there’s a killer string section!