Magnolia Sons epitomize the phrase "everything old is new again." Their music is a total throwback to the great soul and R&B sounds of the 60s and 70s but doesn't sound old, out of touch or past its prime. They feature great musicians, a variety of instruments (trumpets, saxophones and more) and fantastic vocals. This is good, smart music for people who appreciate real music made by real people. Their most recent releases are two fabulous singles, "Stakes Are High" and "Run Baby Run" both of which I love. They have been around for some time but I'm hoping this is the year they really take off as there seems to be a new found appreciation for classic styles of music. Go give them a listen!
Ruthie Collins is a country artist who will frustrate those who "don't like country music" because they'll find themselves loving her. Ruthie's music has enough of a folk and pop influence to have a much broader appeal than "just" country. She has a distinctive voice that sounds like a more current version of Dolly Parton. "Vintage" was part of my "Best of 2014" list and her new self-titled EP has 6 great songs. If you do like a more typical country song than be sure to check out "Trainwreckin'" which is a lot of fun. Ruthie has everything needed to be a big star and hopefully Nashville and the whole country will pay attention to her.
Catfish and the Bottlemen are not nearly as complicated as their band name might have you believe. They rock, plain and simple. This is a great UK band that writes really good songs full of electric guitars and drums and that always have that great beat to pull you in. Their debut album, "The Balcony," was released last week and as long as you aren't shy about a little explicit language it it is great from beginning to end (if you prefer songs without curse words than there are still another 7 excellent songs to enjoy).
A new year means a chance to start off fresh sharing great bands with all of you. It also means I get to "borrow" from some other great "Best Of" lists that have just been released. And that's the case with this week's band, Dirty Loops, who were brought to my attention thanks to the one and only Seth Horan and his "Top Picks of 2014." Seth is a great and talented musician (he was actually an Emerge featured artist back in 2009) which just adds to the quality of his list. Dirty Loops' new album "Loopified" is an instant pick me up with its combination of pop rock, jazz and more. The first track, "Hit Me" does just that - it smacks you in the face and gets your heart racing. Their "Wake Me Up" cover could easily be a Grammy nominee in the Jazz category. "Die For You" starts sounding like a boy band song, transitions into a full out rock song and winds up ready to be played in a dance club. And "Accidentally In Love" just might be my favorite of the bunch. If you like great music but great musicians this is the album for you.
Happy New Year, have a great week and enjoy the music!