Young folks focuses on the best, fresh folk, acoustic, singer-songwriter indie folk & alt-country jams. Turn it up Folks!
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Steven Keene grew up in Brooklyn New York and got his start playing the folk clubs and cafes of the Greenwich Village scene in the early ’90s alongside contemporaries Beck, Susanne Vega, Shawn Colvin, and others. He started out performing his earliest material at The Speakeasy, the now-closed folk club that was a singer-songwriter, folky staple in the ’90s. For years, he would crisscross the streets of McDougal and Bleecker, playing the open mikes, hootenanny’s and small clubs including the Bottom Line (back in the day, that was considered the best listening room), Lone Star Cafe, the Mercury Lounge, the Bitter End, Arlene’s Grocery, and the legendary CBGB’s. Back then, Keene shared stages and played regularly with then fellow emerging unknown folkie Beck at joints like Sun Mountain Cafe and the Chameleon.
‘The Only Lead’
As discussions on mental health, addiction, and immigration in America gain more prominent, nuanced coverage on cable news, Diamond Shake mastermind Matthew Hitchens has lived at the epicenter of all three hot button issues for the past fifteen years.
Growing up in London and playing in bands through his teens, Hitchens moved to Los Angeles seven years ago to pursue a solo music career. After a few failed projects, missed auditions, personal struggles, and a particularly bad visa experience, he decided to stop relying on other people and make the album that faced his demons head on. From Method To Madness arrived with bluesy aplomb late last year, balancing Hitchens’ most candid lyrics to date about mental health with dazzling visual accompaniment for all ten songs by French animator Dominique Bloink.
Loryn Taggart was raised in the prairies from Hungarian roots and moved to Toronto at 16 to pursue life in music — at 18 she landed a gig playing keyboards and backing vocals with a better-than-usual Toronto-based bar band called CANVAS. That came complete with a cross-Canada on-the-road tour and a SoundClash Music Award nomination.
Following the success of her first solo EP release Irene (February 11, 2020), Loryn landed an opening slot on renowned Canadian Folk-songwriter Donovan Woods’ solo tour. Now, Loryn is working on her debut full length album set to be released by spring of 2021.
In the meantime, Loryn has shared a new single “The River” – an acoustic, nostalgic folk track with orchestral strings and a driving rhythm.
The Chickpeas Band
‘I’ve Been here before’
[Scaninavian Americana – “Scandicana”]
The Chickpeas Bands’ music is described as scandicana about love, breakup and a life on the run. A new element in a transatlantic tradition of Americana where the character gallery has always consisted of storytellers, romantics and melancholic nomads.
The band is in its tenth year and has since the start spent its summers on tours along roads and rails. As children in sparsely populated areas, distances have always been important. The roads out into the world were few and the railway became a symbol of freedom and opportunity. Therefore, it was only logical that their first two national tours (summers 2012 and 2013) were carried out in collaboration with SJ (Swedish train company). Like the legendary folk singers of the 1940s, all journeys were made by train. In addition to gigs in the cities along the way, the band offered acclaimed concerts in front of packed bistro carriages.
‘No, Never Alone’
Born in Montreal, raised in Alberta, and now living in Toronto, Greg Cockerill’s music is a unique expression of Canadian Roots. After receiving a degree in composition/arranging and jazz guitar, he found himself inevitably drawn back to his first love of rock, blues, and country music.
Currently in the process of recording a new full-band studio album, “No, Never Alone” is the first offering from those sessions. Inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic and self-produced by Cockerill, the track reiterates that while we may be physically apart, we are all in this struggle together.
Troll Dolly is the solo project of drummer, vocalist, and composer Jen Yakamovich.
Swamp Music Players
‘Truck Parking’ featuring Joseph Gearheart
Swamp Music Players is a retro futuristic band of Swamp Blues, Swamp Rock and transistorized Cosmic Americana music. Based in Canada it has become an international music collective often featuring artists from the USA and UK. Swamp Music Players is known for its blend of retro 1970s and 1980s music and Southern music genres. Reaching Top-30 music charts in Canada and radio spins on college and community radio in USA, United Kingdom, The Netherlands and Sweden. Swamp Music Players have contributed to ‘Hellcat’s Revenge’ a Len Kabasinski film.
‘Seed of Joy’ (Ft. Brian Fallon)
Born and raised in Buffalo, NY, chart-topping singer/songwriter Marc Scibilia’s been on a steady rise ever since the 2012 release of his breakout single, “How Bad We Need Each Other.” In the last several years alone, he’s racked up more than 125 million streams across platforms; scored the most Shazamed moment of the 2015 Super Bowl with his stripped-down take on “This Land Is Your Land”; seen his music featured in a slew of film and television soundtracks, including a recent Water.org PSA narrated by Matt Damon; written for artists as diverse as superstar DJ Robin Schulz (the pair’s “Unforgettable” is a certified Gold, #1 single, currently boasting more than 65 million streams on Spotify alone), singer/songwriter Ben Rector, and rappers Jim Jones, Rick Ross, and Fabolous; garnered praise from the likes of pop star Demi Lovato and Matchbox 20’s Rob Thomas; and toured with James Bay, Zac Brown Band, Butch Walker, and Nick Jonas, among others. Scibilia was forced to put his burgeoning career on hold for the better part of 2019, though, when he welcomed his first child into the world while simultaneously caring for his ailing father, who would tragically pass away from brain cancer shortly thereafter. He chronicles the profound, emotional journey on his riveting new album, ‘Seed Of Joy,’ which he recorded alone in his basement studio in Nashville in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. While you might expect the finished product to be a dark and somber affair, ‘Seed Of Joy’ is, true to its name, just the opposite, fueled by soulful vocals and soaring melodies and overflowing with rich, anthemic exuberance at nearly every turn. Calling to mind everything from Paul Simon and Cat Stevens to Bleachers and Vampire Weekend, the result is a powerful slice of self-reflection that balances nostalgia and optimism in equal measure, a thoughtful, defiantly optimistic work that insists on finding silver linings, even in the face of gut-wrenching loss.
‘Revival in Lincoln’
The world is noisy. To find his place in it, Graeme Kennedy set out to match the clamour. In the crucible of puberty, he picked up a guitar and discovered that volume and velocity translate to a sort of power. He set about how to wield that power. Writing songs, finding a voice. Forming bands, making records, touring, repeat. Fits and starts. Along the way, he’s garnered the attention of audiences and industry alike for that rare ability to bring the swagger of the stage into the studio and onto his records, and to conjure the intimacy of a darkened vocal booth in a noisy club. And how about his records? After almost two decades of tours and bands, he quietly set about making his own under his own name—smart, soulful, thoughtfully arranged, and with an attention to storytelling and craft that puts them in dialogue with a range of musical greats, from Nina Simone to Nick Cave. Older now, informed as much by early mornings with his kids as late nights in his studio, he continues to extend this body of work, which, for all its breadth of allusion, is greater than the sum of its inherited parts. He’s grown up some. He’s sure of what he wants to say, or at least steady in the voice through which he confesses his uncertainties. Go listen to him. See him live if you can. These are dispatches from an individual life, fleeting revelations of what it’s like to be a conscious man in unconscious times.
‘Cold Side of Spring’
Lara Taubman grew up in southern Virginia, where the sounds of Old Time music were all around her. She began singing as a child but was seriously drawn to painting, and went to college to pursue a life in visual art. She has spent a lifetime listening abundantly to all kinds of music, yet when Lara began to write her own songs those formative sounds of Old Time music are where her heart was led.
She went on to study Cultural Theory in graduate school and became a professional art critic and curator. Her work took her all over the world until she returned back to the city of her heart, New York City.
A few years ago, she was working on some fiction, it led her to hear a call while she was cleaning one day: “If you don’t have children, you will probably be OK with that, but if you don’t sing in a serious, committed way, you will regret it on your deathbed.” She listened to the call. It brought her through a very intense journey of healing from a lifetime of emotional pain and trauma. Through singing again and learning how to make music she was reborn into a world of hope and joy.
Compiled by: Christos Doukakis