Young folks focuses on the best, fresh folk, acoustic, singer-songwriter indie folk & alt-country jams. Turn it up Folks!
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Mark Millar has been playing the guitar for a long time. Influenced by the likes of Mark Knopfler, JJ Cale and a myriad of old blues CDs, he finally swapped the tennis racket he’d been holding in front of the mirror for an actual guitar when he was about 16. Throughout his twenties he travelled around Northern Ireland playing a ridiculous number of gigs with two bands – one serious (Ascension) and one that was never supposed to be but people kept booking them anyway (The Bucky Jets). Eventually Mark retreated to the safety of the studio, recording for other artists and doing bits and pieces of his own songs but never quite finishing them… until now.
These are Mark’s first releases in almost 20 years. First came the old tracks, finally finished and coaxed into the light, culminating in the release of his first solo album, ‘On the Journey’. Now the gates are open and he’s having fun! His songs are about real life – the good and the bad. Sometimes they err on the side of melancholy, but it’s not too long before another song comes along that gives us a glimmer of hope, pointing us gently to where that hope might be found.
Soo Line Loons
‘Dancing at the VFW’
The Soo Line Loons came together mostly by accident. Late last year, front man Grant Glad enlisted several other Minneapolis-based musicians to help record his debut record, A Place No One Belongs, without the intention of forming a full-time band.
Immediately it was clear that together, this group of musicians produced a truly unique and special sound. Influenced by everyone from John Prine to Bruce Springsteen and beyond, Grant’s blue-collar songwriting and down-to-earth approach to storytelling fit perfectly with the distinctive styles of violinist/vocalist Kristi Hatterschide, drummer/percussionist Robin Hatterschide, and multi-instrumentalist Erik Loftsgaarden. Simply put, the resulting art was too much to walk away from after one studio album.
‘Wait & Hope’
J.B. Boone is a new face on the indie/folk music scene from a small town in West Texas. Half-Indian and half-caucasian, the tunes from his upcoming EP “Severe Adventures” reflect his blended heritage, spanning multiple genres, yet they all seamlessly tie back his unique sound. Influences like Shakey Graves and the Tallest Man on Earth intertwine to create songs that are part indie-rock, part folk, and part alternative.
Maggie Pope’s debut EP, June Tapes, showcases original song recordings with an unusual story. Armed with a small handheld recorder, and settled within the walls of a quiet closet at her home, she recorded the songs in a single night while her four children slept down the hall. The resulting recordings preserve a moment in time – a record of one night from an unexpected place.
Mixed by Grammy Award-winning Producer and Audio Engineer, Shani Gandhi (Sarah Jarosz – Undercurrent). Maggie is based out of Philadelphia, PA, and can also be found performing with her band, Under the Oak.
Growing out of Hans Olav Settems solo project, the 9-piece indie/folk-group have been working on-and-off on their debut album since 2013. Since the band members are spread all across Norway, the creative process has been slow but steady, with widespread recording sessions during the last years. Their debut album “Communal Work” from 2019 was an album about destructive friendships and realizing you’re not young and promising anymore. It’s like Britney Spear’s “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman”, but with banjos. Now, they’re ready with their sophomore album, due to release fall 2020.
‘Figure It Out’
’Lisa Heller’ is the kind of girl you meet in an elevator and you feel like you’ve met her before. A young girl from CT, who suffered from anxiety growing up and used music to escape it. Yet, she holds something exceptional inside her, she has the ability to translate basic emotions into beautiful songs, that’s her superpower. An extremely delicate talent that is rare to find.
The simplicity in her lyrics, melodies and character, and how she can translate the everyday emotions into beautiful tunes will soon be the main reason for her success, and why she’ll be able to connect with millions of people around the world.
Virginia transplants, Chris Ambrosino (NY) and Jim Gordon (OH) can both point to pivotal events that defined the direction their musical lives would take. For Gordon who comes from a multi-generational musical family, it was when he first heard “Driver Eight” by REM on WMMS in Cleveland Ohio, when all that he knew about country and blues music (Cash, Nelson, Jennings, Owens, Snow, BB King, Wolf, Waters) came into focus. It was Southern, it was smart, it was emotional and all these years later, as he will attest, “runs through the dozens of tunes I’ve written”.
Chris Ambrosino’s life changed when he was gifted a drum kit and a guitar from his grandparents. A working drummer while still a teen in upstate NY and a member of the first MTV generation with a passion for Brit Pop, early metal, ‘70s NYC and later gritty Honky Tonk laced Americana from the Midwest: By 20, Ambrosino was working the NYC club circuit building chops and becoming a multi-instrumentalist, writer, singer and front line performer.
Northern Virginia native, Tricia Lani Micheux adds thoughtful and soulful layers to Blue Ribbon’s sound via bass guitar and vocals. Her laid back style and vintage tones are a “tip of the hat” to the great bass players of the past. Tricia has been playing bass for over a decade and has played in worship bands as a guitarist, bassist and a drummer, while also occasionally playing piano and clarinet! She plays and contributes vocals to most studio tracks and all of Blue Ribbon’s live shows.
Drummer, Gavin Baker is the newest addition to the Blue Ribbon lineup. Gavin’s innate ability to switch between genres allows Blue Ribbon to meander in and out of different musical stylings and eras. His marching band background garnered Gavin incredible chops and when he’s not playing with Blue Ribbon, he’s still tapping his fingers on a bar table or steering wheel somewhere.
Jonathan Emile is a Jamaican-Canadian singer-songwriter, composer, and cancer survivor. He recently signed a deal with Bob Marley’s TuffGong International for distribution of his debut reggae album Spaces-in-Between. The album retraces eras of Jamaican music from Ska and Rocksteady to Roots Reggae and Dancehall.
In 2011, he garnered attention with the release of his debut EP “The Lover/Fighter Document”, which was placed on the first ballot of the 2011 Grammy Nominations for “Rap Album of The Year”. Emile has been featured in major online publications such as Pitchfork, Hip Hop Dx, Billboard, Fader, and Complex. He has collaborated with international Hip-Hop artists KRS-1, Kendrick Lamar, Buckshot and Murs for his debut LP. Additionally, he has shared the stage with rappers Coolio in San Francisco, Nelly in Las Vegas, and Naughty By Nature and Slick Rick in New York.
At the age of 18, Emile was diagnosed with cancer, and for the following two years he underwent intense chemotherapy and radiation treatments to fight the disease. During this period, he used music as his personal therapy as he fought the disease. Emile’s music is defined by truth as he shares his experiences of battling cancer, addresses current affairs and explores humanity.
Born of the legendary Muscle Shoals, Alabama music scene, and boasting contributions from local luminaries John Paul White, Dylan LeBlanc, Thad Saajid, and The Pollies, Pond Diver’s Flashbacks EP is a promising entry in the region’s deep and eclectic musical canon.
Flashbacks began to take shape as a series of demos tracked at The Pollies’ Studio 144 in Greenhill, Ala., the summer of 2018. The band tapped producer Austin Motlow (John Paul White, Blaze Lawrimore, Thad Saajid) shortly thereafter for the final sessions, which went down at Single Lock Records’ Sun Drop Studio on off days between booked sessions. The EP was then mixed and mastered by Chris Bethea (Penny and Sparrow) of Muscle Shoals Mastering.
Josh Lee Hamilton
‘Heart Is Ready’
Australian singer-songwriter, Josh Lee Hamilton, known for his smooth and captivating sound, endears the listener with honest and heartfelt songs that tell stories of love, struggles, relationships, and faith.
Josh’s diverse palate of musical influences over the years, have all contributed to the crafting of his unique sound and songwriting. Similarly his music invokes references to a variety of artists such as Ryan Adams , Ben Howard, Gregory Alan Isakov and Vance Joy.
Compiled by: Christos Doukakis