We’re back again this month for another dose of the four independent artists and their singles that you should be checking out! This feature is designed to unearth undiscovered gems – those plectrums that so annoyingly get lost, go astray if you will, and we seem to spend our lives searching for. Keep reading to find them!
Judith Owen ‘I’ve Never Been To Texas’
Welsh singer-songwriter Judith Owen emigrated to America in 1993, after meeting a young guy from Texas while living as a broke musician in London. Inspired by her meeting with him and the magical, shimmering landscape he seemed to describe, she wrote ‘I’ve Never Been To Texas’, originally recorded for her debut album ‘Emotions On A Postcard’, released in 1996. This evocative tale of losing love was then re-recorded with her current band for her latest album ‘Ebb & Flow’ (and her first released in the UK), and the results are startlingly beautiful. Simply captivating, from the atmospheric production, the simplicity of the instrumentation and the tumbling, twisting, winding nature of the melody and vocal delivery, it’s a shame that more people haven’t listened to it.
The Delta Bell ‘Wasted’
Echoing a more soulful, old school country sound, Brighton, UK-based singer-songwriter Kate Gerrard represents a fascinating combination of musical factors. Singing in (mostly) her own British accent with hints of transatlanticism, her voice simultaneously recalls the jazzy, soulful black American singers of the 1960’s as she floats along a soundscape of traditional (albeit bluesy) country, complete with wailing pedal steel and drone resonator. ‘Wasted’, which has been described as a “whiskey-soaked swagger” (rather accurately) is available as a limited 7” vinyl and download and is the lead single from The Delta Bell’s debut album, ‘Bow Out of The Fading Light’.
Ward Thomas ‘The Good & The Right’
Ward Thomas are a further example to the world of the strength of sister duos. 19-year-old twins from Hampshire, UK, their perfect harmonies and sassy delivery make their debut single ‘The Good & The Right’ truly something to sit up and take notice. It serves as the lead track from the first EP ‘Footnotes’, recorded in Nashville (with their album featuring a guest appearance from Vince Gill) and is as inclusive of their rootsy, twangy influences as their poppier ones, producing solid, energetic, singable music that is hard to ignore. Inspired by the likes of Carrie Underwood, Johnny Cash, Dixie Chicks and Alison Krauss, Ward Thomas shirk their arguable geographical hindrance and, reminiscent of award-winning groups such as The Wreckers, are as identifiably and commercially country as any act in Nashville and beyond. ‘The Good & The Right’ emphasizes this; longing for a simpler time, it discusses people’s relationship with technology, and makes sure to include a subtle jab at the content of radio too.
You can check out the song below, and you can buy it on iTunes.
Ted Z and The Wranglers ‘Afraid of Dying’
The only non-UK band on our list this month, Ted Z and The Wranglers hail from Orange County, California, and it’s their brand of grassroots, southwestern country-folk that sets them apart. ‘Afraid of Dying’ is a heartfelt ballad illustrated by atmospheric steel guitar, leaving echoes of freedom and calm, open space floating for its sub-3 minutes of playing time. Their pride in music comes from their focus on a wide variety of complex song topics; from cultural awareness to romanticism, politics to environmentalism, humanity and childhood, there’s an introspective feel to their music, a manner in which inspires thought and reflection. Not content to remain sonically low key, however, their music also spans grittier rock ‘n’ roll, making them a well-rounded group of musicians and artists.