Temperatures tumbled to tumultuous lows this past week in Philly, bringing a wintery start to the first full week of 2015. This cold snap was a bit unusual, as it lasted not just a day or two, but nearly the entire week. Most folks folds bundled up and put on extra layers to fight off the blustery cold, but not I. My strategy to put on fiesty folk songs and warm myself up from the inside out.
Here are five of those toasty tunes to blast you out of hibernation.
1. Old Soul – Blackbird Calling
Low-burning, with plenty of hiss to keep it crackin’, this one chugs along like a train barreling through smoke-filled mountains. Old Soul, a three-piece indie rock band from Maine, isn’t exactly what you would call a full ensemble. But especially because of their driving bass, the instrumentation doesn’t sound sparse either. The three-note guitar has a Beatlesque quality, except it’s a little less British and a little more backwoods.
(Get the mp3 for free at The Burning Ear.)
2. Chris Velan – Any Number of Ways
How do I love thee, Mr. Velan? Let me count the ways. One, I love the effortless ease of your strummy guitar. Two, I love the adventure you share in your lyrics. And three, there are many other things I love about your acoustic little ditty, but I’ll leave those ones up to others to decide.
3. Matthew And The Atlas – I Followed Fires
The spirit of the wild is woven into the very fabric of this gypsy-inspired folk song. Its woodshedded feel conjures up images of the great outdoors. With a kind of spiritual undertone that underpins the themes of freedom and escape, “I Followed Fires” has both the unassuming nature and immense fierceness of great antiquated indie-folk.
4. Radical Face – Always Gold
Cozy up to the lushly layered harmonies of this track, all of which have been created by a single man. Radical Face, the music project of Ben Cooper, has a signature style all its own. Sweeping melodies, rhythmic clapping, and big buildups make Radical Face the ideal soundtrack for extended romps in magical winter forests.
5. The Wild Feathers – Backwoods Company
“Backwoods” was a term I mentioned earlier, but it doesn’t really get any more backwoods than this. This gem of a jubilee jam comes from a Nashville five-piece of Americana rockers. Their “Black Betty” type stomp is matched in fun by a lively blues harmonica, and both make me feel like I should be having a moonshinin’ dance party in a barn.