Over the course of the next ten days or so (until the voting process closes) we will take a quick look at the nominees in each of our Big Red Recognition categories. Today we scope out the artists nominated for Songwriter of the Year.
What strikes me about this year’s nominees is the breadth that they cover across the spectrum of music. A lonesome country-folkish gent, a world folk-meets avant garde multi-instrumentalist, an indie rocker, a pensive minstrel, a modern day queen of bluegrass fusion and emotive roots writing. Songwriting isn’t one dimensional no matter what your preference is and I would like to think that this year the odds were in our favor and the people have spoken in a way that shows that here.
Prateek Poddar has come into his own as a performer this year in a big way. He just released a brand new single “Emma” and has been performing with a full band as of late. He credits the community around him to really helping him find a place. He recently told us about that community, “It’s given me a home, and friends, and the motivation to grow both as an artist and as a person.”
Rachel Sumner wears a couple hats. Sharing front woman duties and playing guitar in the bluegrass fusion quartet Twisted Pine and is part of one of our favorite “newish” acts to come out of Camberville in the past 2 years, she adds divine harmonies and rhythm to the trio Sumner & Moss (just check out this video we shot with them last year…oh and while you are at it, this Old Spruce Session with Twisted Pine). All that plus she has been known to collaborate with friends and contemporaries…see The Grand Lady-Hang at Passim.
Max Garcia Conover recently released his Motorhome record to much joy from all of our ears and it may very well be one of Ken’s favorites of the year. He wrote about that album “Conover’s ability to write the telling detail and to keep things spare is notable and reflects a certain confidence to resist telling the whole story.”
MorganEve Swain is a name that many of you probably already know quite well. She just recently released Avalon under the band moniker “The Huntress and Holder of Hands“. A project that started as a home demo recording project after the loss of her life and brown bird band partner, Dave Lamb. The project has since evolved into a 5 piece touring outfit that has a little bit of everything from metal to world music to traditional American folk. A beautiful testament to love and light.
Grace Morrison just released a brand new record called “I’m The Apple”…which just so happens to be our Album of the Week as well. Already garnering some great press describing it as “a treat for the ears” and having a crystal clear voice and a penchant for story telling, she and this record are one to watch for the rest of 2017 and into the new year.
Nico Rivers is another artist who wears many hats. He co-founded a video series we have become quite fond of in the past year called “Live from Nowhere“…and you know we have a soft spot for artists who are all about helping other artists. We described an earlier 2017 single release as “slightly more Bright Eyes than Bob Dylan” and proclaimed “The thing moves…f*cking a, does its move.” There is a lot of heart and attitude in his voice and playing and we are happy to welcome in something a bit more indie rock to this year’s songwriter line up.
So, hit those blue linked names above, give a listen to all these fantastic songwriters and maybe even buy their records or merch…almost the holiday season and as a million different articles have said before, you could spend 5 bucks on a Starbucks that will just give you bowel movements later and be gone in an hour or spend a buck on a song from one or all of these fine songsmiths and have it last you forever. Whats worth more?