Angela Moyra – Fickle Island

Zip, 2014

I have to imagine that in the Netherlands Moyra is a household name. If not, she should be, because the songstress can navigate a jazzy pop song and ukulele tune that you won’t soon forget. Often paralleling indie-folk from the west side of the States, there’s a cultural slant that gives the album a unique flavor, complemented by Moyra’s smooth, charming voice. In a word, irresistible.

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Maggie Bjorklund – Shaken

Bloodshot, 2014

Also known as Jack White’s guitarist, Bjorklund solo is a lesson in just how far you can take the use of pedal steel guitar. Penned while Bjorklund was watching her mother pass away, Shaken is understandably a downcast affair, complete with somber, blurry atmospheres, but all while keeping a warm, Americana and folk backbone beneath the wealth of emotions. Even though Bjorklund alone is captivating enough, she brings members of Calexico and Portishead along to solidify the urgency here.

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Run Boy Run – Something To Someone

Sky Island, 2014

A family affair of acoustic instruments, the five songwriters in RBR find a warm place to exist where bluegrass, folk, jazz and vintage, rustic sounds meet. The three women all sing heavenly, sometimes in unison, and the songs shift from the contemplative sounds that endless touring lends itself to, as well as upbeat, playful Americana that seems more at home at the foothills of the Appalachians than their desert residence of Arizona.

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Bell Gardens – Slow Dawns For Lost Conclusions

Rocket Girl, 2014

Members of Furry Things and Stars Of The Lid join for this slow, ambient and textured variation of Americana where psyche-rock and folk ideas are blurred in against hazy, experimental and whispered harmonies. Certainly surreal enough to appeal to dream-pop fans, but also with an aching pedal steel, it’s an organic and beautifully languid sophomore effort.

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Ben Howard – I Forget Where We Were

Republic, 2014

The British sensation’s sophomore album expands on his skilled guitar playing with much emphasis on atmospheric, cosmic, and darker textures, where his long, complicated songs showcase a contemplative man. Sure, at its core it’s a folk/Americana-inspired album, but Howard’s cathartic experimentalism ensures that, even if it’s not as likely to be commercially successful, he will certainly gain respect for taking a risk.

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Eliot Bronson – Eliot Bronson

Saturn 5, 2014

Formerly one half of The Brilliant Inventions, Bronson’s third solo album encapsulates the warmest, most accessible ideas of rootsy rock with poetic, heartfelt singing that seems older than his years. Sure, there’s blues, folk and country moments, but ultimately it’s a soulful Americana album in the purest sense – elegant and eloquent, with much rustic beauty. Possibly this decade’s version of Ryan Adams’ Demolition.

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