Folk

Roped In (LP)

Roped In is an atmospheric, intimate, and often spare album anchored by Patrick McDermott’s intricate guitar and the haunting pedal steel work of Barry Walker. Harpist Mary Lattimore and guitarist William Tyler also make delicate appearances throughout. Across the album’s nine tracks, McDermott and Walker use simplicity and the directness of communicating emotions through music as both a jumping off point and a parameter. It’s about the clarity that can come from quiet moments, and how those moments are worth sticking with for as long as we possibly can.

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World On The Ground (CD)

Three-time Grammy-winning folk artist Sarah Jarosz turns her lyrical gaze and smooth voice to the details of small-town life for her new album, World On The Ground. She mixes folk-pop with sleepier mediations to add dynamics to this generally soft-toned set. "Johnny" stands out for its more radio-friendly arrangement -- something a young Vanessa Carlton might have sung -- while "Orange and Blue" is a gently darker ballad, and "Hometown" is lush, feel-good folk.

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120,000 Stories (CD)

Nobuko Miyamoto, singer/songwriter, theatre actress and activist, releases her first new album since 1997, 120,000 Stories. In addition to new songs, the album includes reimagined versions of older ones and tracks from her 1973 debut with Chris Kando Iijima and William “Charlie” Chin, A Grain of Sand: Music for the Struggle by Asians in America. Songs like the folky "Not Yo' Butterfly" - which shares a name with her upcoming memoir - directly address exoticism and sexism in punchy, singsong vocals. "What Time is It On the Clock of the World" is more theatrical and features some bluesy harmonica, but it's just as up front about its message: the dangers of climate change. There's no doubt that Miyamoto's activist spirit remains earnest and strong.

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Beginners [Maroon Vinyl] (LP)

Christian Lee Hutson's debut album Beginners was produced by Phoebe Bridgers, with whom he worked on both Boygenius and Better Oblivion Community Center, and it shows in its sparse arrangements. Like Bridgers, Hutson has a penchant for clever or sardonic lyrics, but his melodies are lighter and more '60s-influenced, as evidenced on the album opener "Atheist." "Get The Old Band Back Together" is a fun, more ramshackle number, featuring harmonica and the unforgettable line, “You idiots in your leather jackets and glasses / you know I can still kick all your asses.”

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