Emerging Folk – Emmi Maaria, Tracy Lee Norman, Cooper Chasse, Joe Wilkinson

Songwriter Emmi Maaria reinvents the Violin’s potential in pop with her new single, I move deeper into the wading waters.  Her style as a violist is at the root of it’s elegant design.  Her signature touch, combined with this lush arrangement, pair perfectly with the composition.  The 6/7 cut time phrasing brings relentless surprise, you’re drawn to its subtle familiarities and engulfed by its curious spontaneity.  

  Emmi Maaria‘s penchant for invention draws comparisons to the groundbreaking indie folk of Bon Iver and Local Natives.  Her complicated stylistic update suggests genius potential.  You just don’t whip something together this fresh.  I move deeper into the wading waters lives in a world of its own, the gold standard for new music lovers.  This spirit, this evolution in modern music was supercharged by Radiohead, and Emmi Maaria’s vocal cadence suggests a hint of Yorke influence.  With the training she completed along the way, Emmi Maaria is a rare talent.  

  The single is a conceptual work, and embraces the ethos of these aforementioned projects to reference other mediums of artistic inspiration in song.  Inspired by the Finnish epic poem collection, Kalevala, the story recalls how ’Lemminkäinen’s’ Mother dredged pieces of her son’s lifeless body from the river Tuonela and sewn them together to bring her son back to life. Both the power of the river and the chaos of this desperate moment can be heard in the artists passionate performance.  

  Enjoy I move deeper into the wading waters now on our Emerging Folk Playlist.  

Tracy Lee Norman

Tracy Lee Norman is graceful on her gorgeous new release Distance.  The five song EP is melancholy easy listening, as somber reflections on life and love intersect infectious melodies.  Norman recalls acoustic songwriters from the early 90s, trailblazers who evolved out of folk and acoustic pop to claim their own category.  “Singer Songwriter” the genre as we now know it developed from this movement.  Like those classic writers, Norman’s chord arrangement are vaguely unfamiliar while always staying within the throes of contemporary pop.  The arrangements are meaningful, with every instrument contributing noticeable flashes while leaving space for other players to flourish.  

  Norman can be occasionally dark, like on the front end of Running Out Of Time.  She evolves out of the initial verse into a more uplifting chorus.  Similar contrast shows up sporadically throughout the EP, adding to the singers majestic mystery.  There’s a tint of hurt to Norman’s voice, a recognition that life is suffering, but with a sprinkle of optimism that she’s getting by.  She’s sincere on Out Of Myself as she sings “It’s been so long.  They say I’m doing well but they don’t see the times that I’m lying on the floor and struggling to breathe, and to be with myself.  Tired of making a list in my head of all the things I don’t like about myself, I know it’s bullshit but I can’t seem to make peace with myself.”  

  These sad girl vibes are known to emerging Indies Girlhouse and Samia, but Norman also brings more classic songwriter arrangements.  She connects with the versatile songwriters like Brandi Carlile, Andrew Bird, and Norah Jones as well. Like Jones and Bird, there’s a clear jazz and classical influence, or at least the version of pop that it inspired. 

  Take in the whole record, and get started with Running out of Doubt, now on our Emerging Folk playlist.  

Cooper Chasse

Prolific songwriter Cooper Chasse bursts out of lockdown with 3 straight EP’s to kickoff 2022.  His latest, Halogens At Waterloo, might be his best yet.  Existential indie folk vibes induce smoky recollections of good times gone sad.  This working man’s poetry recalls the iconic transformation of 70s Neil Young, when he became the poster boy for broken souls.  Chasse captures the vibe, but he isn’t sharing in Young’s nasaly delivery.  Chasse is more measured as a vocalist, with an indie sensibility known to Damien Rice.

  Growing out of his former position as a member of indie surf band Sun Smash Palace, Chasse is refining his newfound emergence as a folky songwriter.  Halogens At Waterloo transcends deeper into these folk vibes than prior releases, even drawing similarities to the Tallest Man On Earth with his single Heart Made Of Gold

On Where I Belong, emotive string layers beneath a plucked guitar connect with classic arrangements by Nick Drake.  Chasse casts a wide net.  He wonders about God, love, and if he’s enough.  He caps the release with an expressive poem.  He faces his art head on, and owns every bit of it.  He displays uncommon conviction in these disconnected times when we admire the illusion behind the mask more than the truth on the surface. 

  Enjoy I Wish I Knew now on our Emerging Folk playlist.  

Joe Wilkinson

Joe Wilkinson shines on his new single, Water To Wine.  This infectious acoustic pop package has indie sensibility.  Wilkinson writes catchy songs.  Every contribution is there to hook you.  A byproduct of his history as a looping pedal performance artist, he brings value with every plotted contribution. 

The call and response vocal in the chorus brings anthemic appeal.  In the spirit of Mumford and Sons, Wilkinson crafts acoustic music meant for the big stage.  He adapts these vibes out of the Coffeehouse and into the arena. With mainstream appeal, he draws comparisons to overnight superstar George Ezra.  

  Lyrically, Water To Wine is a story of keeping the faith in the face of adversity.  A generation overworked to the bone, Wilkinson still has hope in triumph.  He can brush off todays struggle and focus on a better tomorrow. “I know in time everything will be fine.”  

  Whether your drawn to the lyrical message or picked up by the feel good melodies, Water To Wine is sure to become a go-to pick me up.  

  Enjoy Water To Wine now on our Emerging Folk playlist

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