Emerging Folk – Emmi Maaria, Rich Jacques, Herald K, Nikki Manos

Emmi Maaria is a revelation on her new single I am the whisper of blood.  Armed with her violin and a passion for Finnish literature she strives to extract a universal female narrative from these inspirational works.  ‘I am the whisper of blood‘ was derived from Edith Södergran’s poem Vierge Moderne (modern virgin) that supported women’s rights to study without any limitations based on their gender in 19th century Finland.  Emmi Maaria is a powerful, necessary voice in these turbulent times.  

  Only a couple decades removed from the dark ages, Women’s rights have been compromised again by just a few bitter men who want to claim jurisdiction over her body.  And so it is that Emmi Maaria’s adapted anthem stings like a battle cry, with her fiery folk fiddle and war ready drums.  The lyrics come fast and fierce, as the cultural purveyor looks to history to revive buried memories of sacred revolutionaries.  

  Women have been fighting and plotting for equality since the beginning of time, developing an unspoken camaraderie out of necessity, for the evil of man will never truly let them thrive.  Cultural martyrs like Södergran have had to take their freedom from the grips of greedy men.  Maaria embraces this community spirit with a choral outro that harkens a community of heroes and street soldiers who will never give up the fight for equality.  A ready anthem for Women’s never-ending plight, I am the whisper of blood is the mantra of the moment.  

  Hear it now on our Emerging Folk Playlist 

Rich Jacques

Rich Jacques caught our attention with their new EP Everything Must Change.  The LA based songwriter packs a lot into this 6 song release.  He grabs you out the gate with the delicate bedroom pop of Montecito.  The textured atmosphere of finger picked acoustic guitars shows the artists affinity for soft precision.  He introduces additional harmonic layers as the song builds, with a thumping backbeat that gives this feel good vibe an upbeat affect.  

The refreshing pop of Montecito gives way to the melancholy intro of Everything Must Change.  The title track reveals the projects artistic intention.  “Dream that you’re alive and let it bind you. Leave everything behind you.”  The pianissimo vibes are soothing , as Jacques builds and immersive dreamscape of echoing voices and chimey leads.  

The heavenly vibes take over with Can You See It.  Birds sing beneath this delicate folk.  Rich dresses these moments with two equal parts of his conceptual ethos.  It’s a combination of organic instrumentation and otherworldly sounds. 

There’s an awareness to his works.  Jacques is fully present but in touch with our existential conflict.  The collective songs reference something more to this trivial existence.  The sentiment is elevated on Burn Me Down.  “Waiting for someone to come rescue me, no one can save me but me.”  He’s clever to treat the production with an island appeal, as Burn Me Down seems to target our modern day burn out.  Overworked and underloved, it’s the painful new normal.  

  With New Design and The Star Above, it’s as if he’s offering the answers to the aforementioned spiritual conflicts.  The EP as a whole is a musical novel.  There’s wisdom in these words.  It’s also just a sweet laid back vibe.  With harmonious appeal and solid production throughout, it should appeal to fans of Sufjan Stevens, Andrew Bird, and Iron & Wine. 

  The whole EP is fire.  Get started with Montecito now on our Emerging Folk Playlist

Herald K

Songwriter Herald K elegantly tells the tale of Arethusa.  The new single has classic folk sensibility.  Featuring a female backing vocal and the rare Nyckelharpa, Arethusa is ironically inviting.  The mythological myth resisted the advances of her suitor, but Herald’s tribute is playful and exhilarating.  The frolicking Nyckelharpa prances around the plotted plucked guitar as Herald poetically recalls Arethusa’s troubled history.  The female support adds an additional beauty to this soothing soundscape.  She brings sweet contrast to Herald’s bassy vocal.

  Like a Greek poet holding theater in the towns center, Herald immortalizes Arethusa in song.  He tells of her attraction, and the conflict and affliction that plagued her.  “He saw your beauty Arethusa, you laid your rags down on a stone.  He saw you bathing, Arethusa, in his water’s all alone.”  

  The river God Alpheus could not accept her rejection.  The tragedy, is that she was so intent on refusing him that she barred herself from love forever.  Herald K acknowledges her misfortune, and the melodic aura resolves with the line “How could you elude his grip, like no one has before? By a body changed to water and returned to flesh no more.”

  Herald K has something in common with the divine folk of John Prine, Tom Waits, and Paul Simon.  He’s an elegant songwriter with melodic sensibility.  His voice is a vessel to profess his lyrical poetry.  

Enjoy Arethusa now on our Emerging Folk Playlist

Nikki Manos

The art of the concept album lives on in the works of Nikki Manos.  His new album Rebel’s Twilight is a psychedelic folk dystopian epic.  The concept investigates the common experience in an imaginative post war America, where water is more valuable than gold and regular folk are forced into a struggle of survival.  Manos provides a conceptual roadmap in the vein of several “skits,” where radio announcements and survivalists describe the perils of their plights. 

The characters of Rebel’s Twilight attempt to protect their collective histories.  They try to salvage memories of love and the grace of better times.  Manos immortalizes some of these characters in song.  On Trouble On Mind he sings, “Wish I was back in Phoenix, with a love that once was mine.  If I was anywhere but here, there’d be no Trouble On My Mind.

  Manos displays an incredible imagination.  This unique musical offering is like almost nothing we’ve received.  The experience is meant to inspire the listeners imagination, as they sculpt the landscapes and facial features of the albums characters.  The musical styles range from southern rock to indie folk.  There’s evidence of the atmospheric soundscapes of Pink Floyd mixed with the desert vibes of Lord Huron and the pensive songwriting of Leonard Cohen.  Manos never stays in one stylistic space for long, he’s a musical shapeshifter with many colors.  But at its core, there’s an undeniable affinity for Southern Rock, Outlaw, and Country.  

  Get started with The Trail now on our Emerging Folk Playlist.  

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