Emerging Indie Folk – Alexander Evangelista, The Northern Folk, Mark Wilkinson, Alex Zethson

Michigan based songwriter Alexander Evangelista makes a big statement with his expansive new record Windswept Leaves.  Opening with the organic charm of getting over you, he croons like an authentic troubadour.  getting over you magnifies his trademark appeal; honoring a tradition in songwriting that stays loyal to its essence.  There’s mostly minimal production throughout, like the electric lead or ethereal choir interjected into baby I’ll go.  The production cues are just offered to accent the songs harmonious nature, but never overwhelm it’s true intention.  The compositions recalls works by James Taylor or Jackson Browne but with a dreamy nostalgic indie sensibility known to Ryan Adams.  

You can get lost in the hypnotic appeal of tracks like cherry blossoms or frozen.  With its exotic cinematic reverence it recalls the works of Jose Gonzalez and Lord Huron.  It’s that troubadour spirit, the song of a traveling soul connected with the ethos of nature. That spirit evolves with romantic appeal on passionate entrys like still holdin on tight.  Recalling The War On Drugs or Ryan Adams it brings cinematic melancholy drama to this curious love story. 

A classic folk influence is heard in the title track, windswept leaves.  It’s vintage presentation evokes memories of Dylan and Jackson Browne.  Recorded effectively, his voice demands warmth out of the tubes as his bellow pushes the gains threshold. The songs lyrical revelations tell his origin story and offer a tribute to the people and moments that pushed him forward. The lyrics really speak to us.   “Had to find a job to pay the bills, had to do something with my degree, couldn’t be a musician like I wanted, had to move out west, turns out its the best thing that ever happened to me.  This is a song for all my friends, all the people I don’t see anymore.  It’s not like I ever wished or wanted to close that door.  Some of you I think about every day…”

Alexander embellishes his epic upbeat potential on the single if I drown.  He engages his expressive falsetto before resolving back to his lower register, flexing an impressive range and eclectic reach.  

Altogether a wonderful full length with several highlights, its the kind of work that pulls you in and keeps you engaged with variation and compositional surprise.  The songs are eclectic, staying on brand while showcasing different shades of his vast melodic palette.  Dig into the entire release.  

Alexander Evangelista is currently featured on our Emerging Indie Folk Playlist

The Northern Folk are gorgeous with their new single Jacarandas.  Innovative songwriting with dreamy melodic instincts make for an intoxicating combination.  The singers complimenting features are an intriguing dynamic, illuminating their ability as storytellers with thematic flare.  The single is elegantly produced with a complex layered arrangement that includes horns and wind instruments.  Smart songwriting and clever production only scratch the surface of its appeal.  The female vocal is a revelation, with an exotic tempered delivery that’s delicately lush, reserved and humble in its presentation.  Both performances are ripe with feeling, conjuring every detail of their vulnerable history.  The sentiment is enhanced in the accompanying video.  

Somewhere between Kathleen Edwards and Beirut, Big Thief and Damien Rice, The Northern Folk cast a wide stylistic net in the world of indie.  Like the aforementioned Indies they offer an innovative composition with classic intention.  Faintly contemporary in its construct but altogether unfamiliar.  Strikingly Original.

Hear Jacarandas now on our Emerging Indie Folk Playlist

Mark Wilkinson is anthemic on his new single Mariposa.  The arrangement is epic, like a modern battle cry fit with war drums and swift banjos.  It’s all updated with a stomp and holler style indie sensibility.  The singers soulful vocal has R&B roots and a hint of Southern influence.  The performance is full of passion and inspired vigor.  The instrumentation adds to its Roots Rock potential, but this is a quality pop song in any light.  Ripe for a remix, you can’t deny its emphatic epic nature. 

That drama and build has festival appeal, and should please a festival crowd looking to be pushed over the edge.  We see star power and mainstream potential in the spirit of Mumford and Sons, Mt Joy, or the Lumineers.  It’s a testament to its classic indie construction. His trademark trait is that he can deliver these truths without ever sounding derivative. That’s a marquee attribute if you want to break through. 

Say you knew him when, dig into Mariposa now on our Emerging Indie Folk Playlist.  

With bare instrumentation Alex Zethson is masterful on the new instrumental Room with a view.  The works cinematic traits offer an exquisite narrative that a song’s worth of words might never tell.  Faintly nostalgic with a classic synth that leads the melody, it recalls the soundtrack appeal of Chariots of Fire.  It’s calming and inspiring.  Motivational, but not in an energetic pompous way.  In a more metaphysical way, as if to remind you that you only get this one chance, this one opportunity to adventure.  And in its last seconds, foreboding and filled with regret.  As if to emulate the life’s journey, conceptualizing that final disapointment that plagues so many.  A Room with a view, as if to say, “I see what it is, I see what I’m not.”   

Pianist/keyboardist Alex Zethson is a sonic troubadour, with a bounty of projects and tour appearances to their resume.  This includes his involvement as a member of bands such as Angles 9, Goran Kajfeš Tropiques, the VÖ, and Yokada and the ’Arrival.’ Since 2021 he runs a 14-piece ensemble performing his own quasi-minimalist compositions.

Hear Room With A View now on our Emerging Indie Folk Playlist


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