Albums

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Folk/Americana - Released February 15, 2019 | Verve Forecast

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The American dream is an inexhaustible subject. It is approached head-on, sideways, from behind, above and below. It is the ultimate fuel for hordes of songwriters; even when they weren’t even born in America. As is the case for J.S. Ondara. This young Kenyan, who his label calls "the link between Tracy Chapman and Michael Kiwanuka" (an easy claim but not wrong), went there to try his luck. In 2013, Ondara dropped anchor at his aunt's house in Minneapolis. Having only previously known his native Nairobi, the musician took his songs into bars, clubs and even out onto the street, equipped with only his voice and a simple acoustic guitar, perhaps in the hope of becoming a third millennium Bob Dylan. The Dylan of The Freewheelin', his favourite record; Springsteen's Nebraska also being one of his top picks... But to limit himself to cloning those giants wouldn’t be very interesting. And Tales of America avoids that. First of all, J.S. Ondara has his own voice. His plaintive tone is a little androgynous and makes him truly unique. On the instrumental side, he adds some more daring flavours with the help of the great Andrew Bird, Griffin Goldsmith from Dawes and Joey Ryan from the Milk Carton Kids duo. In a divided America and a crisis-riddled world, J. S. Ondara's songs are more than just bandages, they’re powerful balms that penetrate the skin and warm the heart. This is a Qobuzissime that we needed... © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Folk/Americana - Released May 18, 2018 | Haïku Records

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Folk/Americana - Released February 9, 2018 | Alela Diane

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In 2007, The Pirates's Gospel wrote its drugged-up folk onto the heart of gospel. Alela Diane brought her staggering voice to this first album. It would be a hit with fans of Cat Power and Karen Dalton… A decade later, the Californian set up in Portland, setting up in a house in the middle of the woods, surely a kind of re-fuelling after the birth of her daughter two years earlier… There, the songwriter set aside her acoustic guitar for a grand piano on which she created the songs on Cusp, the fifth album from a woman who had decided to draw up a balance sheet which was as much personal as it was artistic. Her relationship to femininity but also her eye for maternity (on Song For Sandy, Alela Diane pays homage to Sandy Denny, the goddess of 60s British Folk at the core of Fairport Convention who died at just 31 shortly after becoming a mother) or for her contemporaries (Emigré on the migrant crisis) gives this record a literary density. Musically, her standard melodic sensibility and her stripped-down approach to folk are blended into an unusually-sophisticated instrumentation. It evokes Carole King, Joni Mitchell and the great names of the Laurel Canyon stage. These charismatic influences in no sense overshadow the originality of Alela Diane, who is more than ever fully in command of her art. © MD/Qobuz
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Folk/Americana - Released January 19, 2018 | Columbia

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When they released The Big Black and the Blue in 2010, Johanna and Klara Söderberg were 20 and 23 years old respectively. The two Swedish sisters quickly made a name for themselves at the top of the charts thanks to their covers of songs by Fleet Foxes, Lorde, Jack White and even Black Sabbath… Though throughout it all, First Aid Kit imposed their own style. A sort of dreamy folk that was as fresh as it was mesmerizing, at the heart of which shimmered vocal harmonies… For their fourth album, the Söderbergs flew off to the West Coast of the United States. Written in California (Los Angeles) and recorded in Oregon (Portland), Ruins is without a doubt  their most beautiful achievement. It’s the strongest tie between their native Sweden and the America of their dreams. Produced by the wonderful Tucker Martine, an expert in classy country, this is a record that above all draws its inspiration from America's rich heritage (from the Gram Parsons/Emmylou Harris period to the recent Fleet Foxes) while staying true to its authors. Sparkling arrangements, smooth rhythmics, intense vocal harmonies and notable guests (Peter Buck from R.E.M., Glenn Kotche from Wilco and McKenzie Smith from Midlake), everything’s there to make their folk-rock even more luxurious than on The Lion's Roar (2012) and Stay Gold (2014). It’s almost impossible not to role out the old cliché: an album of maturity. © MD/Qobuz
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Folk/Americana - Released February 10, 2015 | Alpha

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Folk/Americana - Released January 1, 1968 | Craft Recordings

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