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MODERN SONGWRITERS OF 2018: Grant-Lee Philips, Bahamas and Glen Hansard

Songwriters have the special capacity to give life to their songs and also to tell us beautiful stories through melodies and lyrics. The music range of these artist may span from rock to folk, but all of them – in theory – should share the same sensibility and passion for good and solid pieces.

Last year, however, I couldn’t conceal my disappointment in front of a relatively large number of long awaited albums that in the end didn’t meet the expectations (Fleet Foxes, Mark Lanegan, Sun Kil Moon and Robert Plant, just to mention a few). The first months of 2018 seem to present a different scenario, whith a bunch of good artists who maybe don’t reach the level of fame and popularity of the big names I mentioned before, but who released very solid and enjoyable albums. Three artists, more than the others, were appreciated for the brilliance and freshness of their songs and I’m presenting here their new albums.



WIDDERSHINES by Grant-Lee Phillips

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After the relatively short but intense experience with the Grant-Lee Buffalo, American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Grant-Lee Phillips started a solo career which has already led him to publish a significant number of records. Between some inevitable high and low, this artist has managed to achieve a respectable role in the modern music scene, although perhaps the charm and success of his initial band remains unattainable. Widdershins, which is Grant-Lee’s last record, is a solid album full of energy and positivity, that results extremely enjoyable to listen and where we can appreciate the unique capacity of the artist to balance in an almost perfect and maniacal way both intimate and more sardonic moments.




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Singer-songwriter Afie Jurvanen, best known by his stage name Bahamas, released in early 2018 his new album, Earthtones, which is the fourth since his debut in 2009. This latest work by the young Canadian artist stands out for a brilliant heterogeneity of the pieces, ranging from indie folk to funky, and R&B. In Bahama’s music there is a pervasive feeling of curiosity and it’s evident the clear will of the artist to push his music beyond the limits that were already known. The songs that I liked the most, however, are the two that respectively open and close the album (Alone and Any Place). Of all the tracks on Earthtones , these two are perhaps the most essential ones, meditative and passionate like those songs that only the most talented songwriters manage to write.



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Glen Hansard is one of those artists who have so much creativity that they can’t just remain anchored to a single form of expression and in fact, in his career, we’ve met him as a folk guitarist, singer, songwriter, and also actor. In his latest solo album, Between Two Shores, we see him engaged with a very wide range of musical styles: from classic rock to peaceful and intimate folk. Probably, when compared to his previous releases, the new LP shows a little less brilliance and freshness, and the songs are not always showing the same level of focus. There are however still many moments of excitment and passion, which correspond typically to the more rock-oriented moments of the album.


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