Weekly, Jessie Villa (“Rules”)
release date: March 11th, 2020
So this obviously came out a while ago, but I joined the Tuned Up team just recently and had to include one of my favorite singles of the Spring! Weekly is a trio of musicians in Nashville: Zach Hughes (artist name Oh Steady), Rand Walter (artist name Rand), and Jordan Hamilton (artist name In Grey) made a musical pact to “make music weekly” and write songs together that would feature each of them on lead on a rotating basis.
“Rules” is particularly special as it features vocalist and writer Jessie Villa in addition to Rand on BGVS. Jessie’s warm and intimate vocals overlaying a pulsing, sub-beat and syncopated piano set the scene immediately. Improv-like electric guitar is then added to the mix, and the unexpected marimba/xylophone in verse 2 is highly effective in constructing this mournful yet self aware atmosphere. I haven’t been able to get “Rules” out of my head since they released it—I love how it feels like an early 2000’s pop ballad mixed with modern indie rock and R&B-influenced melodic rhythm in the pre chorus.
Field Guide (“You Were”)
release date: May 29th, 2020
When I hear the beginning of Field Guide’s “You Were,” a repetitive fixation on one simple guitar chord, I immediately think of Fink’s “Looking Too Closely.” But as soon as Dylan MacDonald (aka Field Guide) begins singing, he brings more of a warmth and a sweetness to his words.
I love songs that build and drive you forward but stick to their simplistic roots at the core. This song feels like the blur of strobing sunlight through your car window.
Molly Bush (“Drive Past It”)
release date: July 31st, 2020
Molly Bush returned to the scene this year after a four year hiatus with singles “Waking Hour” and “Drive Past It.” Something I’ve always loved about Molly’s voice is that its default is authentically classic. With the effortless range and vulnerability of Joni Mitchell and the grit of Bonnie Raitt, Molly carves out a yearning past into our present—and she does so without artifice or even intention.
“Drive Past It” is this beautiful simile of not even wanting to be near the feelings you had or memories you once shared with a person. She makes a microcosm out of a “house where something bad happened.” Lyrically unique with a melody that feels like a classic ballad at one moment and a conversational folk song the next, “Drive Past It” feels like a modern-day deep track on a late 60’s/early 70’s LP.
Sam Mooney (“Sunshine”)
release date: August 28th, 2020
Soul-pop artist Sam Mooney released the jazz-inspired uptempo “Sunshine” last month, bringing us some much needed optimism. It’s one of those songs that is meant to be seen live—the rhythmic groove, the call-and-response chorus, the need-to-tap-my-foot-to-this-right-now aspect. Sam’s voice has a carefree sweetness to it, especially when he reaches the heights of his falsetto.
A BGV crew steps into the role of gospel choir in the chorus, tying the song together nicely as their voices soar, sitting back in the mix. Sam is planning on bringing us more happy, groovy tunes this Fall and in 2021!