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Saturday, January 4, 2020

Catching up with Black Pumas, Illiterate Light, Native Harrow, Field Mouse, Daniel Pearson

Virtually no new music is released in the year-end holiday weeks, so it's time to catch up with some tracks that we didn't pick up on when they came out during the past several months.

Black Pumas - Colors

Although the single came out in April and the Black Pumas album in June, this track is very much "current" on Adult Alternative radio today. It got a big boost in November when the Austin-based duo of guitarist/producer Adrian Quesada and vocalist Eric Burton received a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist. Pitchfork wrote that "Burton may command attention with his sweet, plaintive voice, but Quesada’s densely woven tapestries are the key to Black Pumas." This song was written by Burton, who the band says "was inspired by the rich multicolored hues of the sky" at sunset. "The song was written in the themes of mortality and togetherness."

Illiterate Light - Better Than I Used To

This duo's self-titled debut album arrived in October, and although this track preceded it by a few months, it's still moving up on the radio-airplay charts. The Virginia-based band consists of guitarist Jeff Gorman and drummer Jake Cochrane. NPR's World Cafe tells us they are "worth seeing live ... as Jeff plays guitar parts with his hands and bass lines on foot pedals while Jake plays drums standing up."

Native Harrow - Can't Go On Like This

We're catching up with this band from New York's Hudson Valley, whose third album, Happier Now, also came out in April. It has gained increasing attention from reviewers over the following months, with several of them comparing the music to the 1970s Laurel Canyon sound and singer-songwriter Devin Tuel to Joni Mitchell. But those comparisons only go so far. Tuel, a classically trained singer and former ballerina, brings her own fresh approach to the folk-rock genre, and this track is a good example.

Field Mouse - In Blue

We previously featured "Heart of Gold" from Meaning, which the Brooklyn band released in August. The album's theme is finding purpose and hope in a world teetering on disaster. This song brings the message to a personal level. According to WXPN/The Key's album review, "On 'In Blue,' vocalist/songwriter Rachel Browne invites her now cancer-free sister to accept some calmness."

Daniel Pearson - Down the Tracks

OK this one really is a new song - released six weeks ago. It's an upbeat English-Americana track from an artist we previously featured back in spring 2018. Pearson says “'Down The Tracks' is about the importance of getting away from it all with the one you love... about how vital it is to hold on to the people that matter to you and to focus on your relationships with them, as those are the most important things in our lives - they’re the tracks we leave behind and the ones we have to follow.”

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