Another week and another ten songs by talented Southerners. This series features new and old, and always good music by Southern women and trans and non-binary Southerners. I include the state they live in or hail from, the artist, song, and a bit of trivia. There are videos and a playlist. This week, for your listening pleasure, I found a few super new songs from perennial favorites Angel Olsen and Shovels & Rope, unique and gorgeous sounds out of NC, some classic alt country, and more. Now that I look more closely, I see there’s way too much North Carolina in this mix, but the damage is done. Please enjoy.
North Carolina: Shirlette Ammons, “Language Barrier”
Ammons’ new album, also titled Language Barrier, was the best thing to happen to me this week (thanks for the recommendation, Sarah Shook). She taps into ALL of the kinds of music and enlists some serious Durham-area talent. The title track is currently my official Summer 2016 song, and it should also be added to the list of songs that mention Waffle House. Where is that list?
North Carolina: Angel Olsen, “Shut Up Kiss Me”
Everyone lost all of there shit this week when Asheville-denizen Angel Olsen released this song to keep us happy until she hands over the whole album in September. This video, y’all.
Texas: Emily Wells, “Pack of Nobodies”
Wells, an Amarillo, Texas-native, is a prolific artist. She plays many, many instruments, including the violin, cello, drums, and analog synthesizer, and she jumps around genres. Her new album Promise will blow your mind.
Tennessee: Tristen, “Baby Drugs”
Tristen Gaspadarek is a treasure of the Nashville indie music scene, and she’s been on tour with some familiar and famous folks like Justin Townes Earle, the Elected, and Jenny Lewis. “Baby Drugs” is from her 2011 album Charlatans at the Gate and was featured on a few television shows, including Teen Mom!
Georgia: Shehehe, “Rock and Roll Queen”
The Athens rockers fronting this band are Nicole Bechill and Noelle Shuck, and now you know they are your rock and roll queens.
Florida: Cherele, “Raised by Wolves”
I’m pretty sure that everyone on the planet is supposed to listen to women rappers from Miami all summer long, and Cherele is the humdinger of those.
Louisiana: Rareluth, “Hot Air”
These Lafayette natives have what I’m sure someone has already called an ethereal sound before, but now we’re all on the same page. This is beautiful music. It’s synthy and sweet.
Texas: Nina Diaz, “Quiero un Amor”
Here’s a single from the new solo project of Girl in a Coma vocalist Nina Diaz. While the San Antonio band is on hiatus, Diaz is making some great Spanish-language pop music, while her former bandmates, her sister Phanie Diaz and friend Jenn Alva, started a new punk group, FEA.
South Carolina: Shovels & Rope, “I Know”
While we’re all sitting around waiting for the new Shovels & Rope album’s October release, we now have “I Know” to listen to.
North Carolina: Tift Merritt, “Virginia, No One Can Warn You”
In 2000, Merritt won a songwriting contest at Merlefest and was signed to Lost Highway Records. She released her debut album Bramble Rose two years later and a long and successful career followed. Recently, after many years and albums, she found out that Don Henley had decided to include the title track from that first album on his latest LP, his first in fifteen years. For that reason and probably a million others, she re-released Bramble Rose in January. She’s also back in Raleigh where she grew up, after a long stint in NYC.