FOLK FORWARD - NEXT GENERATION
Based in Fort Collins, Colo., sisters Sarah, Hannah, Eva and Liza Holbrook are classically trained musicians whose songs meld ethereal harmonies, out-of-the-box melodies and remarkable musicianship. Producer Brent Maher, who’s worked with everyone from Ike & Tina Turner to the Judds, co-produced SHEL’s When the Dragon Came Down EP and is working on a full-length follow-up.
Hailing from Okemah, Okla.—home of Woody Guthrie—Fullbright seems to have arrived as a fully formed songwriter in his early 20s. He’s shared the stage with Jimmy Webb, Joe Ely, Steve Poltz and more. His Live at the Blue Door offered precocious nods to Townes Van Zandt and Mickey Newbury, and debut studio album From the Ground Up has him poised for national prominence.
THE MILK CARTON KIDS
Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan are the Milk Carton Kids, an L.A.-based minimalist duo that trades on somber emotion without posturing or bluster. Pattengale and Ryan are collecting fans like Joe Henry and Sara Bareilles, and heavy-duty roadwork is helping to spread the word. Both Kids albums, Prologue and Retrospect, are available for free download at milkcartonkids.com.
THE HEAD AND THE HEART
With a sound that is at times stripped down to a whisper but sometimes soars like elegant indie rock, this buzzed-about Seattle collective broke onto the national scene in 2011 when its eponymous independent debut was re-released on Sub Pop Records. The band’s growing reputation as one of folk’s most exciting live bands points to a solid future.
The Vermont-reared daughter of college professors, Mitchell now makes her home in Brooklyn. Her 2010 Hadestown album was a re-imagining of the Orpheus myth that featured appearances from Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, Greg Brown, Ani DiFranco and others. Mitchell released Young Man in America in 2012 to reviews that suggest the album will wind up on year-end Top 10 lists.