Thursday, 29 September 2016

Top Tens: Emma's Top Ten Acoustic Artists


Sam Russo
One of the graveliest voices of acoustic punk rock, Sam Russo is one of the very best – hence why he made the list! Russo is a musician best experienced live with an eager audience singing – or yelling – along at the top of their lungs. He just gets better and better each time too, which isn’t something you can say about all artists ‘Soooometimes!’

Patrick Craig
Patrick Craig has fast become one of my favourite UK solo musicians. Ever since I saw him play with Joe McCorriston and John Allen, who are also solo acoustic artists (sorry you didn’t make the list, guys), I’ve been a fan. His debut album, True Story, released earlier this year is packed full of honest, heartfelt and highly relatable songs. There’s hints of Frank Turner, Wil Wagner and Ducking Punches in Patrick’s music but the stories within the songs are definitely his own.

Billy The Kid
I’m a little bit ashamed to say that Billy The Kid is the only female artist that has made this list. This is mostly because I’ve grown up listening to far more male musicians than female – despite being female myself! – and because I’m generally a fan of gravelly vocals (see Sam Russo, above). Billy Pettinger’s voice is certainly more grace than gravel, but she writes some really amazing songs. She’s punk at heart though – if you saw Against Me! at the Electric Ballroom in 2014 then you may recall Billy’s awesome duet with Laura for Borne On The FM Waves Of A Heart, complete with stage dive.

Gaz Brookfield
‘Gaz Brookfield’ was a name I'd heard of but not actually listened to until around this time last year, when I saw him as support act for Ferocious Dog at my local music venue (and I probably enjoyed his set even more than theirs). His down-to-earth, honest and hardworking ethic – touring non-stop, as heard in the song ‘Land Pirate's Life’ – instantly made me a fan.

Andrew Cream
Andrew Cream has released one of my favourite albums of the year so far, Self-Portrait. The album is a bit more of a full-band affair than his previous releases but it still contains the same sincere and inspiring lyricism. His song ‘Forever, In A Good Way’, from an earlier release, has been special to me since the first time I heard it.

Tim Vantol
I first came across Dutchman Tim Vantol due to his involvement in European legs of The Revival Tour, Chuck Ragan's live music camaraderie, and it was alongside Chuck that I saw him for the first time. He was brilliant and totally won me and the crowd over. Trust me, you can't listen to ‘If We Go Down, We Will Go Together’ and resist the urge to sing along.

Dave Hause
Punks, don’t hate me… but I’ve listened to Dave Hause’s solo material far more than I have The Loved Ones. I have Chuck Ragan’s Revival Tour to thank, again, for giving me the chance to see Mr Hause live for the first time. His debut album, Resolutions, was and still is one of my favourite albums – ‘Prague (Revive Me)’ is my favourite song, although it has quite a different sound. I’m also really excited for his third album that I believe is in the making.

PJ Bond
My most played artist of 2015 was without a doubt PJ Bond. I discovered him after he signed to Xtra Mile for the release of Where Were You?, an album that I thought was brilliant, but it was some of his earlier more raw-sounding tracks that really made me fall in love. He’s an excellent live performer and also a really lovely chap – he dedicated a song to myself and my parents (also acoustic punk fans) when we saw him last summer.

Chuck Ragan
I wasn’t going to include Chuck Ragan on this list (other than the previous two times I have alluded to him already!) as he’s not really a typically ‘acoustic’ artist, certainly not on his last album, Til Midnight, where he played full-band Americana-style music. He’s usually accompanied by at least double bass and violin as well. However, after talking to Colin, I was persuaded to put him on the list. Chuck is after all one of my favourite musicians, acoustic or otherwise, with one of my favourite voices of all time.

Frank Turner
I know some of you reading this may think that it is a bit of a cop out to put Frank Turner on this list, as he’s not really a solo acoustic artist anymore but there’s no denying that it’s where he started out… well, after Million Dead. If you know me then you’ll probably know how much I love Frank’s music and it was his 2006 Campfire Punkrock EP that I first heard – although not actually in 2006. Nashville Tennessee is still one of my favourite Frank Turner tracks, even if the lyric ‘And the only person in my band is me’ is not so true anymore.

You can listen to my ‘Top Ten Acoustic Artists’ playlist here: