Here’s a collection of five newly-written songs by midwestern folk musicians.
Like a lot of us, they’re staying close to home these days, which makes it harder for them to earn a living. If you can, please support them by buying their merchandise or slipping a little something into their virtual tip jars.
Lauryn Shapter, one-half of Society of Broken Souls, wrote this bittersweet song of hope in troubled times. She performed it with her other half, Dennis James, on bass and drums, and they set it to video footage shot in and around their home town of Fairfield.
John Gorka grew up in New Jersey and got his start as a songwriter hanging around the famed Godfrey Daniel’s Coffeehouse in eastern Pennsylvania. He’s lived in Minnesota for a decade and a half now, so we’ll count him as an honorary midwesterner. As he says in the song, “we need old things to ground us, and new ideas to give us hope.”
Illinois-born, Michigan-based musician and songwriter Joel Mabus repurposes this 19th century hymn for 2020 uses.
Des Moines soul-folk songstress Patresa Hartman calls this one “a song about quarantine -- literal and figurative, now and then.” She says she recorded it sitting in front of the open door to her deck, in hopes of catching the birds waking up. If you listen closely, you can indeed hear the birds singing along with Patresa.
Iowa singer-songwriter Chad Elliott would have been in Muscle Shoals, Alabama last month recording a new album with Bo Ramsey as co-producer. But the pandemic changed his plans, and he’s at home in Lamoni. He wrote this song on the night John Prine died, and I think he may just have been channelling Prine’s spirit.