Maty Noyes – “Lighter Thief”
A tattered and torn relationship lies at the heart of Maty Noyes’ “Lighter Thief.” Acoustic guitar pricks the skin with needle-point precision, drawing an evocative performance to the surface. “So what if we get mad and fight? As long as we make it alright,” sings Noyes. “And to a better me, you would be dead to me, but I still keep you alive.” With such a minimal musical foundation, the strength of the song bears on Noyes’ shoulders, and she more than carries the weight of such profound emotional work.
John Adams & Amber Leigh Irish – “If I’m Asleep”
“If I’m asleep, don’t wake me from these dreams where I feel like I’m good enough to be the one,” sings John Adams, his voice twisting with Amber Leigh Irish. Piano and strings ebb and flow, radiating from its emotional core a bright, affecting light. A love song by nature, it’s not your run-of-the-mill entry; it’s moving and reverberates across space and time. There’s not only a timeless feel to the arrangement, but the vocals possess such a deep yearning, it’s as though two old souls are trading off their one for each other. “If I’m Asleep” is the kind of sweeping ballad that will actually shake you awake. Guaranteed.
Bre Kennedy – “Retrospect”
Growth only comes when you’re ready and willing to let the past go. On “Retrospect,” Bre Kennedy arrives to a healthy place where she allows the could’ves, would’ves, and should’ves slide from shoulders. She emerges now more self-possessed than she ever dreamed possible. Guitars, strings, and little else accompany her, giving her voice ample room to breathe. “I’ll see you in retrospect,” she sings, flying down the highway to her next destination. It’s a breezy, poignant, and altogether infectious little ditty.
Dustin Bird – “Heart of It”
Dustin Bird’s heart spins in circles. Glossy and bouncy, “Heart of It” begs to get rid of the frills and stop dancing around the matter. Love has taken a bite out of his heart, leaving him exasperated and undeniably fixated. “Are we burning or just burning out?” he ponders. His question arrives at, well, the heart of the matter. A romance has been kindled, yet the signals are mixed and make Bird question both his and her intent. “You know we’re not far from it, baby,” he sings. It’s not necessarily a plea, yet there’s so much yearning it’s sure to squeeze into your heart, too.