With its rich history of folk musicians and lyrical rockers, the Bay Area has long been a source of terrific singer-songwriters. Even today, while much of the buzz around local musicians focuses on some of our weirder (or, perhaps, more “now”) rock subgenres, there continue to be numerous talented folks crafting lyrically-rich, deeply personal music.
For some reason, 2012 seems like an especially strong year for local songwriters, with well-received new albums this year from beloved veterans like Mark Eitzel and Mark Kozelek’s Sun Kil Moon, as well as newer artists like Dylan Shearer and Jessica Pratt. Shearer’s music has something of a psychy touch, and he’s not alone on that front — see also Santa Cruz’s Bird by Snow, Young Moon, and Donovan Quinn and Michael James Tapscott, two accomplished performers who collaborated as a duo on the recent Goodbye, Marlene.
Many artists included here don’t have psych elements, of course, and there are plenty of highlights for the pop-inclined, like a new song from Thao & The Get Down Stay Down‘s 2013 album and one from Kacey Johansing‘s recent Grand Ghosts. Finally, it’s worth noting a couple of songs in this mix that feature lyrics drawn from other creative works. Michael Zapruder‘s latest album, Pink Thunder, is a collection of songs adapted from poems by contemporary American poets; meanwhile, the Sonny Smith song here is from the recent reissue of his One-Act Plays, a set of tunes that began, as you might expect, as one-act plays.
Enjoy the mixtape!
Dylan Shearer — “Tardy Party”
Jessica Pratt — “Night Faces”
Sonny Smith — “Over The Border and Into the Night”
Bird by Snow — “My People”
Michael Zapruder — “Florida”
Sun Kil Moon — “Sunshine in Chicago”
Emily Jane White — “Oh Katherine”
Thao & The Get Down Stay Down — “Holy Roller”
Carletta Sue Kay — “Pas le Meme”
Young Moon — “A Reason”
Kacey Johansing — “Into View”
Mark Eitzel — “I Love You But You’re Dead”
Eight Belles — “Nolchi”
Garrett Pierce — “Everybody Breaks”
Donovan Quinn and Michael James Tapscott — “OTW Marlene”
Pancho-san — “Americans Can’t Be Romantic”