April 4th, 2021 | Well hello to you from bonnie Scotland! 🙂 My wife and I finally moved up to Glasgow in January, hence my lack of recent posts. But now we’re settled in and mindin’ the place, so here comes instalment #3 of my “seasonal spotlight” folk music series. This month, our special guest is The Powers; being a lovely Americana and country act from northern Idaho, based around Dan Powers and his wife Shelley Powers.
As usual, I’ll be including Spotify and YouTube links below so you can go support these guys at little-to-no cost. And believe me, you’ll want to, because you’re in for a treat with their songs.
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I got to know of The Powers’ music through the Savvy Musician Academy, of which we are both members. Dan and Shelley write arrangements that are not only warm and ornate, but proof that male/female vocal harmonies never grow old. Yes…if you like Mandolin Orange or the film Once, then these guys should be right up your alley.
Songs about love
Simple though the description may sound, family and relationships are an integral part of The Powers’ music and life philosophy. On debut album Life of We, released in 2016, Dan Powers (aka. man with magnificent beard) and Shelley offer us a generous selection of songs about love, where lead single “Honey” particularly stands out. These songs are replete with the mainstays of folk and country music: banjo, harmonica, some electric guitar and – of course – the fiddle, courtesy of Sarah Jean, one of several supporting musicians to join the band.
Indeed, with songs slow, mid-tempo and more upbeat, there’s something for everyone on this record. The clear winner, however, has to be the beautiful “’Tis so Sweet“. Even for a devoted agnostic like me, this worship song in the key of C# major brings comfort on a cold spring evening. For something a little less full-on Christian, try the band’s cover of “I’ll Fly Away“, the Albert E. Brumley classic made famous by Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch, from the film O Brother, Where Art Thou.
The duo have been building a solid following online, with thousands of streams on Spotify and thousands more followers on their Facebook. During the COVID-19 pandemic that you might have heard of, they’ve released their very own quarantine song, the aptly-titled “Cooped Up With You“. Originally from the band’s 2016 effort, this live video will give you an even stronger feel for the duo’s performance. Shelley delivers another powerful, sighing performance here, and again the pair harmonise beautifully with memorable melodies that will grab your attention (not to mention your heart).
As for being cooped up…well, I’d like to quote the band themselves here. Even if it is from a different song. “The life I love is makin’ music with my friends. I can’t wait to get on the road again.” Amen to that, sister! None of us who play live can wait for the chance to get back out there.
Old house, new material
Last of all, we come to one of the band’s 2021 offerings. I feel it’s only fair that I save the best till last 🙂 “This Old House“ was the first Powers song I heard, when Dan Powers himself contacted me on Facebook and recommended the song for a playlist o’ mine. And IMHO, it’s a gorgeous, perfect little folk song with electric guitar to evoke a late summer’s sunset. Having just moved into my own [fortunately not so old] house, I can certainly relate to the lyrics. Indeed, I shall be vibing softly to this for many an evening yet. The most mature sound the band has had so far, without a doubt; I added it to my “Celtic & Indie Folk” playlist, so go check it out there.
I am very happy for the success that Dan and Shelley are enjoying so far. It is certainly a pleasure to watch two fellow “savvy musicians” grow and flourish! I hope to see The Powers forging ahead for a long long time, and to keep doing the American country and folk canon proud.
Until next time…folk on, me hearties!
P.S. didn’t catch my previous “seasonal spotlight”? Catch up here.