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Stars Pick Their Top 5! This week: Janelle Loes


Janelle Loes is hopping down from her hometown of Phoenix to tell her stories. Her songs are folk, with a country tinge. Or maybe country with a folk tinge. They never fully dive into one specific sound, which works perfectly with her lyrics of regret and vacillation. But regardless of embracing specific singer/songwriter motifs, the acoustic guitar mixed with drums and the occasional stringed instrument all fuse together to make something equal parts dry and lush. Perfect for evening toe-tapping on a wooden porch.

Catch her performing on May 5 at La Cocina (201 N. Court Ave.) for the Tucson Folk Festival. Doors open at 1 p.m.

Anna Nalick Wreck of the Day

This was one of the first albums that inspired me to start writing my own music. I wore this album out. It had a permanent spot in my car's CD player for what could've easily been years, and I learned to cover just about every song on the record. Anna's poetic and precise writing style helped me to learn the balance of writing personal yet universal songs. The way I connected with her songs really motivated me musically and helped me to discover my passion for writing my own songs.  

Allen Stone Radius

By far my favorite musical discovery of the last few years. Allen has this distinctive bluesy tone and undeniably accurate vocals. He is a perfect example of a vocal acrobat. What really won me over with this record was the quality of songwriting paired with such innovative melodies and chord progressions. You can really hear Allen's passion for musical experimentation as well as his knowledge of music theory. He has the kind of voice that can't help but capture your attention and there's something about the way he sings that can easily brighten your whole day.

Racheal Yamagata Happenstance

This is an album that I wish I wrote. The album that takes you on a journey from start to finish and every song hits you just as hard. The way Rachael sings on this record taught me how moving and powerful a delicate voice could be. She taught me that the key to delivering songs people connect with is to sing with emotional transparency. She is an exceptional storyteller, and the album is an emotional ride.

Ray Lamontagne Till The Sky Turns Black

I can't get enough of the lush musical landscape of this record. Every time I listen it reminds me of a long quiet drive through the mountains, and Ray has this comforting quality in his voice that draws me in and puts me in a calm creative mindset. I really appreciate the rawness and transparency in the way Ray writes, and each time I listen to this album a different line resonates with me more.

Jeremy Fischer Goodbye Blue Monday

This album is everything I love about Paul Simon, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty all fused into one. It's the perfect balance of upbeat anthemic pop songs mixed with ballads that showcase a softer side. The whole album is recorded with an upfront and raw acoustic sound that spotlights the simplistic brilliance of the songs. There's this "I should have thought of that" element when I listen to some of Jeremy's songs, because the concepts and metaphors are so obvious but so uniquely and expertly crafted. There is something really masterful about Jeremy's writing style and sound, and I will forever love this record.