Every month, Utne Reader presents free, downloadable music gleaned from current and upcoming releases on independent music labels. This sampler was curated by  editor-in-chief Christian Williams and associate editor Ben Sauder.

January 2017

Artist: Okey Dokey
Nashville, Tennessee
Record label: Exag Records
Latest album:
Love You, Mean It (out January 26)
Featured song: “Wavy Gravy”
Why we like this song:
A shimmery, reverbed doo-wop progression with soulful vocals on top make this track a hazy nostalgic dream.

Artist: Rayna Gellert
North Carolina
Record label: StorySound Records
Latest album:
Workin’s Too Hard (out January 20th)
Featured song:
“Workin’s Too Hard”
Why we like this song:
Rayna’s beautiful melodies and solemn voice make for a reflective listen.

Artist: Awa Poulo
Location: Mali
Record label: Awesome Tapes from Africa
Latest album: Poulo Warali (out Jan. 20)
Featured song:  “Djulau”
Why we like this song: A mesmerizing example of the ethnically-diverse style of music currently being produced in Mali. This album features a female vocalist, Awa Poulo, which is a relatively rare occurrence in the male-dominated Malian music scene.

Artist:  Adrian + Meredith
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Latest album: 
More Than a Little (out now)
Featured song: 
“Old Midwestern Home”
Why we like this song: 
One of the many songs on the Nashville duo’s debut album that’s influenced by their time on the road, this fantastic tune begs to be to listened to loudly while driving with the windows down on a warm spring evening.

Artist: Fred Thomas
Record Label: Polyvinyl
Latest album:
Changer (out January 27)
Featured song: “

Artist:  Franklin Kiermyer
Record label: Mobility Music
Latest album: Closer to the Sun (out now)
Featured song:   “Song for My Daughters”
Why we like this song: This song and the whole album, for that matter, is a fantastic journey into the depths of pure spiritual jazz. Meditative and cathartic, and stunning.

Continuous Play:  

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