Neil Young, Head and the Heart, The National
The recent Folk-Rock explosion has sent a lot of bands running towards a sound that some call classic, others archaic. Many of these bands focus so tightly on the roots of their genre that they’re incapable of looking forward; Wesley Jensen looks forward. His songs flow with a graceful sort of wit, lulling you into a sense of familiarity before surprising you with an unexpected string section or an understated harmonica solo. Jensen’s sings like a twangy Chris Martin, a honeyed voice with just a hint of a rough edge. The lyrics tread a familiar path, of love and loss and home, but his songwriting is so direct and authentic that the subjects feel fresh. Jensen effortlessly shifts between rocllicking uptempo ditties and somber ballads the likes you’d expect to hear in an episode of Justified.