Home Again by Michael Kiwanuka

Home Again is the title track off of Michael Kiwanuka’s 2012 debut album of the same name. With a simple, yet incredibly effective melody, Home Again is an excellent example of Kiwanuka’s subtle but heartfelt songwriting style. Indicative of the rest of the songs on the album, the lyrical motifs of overcoming hardship and regaining one’s sense of purpose after one of life’s challenging periods; Home Again feels incredibly raw and close to home. Rather than challenging the world around him like many of his folk songwriting contemporaries, Kiwanuka points his evaluative gaze inward and instead reflects on his own interpretation of the things going on in his own life (or so it would seem).

The music does an excellent job echoing the soul and folk influences found in Kiwanuka’s songwriting, incorporating acoustic guitar, strings, and percussion without distracting the listener’s focus away from the lyrics. In particular, the swelling crescendos of strings midway through the strong do an excellent job of adding dramatic and emotional weight to the music without sounding out of place or bombastic.

An excellent song from a solid debut album from this young UK artist, Home Again is both a song and and an album that is worth looking into.

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Space Between by Samara York

Space Between comes to us from Toronto based singer-songwriter Samara York. This slow tempo ballad demonstrates York’s original songwriting, and is assisted by the professionalism demonstrated by her accompanying band. The atmosphere here is a drawn out anger, delivered in a gentle, lower energy manner that gives credence to the themes of the song. The lyrics themselves are introspective and give the listener the impression that they are derived from real lived experiences; a testament to York’s writing capability. The vocals themselves are powerful, and this song in particular demonstrates York’s excellent control over her vocal range. This up-and-comer has an album coming out online soon, and if it is as polished as even this live performance, it will be well worth a listen.