2019 gave us much in the way of music to celebrate in Northeast Florida; a glorious and eclectic mix of output, to be sure. Here are a couple tunes we really dug in ’19.

Folk is People
“Ghost Birdie”
Since 2012, local indie-folk artist Folk is People have been a relentless creative presence, both on stage and in the studio, offering up a winning combo of heartfelt lyrics and singular melodies that take basic chord progressions and tweak them enough to create a personal sound. No small feat. Regardless of line-ups, Stacey Bennett is Folk is People. A distilled and direct example of the band’s (Bennett’s) emotive style is the tune, “Ghost Birdie.”

Filmed and recorded at Alex Hayward’s Chromatic Studios, “Ghost Birdie” is a tribute to Bennett’s late cousin. Over the course of the song, Bennett asks questions about heaven, the afterlife, even speaking to the dead (When I scream out loud / is it coming through?”); by song’s end, she calls out “these little pills / are smoking guns”, alluding to the possible murderer that led to her mourning. Intimate, real, and energized in spite of the pain, “Ghost Birdie” is a glimmer of Bennett’s skills as a singer-songwriter and catches her in full flight.—Daniel A. Brown

“Over U”
Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist rickoLus (Rick Colado) has been filling our ears with infectious sounds for roughly two decades, since his time with beloved Jax-based indie darlings The Julius Airwave. rickoLus’ latest effort, Archways, is a record filled with insight and reflection over the artist’s storied music career.

“…I gotta dream in my headlights / i’ve been chasing so long / while the years hunt me down” 

This soulful track could easily be an old jazz standard. “Over U” is simple and sweet, with soft brushes barely tapping on a snare drum behind a twinkling organ and Colado’s smooth, sentimental voice. The arrangement is minimal and understated, but somehow fills the atmosphere with warm, glowing candlelight. The lyrics suggest that although the storyteller has always had big dreams, time has helped him appreciate the precious things in his life. In a time in which we never stop moving, our thoughts always racing toward the next task, “Over U” reminds us to slow down and appreciate the journey of our complicated but beautiful existence.Nicki Wolfe

Other tracks we loved in ’19:
Trella – “Happy to Be Here”
LPT – “Aquella Mujer” (Live from Void HQ)
The Black Toilet – “What What”
Hurricane Party – “Hurricane Party!!!”
The Young Step – “Ghost Town”
Cory Driscoll – “Vacation Artist”
Odd Relics – “Matrimony”
Mercy Mercy – The Usual (Baby)
The Noctambulant – “Unholy Benediction”
LANNDS – “2093” 
Sea Cycles – “Quota”