Artist Introduction: Aaron Espe

After Aaron Espe leaned on computers to do his bidding with “Three,” which is tagged as “folktronic” on Bandcamp, he brought it back to his laid-back acoustic style with “Tennessee Sky” and, more recently, “Safe Enough to Wander.”

He never left behind his catchy melodies and relatable lyrics, which were so prominent in one of my favorite albums “Songs From A Small Town.”

He’s now working with Grammy-winning engineer Brian Joseph (Bon Iver, Sufjan Stevens) on his new album, which will involve a chamber choir.

In addition to his solo career, he fronts the duo Bombs Over Nowhere and released an EP with Michael Ayars under the band name Haviland.

Using my highly-developed, complicated scoring system, I give Espe’s music a rating of:

0 – One of my current favorite artists

♦ – Worth a listen for sure

0 – He’s okay

o – Not recommended, but go ahead, it’s a free country

o – Stay away…seriously

o – You’re still reading this?

5 Musicians That Are In My Ears Right Now

Here’s what I’ve been listening to lately…

Chris Smither

Chris Smither is classic acoustic blues, and this song just makes me feel good. He put a lot of thought, it seems, into his lyrics. I can pick out what his worldview is if I listen long enough.

That voice sticks out among a choir of uniform and forgettable singers. I wish I could sing that low, but it sounds like Smither is hogging most of the low-register-singing skills in the world.

Sufjan Stevens

He’s back, and I still have no idea what most of his lyrics mean. But he has enough relatable lines in there that make the album sing-along-able.

He’s still Sufjan, which I’m glad for. Because I didn’t care for The Age Of Adz – I think he went too deep in the deep end of the pool with that one. Carrie & Lowell is a sort of a swimming back to where most people, including me, like him the best.

Josh Garrels

I love the music he makes. He’s on my “Top Five All-Time Favorite Musicians” list. And Home is a solid next step for him.

Shawn James

I hear a 20-person choir backing this artist (like this performance by Nick Jonas), especially in the above song. Somewhat of a chain-gang feel. I may have to steal something from these guys.

Ben Sollee

It’s difficult to go wrong with Sollee. I mean, who can deny listening to a fellow playing cello and singing at the same time?