10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: April 2018

From the power-country of Rachel Wammack to the dusty vibes of Kyle Daniel

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Clarence Bucaro
Todd Heisler9/10

Clarence Bucaro

Sounds Like: Buoyant, sometimes playful folk songwriting with a deep well of social consciousness

For Fans of: Josh Ritter, Joshua Radin, Wilco

Why You Should Pay Attention: Calling Clarence Bucaro a new artist is a bit misleading, as the Ohio-born songwriter has released a dozen albums over the last 15 years. His most recent, Passionate Kind, has been something of a rebirth for Bucaro, though, thanks in no small part to its willingness to engage with the current moment. Single "Where Do I Go?" is a plea for direction in confusing times, which Bucaro wrote in the wake of the 2016 election. Other tracks on Passionate Kind, like the prescient "Sleepwalker," take similar stock of today's particular brand of social ills.

He Says: "Songwriting to me is a deeply personal thing. How does one take one's most intimate feelings and experiences and turn them into songs without them seeming like diary entries? On this album, I tried to connect with feelings I have had and imagine them through a different prism while still maintaining the truth or essence of them. I wanted this album to feel distinct from my others. I challenged myself lyrically. I absorbed anything I could over the past year. I watched opera. I read classics. I studied art and listened to tons of music from Beethoven to Duke Ellington to Kris Kristofferson. These elements helped to inform the album as well. At the top of my writing notebook, I wrote, 'Is this interesting? Is this honest?' and I tried to keep these two questions in mind with every song I wrote for Passionate Kind."

Hear for Yourself: "Sleepwalker" is a gently soulful admonition to someone who can't open his eyes to the vast, colorful world around him. B.M.

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