A cup of Kurt Vile is like a dose of comfort. With all the right ingredients and influences, you couldn’t brew a better folk, Americana singer/songwriter if you tried. His instrument of choice is the guitar and his lyrical style is the conversation one has with oneself, all at once private yet reassuringly common.
Armed with his guitar and the power of a backing band called the Violators, this Philadelphia native creates melancholic odes to classic rockers and folk icons of yore. Likened to Tom Petty, Bob Seger and Bob Dylan to name a few, Vile can craft a shimmering, up-tempo trip down nostalgia lane alongside a quiet, introspective ballad of personal conflict. This is not to say that he is a clone of those to whom he’s compared, Vile’s voice is distinctive and unique for the post 60s crowd.
His voice has a far-away, muffled sound in earlier albums, but has been put at the front and center of his newest release while still maintaining an echo that offers a sense of quiet sincerity. He brings together strumming and finger-picking to give the guitar dimension. If you are looking for an update for the Americana and folk artists that you love in your parents’ vinyl collection, Kurt Vile is where your search should begin.
If you like: Tom Petty, Bob Seger, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen
Check out: Kurt Vile (start with Smoke Ring for my Halo, continue with Square Shells EP and graduate to Constant Hitmaker)
Feeling brave: Tom Fahey, M. Ward, Ryan Adams, My Morning Jacket, Devendra Banhart
AI level: Intermediate