By: Hailey Miller, Peak Associate
“Colors” by Black Pumas
Photo credit: ATO Records / Fontana North
Black Pumas is a rock-soul band from Austin, Texas who bring contemporary twists to the genre. “Colors” is full of rhythm and groove, from the strike of the first chord to the fade out. The song features flawless guitar licks, walking bass lines, an upbeat tempo, harmonious vocals, and jazzy keys alongside a lively organ. With a message about celebrating diversity, my favourite lyric is “my sisters and my brothers / see ‘em like no other.” This single is perfect for bringing out cheerful vibes and transcending through colourful lyrics describing a positive outlook on the world. Side note: their live studio version is even tastier.
“Thinking ‘Bout Love” by Wild Rivers
Photo credit: Nettwerk Music Group
Wild Rivers is a Canadian folk trio from Toronto. Their mellow approach to skillful songwriting and expert artistry combines simplistic chording with flawless harmonies. “Thinking ‘Bout Love” houses a soft groove and rhythmic chord structure, with fluctuating vocal ranges and instrumentation that perfectly complement one another. The vocal trade-off creates a seamless duet that accentuates their smooth folk style and the most prominent lyrics on the track: “we could ride it out / I know the ride’s rough / but try us.” This song is easy on the ears and will put you in a chill mood. Check out the stripped-down version on YouTube.
“Honey” by Ruby Waters
Photo credit: Ruby Waters
Ruby Waters is a Métis independent artist from Ontario. Her raspy tone pairs perfectly with her aptitude for guitar. Waters’ jazz-filled, soulful idiosyncrasies include vocal embellishments, horn trills, and steady tempos that make her one of a kind. Along with a dynamic horn section that adds depth and rhythm, the lyric “honey’s got a brain that’ll make you trip” complements the sax solos. Waters’ vocal phrasings beautifully accentuate the obvious jazzy nuances of the track. This song is the absolute bluesy groove. Check out her amazing solo set at Whistlers Mountain, Jasper National Park on YouTube.
“Not Afraid” by Victoria Canal
Photo credit: Victoria Canal
Victoria Canal is a German-born Spanish-American singer-songwriter and musician with effortless vocals and a soft instrumental style. Canal’s works showcase her artistry on top of life as a professional musician with a physical disability. “Not Afraid” incorporates perfect rhythmic and bluesy piano sections alongside jazz influences, and soft yet soulful vocal runs, paired with lyrics full of love, loss, and longing. Check out her live solo version on YouTube.
“Red Flags” by Andra Day
Photo credit: Warner Records / Buskin
Andra Day is best known for her soulful R&B tracks and powerhouse vocals. Her works (like her album, Cheers to the Fall) are proof of natural talent, and “Red Flags” is no exception. Packed with rhythm and jazzy riffs, Day will make you feel her purposeful groove. You can feel the emotion that radiates between her voice and the musical accompaniments, all the way through your speakers. Prepare to cascade through all levels of rhythm and soul. Check out the Austin City Limits seamless mashup on YouTube.
Listen to the full playlist on The Peak’s Spotify profile.