I tend to be drawn to bands with unique-sounding vocals. That can mean many different things depending on the genre of music. Vocals can be reserved or they can be over the top. Sometimes it's just that voice that makes you feel something. These are our favorite vocals of 2022 so far:
The Great Leslie – Liquid Spells
The Great Leslie is a London-based alt-rock band with a seriously talented lead singer. Ollie Trevers is an artist that can literally sing anything. He is as comfortable with an acoustic guitar in his hands as he is standing in front of a band and throwing down some outrageous glam rock. Not surprisingly his influences range from Jeff Buckley to Queen. What works so well in this song is that it has post-punk elements and very quick turns of phrases. Trevers manages to sing with the power of Robert Plant and still turn a phrase like David Byrne. Then there are those moments he hits those high notes! Add to that a super tight musical production and this song just pops.
Orville Peck – C’mon Baby Cry
Yes, the mysterious Orville Peck can be a bit over the top. But if you can pull off the over-the-top vocals then let’s just go with it. In “C’mon Baby Cry” Peck shows off a tremendously wide vocal range. He swerves between Randy Travis and Johnny Cash in the verses before going all in Roy Orbison on the chorus and bridge. Peck is doing insane stuff. This is my favorite vocal performance of 2022 so far.
Danielle Ponder – Only the Lonely
Danielle Ponder shares a deep haunting voice in the song “Only the Lonely.” So much emotion seeps from the regal tone and light rasp of Ponder’s vocals. I stopped this song the first time I heard it and started the song over. I really couldn’t believe someone was doing music like this. The arrangement is wonderful and the vocals are stunning.
Father John Misty – Goodbye Mr. Blue
Josh Tillman has captured the serene beauty of an early Glenn Campbell country song in his single “Goodbye Mr. Blue.” I love to close my eyes and listen to this song. Tillman’s performance is reserved, elegant, and mesmerizing. This is such a lovely vocal.
Valerie June – Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here with You
Oh, the Goddess of Americana just keeps doing amazing things. Like many listeners, I first became aware of Valarie June through the ethereal song “Astral Plane.” In “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You,” a Bob Dylan cover, June lets her natural twang come through and the result is honky-tonk heaven. This is a one-of-a-kind voice that brings the listener such joy.