Well folks… we are back with Volume 5 of Deviate & Chill. This playlist serves 2 purposes: 1. to shed light on airy, laid back tracks that always seem to put me in a better place. And 2: showcase these same type of songs from lesser known, but extraordinarily talented artists. This quarter, we get to learn from Maddy Hicks, Jen Rim, the group Kinfolks, and the duo Couldn’t Be Happiers.

As always, a big thank you to them for providing context around their song. Be sure to tune in and stream Volume 5 of Deviate & Chill.

Maddy Hicks – Reclaiming

Maddy Hicks

Nashville-based artist Maddy Hicks brings her own energy on her new full-length album Reclaiming. Taking lead on the album is hit song “Backseat,” which shows Maddy’s ability to bring her own emotions to life (and do so in an extremely catchy manner). Maddy had this to say about the project:

“This project is about my experiences with losing and finding myself in all aspects of life. The pressures that can cause a person to evolve can be internal or external; striving to be better, struggling with mental health, facing societal expectations, loving someone, losing someone, and loving someone all over again. It’s messy and endlessly frustrating, but it’s also human. I wanted to create something that captures this feeling and reminds others that their struggles and successes are beautiful. So I made Reclaiming.”

Jen Rim – Again

Jen Rim

Formerly a backing member of Run River North, the Korean-American singer Jen Rim takes center stage for the first time with a deeply moving, minimally-produced record that shimmers with raw emotion. Her hit track “Again” immediately caught my eye; the vocal progression, the moodiness, and the confidence all make the track what is it.

“I’m still slowly learning how to come out of my shell. Writing these songs has been a gateway to learning how to say things that I wouldn’t be able to say in conversation. It feels less judgmental. The songs were a challenge to be honest with myself, how I feel and how I view a certain situation, and I had to learn to deal with what the truth is. I think this album really speaks for myself learning how to be truthful and honest, not to be embarrassed and ashamed about how I expect myself to be. I’ve had enough of the expectations. I decided not to let all those words that I spoke or that were spoken to me define me. I hope to continue to write songs that progress and move forward.”

Kinships – Reform


Next up we have a nice and delicate tune by the Northhampton group Kinships. Made up ofTom Butler, Dave Crawford, Aoife Foley, and Adam Gammage, Kinships focus their music on the “in-between,” blending genre after genre to create a distinct, but especial sound. Their track “Reform” features sleek, tandem vocals, a shaking back-beat, and slashing synths. I know I truly resonate with a song when I can say I’ve never heard anything like this before.

Kinships gave some added context to their song “Reform”:

“Reform is a song about losing yourself, about realizing that, somewhere along the way, you lost a sense of who you are and what you wanted to be. It’s a song about knowing that, acknowledging and feeling the pain of it, and starting again, trying to rebuild yourself into the person you’d hoped to be.”

Couldn’t Be Happiers – Songs For Butchie Vol. 1 – November

Couldn’t Be Happiers

The Couldn’t Be Happiers are home to Jordan Crosby Lee and Jodi Hildebran Lee who are giving Folk music a meaningful makeover. Both Jordan and Jodi bring their own backgrounds to influence their music: Jordan’s Texas twang and Jodi’s lush, americana-brushed vocals. Mix the two up and you have Couldn’t Be Happiers.

Their recent project Songs For Butchie Vol 1 immediately caught both my ear and my heart. The collection of songs is a mighty tribute to Jordan’s Father who passed away In November of last year, honoring his name with a volume of down-to-earth songs. My personal favorite is a track called “November,” which paints a vivid picture of the beginning stages of grief and does so in a violin, folk-sunned manner. Both Jordan and Jodi sure know how to make something go down a little easier and we thank them for that.

“The plan for the full album is to release 12 songs, in 3 separate releases. The first release has 4 songs on it, and volumes 2 and 3 will also have 4 songs each, and are scheduled for release a month apart. Our lead single, “Treehouse,” is an apocalypse love song about a couple surviving the end of the world (brought about by global warming) together. Doug Davis at Flytrap Productions, who produced the first four tracks, described “Treehouse” best as having a “Violent Femmes meets Johnny & June” vibe. The second track is “Lightning & Thunder,” a song about how quickly life can change. It was inspired by a quote from an Italian doctor, who, when asked what he thought about the situation in the U.S. while Italy was suffering from a massive COVID surge, stated that he thought the U.S. was “living between the lightning and the thunder.” The third track, “The Earthquake Song” is about an earthquake that hit western NC in 2020. “November,” the last song on this first release, is one Jordan started writing right away for his dad. The song explores the feeling you get when you instinctively pick up the phone to call someone like you’ve done a million times before, but remember that you can’t talk to that person anymore because he’s not there.